When to start planning your trip?

Posted on Mar 12, 2015 in Planning Your Trip | No Comments

Plan-your-trip1We firmly believe a trip starts when you start planning it. That said…the sooner, the better!

But it is also true you cannot reserve everything too much in advance. Make your reservations well ahead of time, chosing the best period for you/your family to travel. Consult local experts (like us!) concerning how many nights you should spend in each location, possible accommodations, transportation between one city and another and so on… Once a plan is in place and you have your flights and accommodations booked, you can finalize details on tours. Most of the attractions in Rome are just there for you to enjoy: the outdoors, the city itself are THE attractions and this allows you to be flexible and change your mind closer to the date of the trip. Keep in mind that some museums/sites/events require pre-booking.

Here we go:

  • Vatican Museums: this is the link to the booking site where you can book your admission to the museum skipping the lines. You can also book  internal group tours (approx. 3 hrs length) or audio-guides. If you wish to reserve a private tour to the Vatican with A Friend in Rome, let’s agree first the best day and time for the tour and then we will give you instructions to buy tickets. The above site also allows you to reserve group tours to the “Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis”  (not the Tomb of Peter!) and the Vatican Gardens (select “Guided tours for individuals”) or the Papal Villa of Castel Gandolfo recently opened to the public.
  • Vatican Excavations: visits to the necropolis underneath the Basilica, where the tomb of St. Peter is located, are only possible following special permission granted from time to time by the “Fabbrica di San Pietro”. This visit has to be booked months in advance: only around 250 visitors per day are permitted to enter and children under the age of 15 are not admitted. Only internal guides of the Excavations office are allowed (sigh!).
  • Colosseum: for individual travellers the tickets are “open vouchers” with no date and time. Children up to 17 are entitled to free admissions but they have to pay for the 2.00 euro reservation and bring an ID to show their birth date. If there are children in your party, reserve separately the tickets for the adults (chose the “print@home” option deleting the pre-selected “pickup@ticket office”) and then book the tickets for the children on a separate form – you will be given a code for them. I know it seems more complicated, but it will save us some time once you are here. Please be aware that, due to anti-terroristic measures, we are still subject to lines for the security control. This ticket also allows you to visit the Palatine/Forum area. If you are interested in the underground portion of the Colosseum, there are internal group tours (same link as the regular tickets). In low season and with 2 months of advance we can also check availability of a private slot for this visit. Otherwise you can reserve the group tour and book a private tour with A Friend in Rome to the Forum/Palatine and another attraction of the Ancient Rome at your choice (Caracalla Baths, Pantheon, San Clemente’s undergrounds, etc…).
  • Borghese Gallery: booking is mandatory. If you wish to be guided by A Friend in Rome, reserve a free ticket for your guide as well (after agreeing time/day with us, of course!). This museum is one of the best art collections not only in Rome but in the whole world. Do not miss it!
  • Papal Audience/Celebrations: be careful! The Papal Audience and the Celebrations at the Vatican are free of charge (many companies sell tickets!), but reservation is mandatory. Audiences take place on Wednesdays, celebrations depend on the liturgical calendar. All information is available through the link. The Angelus blessing is on Sundays at noon and does not require booking. An interesting article here to figure out how it works: Papal Audience for beginners!