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Rome Tours

The best time to tour the Vatican, Sistine Chapel & Colosseum & Roman Forum; closures, holidays and crowded days in April 2019

As the high season is approaching it might be useful, to give you some “insiders” information about the best time to visit these two sites. Being the Colosseum and the Vatican, among the most visited places in the World, these tips can save you some time and some stress. Why get stressed during your holidays?

In the last couple of years, regardless to our pre booked, hour slot, purchased tickets, we have been experiencing delays at the security check at both sites. Among the reasons of these delays are increasing numbers of visitors coming to the Vatican and to the Colosseum and also more severe security checks on certain days. You might get stuck at the entrance sometimes even for an hour – whether you have bought your tickets in advance or booked a tour.

Have a look here below for the most crowded days we expect in April.

April Vatican

It’s Easter Month and anytime around Easter, from the 18th to the 22nd you might find some sections closed, very long security check line and most of the times the St Peter’s Basilica will be closed. Also, once inside, it will be so crowded that you’ll lose the whole point of visiting the Vatican and your expectations will be highly disappointed.

We would recommend to avoid 19th and 20th April this year. Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel will be closed on the 21st and 22nd April (Easter and Easter Monday).

Also, on the 9th of April the Vatican Museums will open at 11am and not at 9am as usual. Only if you have already your booked tickets you will be allowed to access the site.

From the 18th to the 30th April the Vatican Museums will extend the opening hours to 5pm (last entrance) instead the usual closing time at 4pm. During these days visitors will be allowed to stay inside the Museums until 7pm.

April Colosseum

From our years-long experience, we have noticed that Mondays are the less busy days of the week at the Colosseum.

On Sundays, Colosseum and Roman Forum are usually overcrowded by foreign tourists, “long-weekend” visitors, Italians coming from other parts of Italy and by locals. We would suggest to avoid Sundays at the Colosseum.  

From the 31st March and throughout the whole summer, the opening hours of both sites, Colosseum and Roman Forum will be extended. The last entrance to the site will be at 6.15pm (closure at 7.15pm). Take enough time to visit both (or all three) sites – at least a couple of hours.

The Colosseum and Roman Forum will be open on the Easter Day, 21st April and Easter Monday 22nd April.

In our next article we will bring you the latest news about the closures and most crowded days in May! Stay tuned…

Week of Culture in Italy. List of free Museums in Rome!

During the Week of Culture in Italy, as we mentioned in one of our previous articles, the entrance will be free of charge and if you’re in Rome between 5th and 10th of March 2019, you cannot miss this opportunity.

If you’re in Venice, Florence, Naples and any other city in Italy, keep in mind that almost all state museums will be free during the Week of Culture 2019.

In case of archaeological sites and museums that belong to the Vatican (like Vatican Museums or catacombs), the admission won’t be free and it is required to purchase or book your ticket.

Here is the list of the free museums in Rome.

Ostia Antica archaeological site

Roman forum and Palatine Hill

Colosseum

Campo di Bove

Galleria Borghese

Galleria Spada

Galleria Corsini

Palazzo BArberini

Galleria Nazionale

Cecilia Metella Mausoleum and Castrum Caetani

“Lamberto Loria” Museums

“Alessandro Vaccaro” Museum

“Giuseppe Tucci” Museum

“Luigi Pigorini” Museum

National Museum of Musical Instruments

National Museum of Palazzo Venezia

Castel Sant’Angelo

Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia

Crypta Balbi

Palazzo Altemps

Palazzo Massimo alle Terme

Baths of Diocletian

Ostiense Museum

Santa Maria Nova (Appian Way)

Villa Adriana Tivoli

Villa d’Este Tivoli

Villa dei Quintili

In case you’re lucky to be in Rome from 5th to 10th March 2019 and you would like to arrange or join a guided tour and save some money, contact us during the Week of Culture and book your private guide in Rome! Remember, your price will be much cheaper as you won’t pay for tickets!

And… don’t forget! City of Rome is an open-air museum!

Photo by Serena Repice Lentini on Unsplash
Photo by Serena Repice Lentini

All-Stars In The House!!

Famous basketball players from the Italian League, Maarten Lennen and Marques Green, joined our Vatican Tour this week with their family and friends!

Book with City Lights Tours to “skip the lines” and get VIP treatment too!

basketball players

You’re now entering the Sistine Chapel… Mind the masterpiece

You have probably heard a lot about the Sistine Chapel, about Michelangelo and you have seen the most famous fragments of this masterpiece. However, there a several curious facts that you (probably) didn’t know…

When the Pope Julius asked Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel, he refused because he considered himself a sculptor rather than a painter. Michelangelo, who didn’t have any experience with painting the frescoes, has invented a unique system of scaffoldings that allowed him to stand upright and paint the ceiling.

It is thought that in the section named “The Creation of Adam”, the image of the God and angels has the shape of a human brain. With this metaphor Michelangelo probably wanted to represent the bestowal of intellect to the human being.

Since 1492 the Sistine Chapel is hosting the papal conclaves, during which the new pope is elected. The chimney on the top emanates the smoke, which in case of the election of the new pope is white, while the black smoke indicates that nobody of the candidates didn’t receive 2/3 majority.

After seeing the sketches of the Sistine Chapel, one of the Pope’s assistants, Biagio da Cesena, has been criticizing the artwork saying that the paintings are more suitable for a tavern than for a chapel. As revenge, Michelangelo has painted Biagio da Cesena as a devil at the bottom right of the Last Judgement.

Among other characters of Michelangelo’s Last Judgement there is Saint Bartholomew. It is believed that the human skin in Saint Bartholomew’s hand is actually a self-portrait of Michelangelo himself. You would probably like to know also why he portrayed himself like this, right?

To learn in depth all the curiosities of this masterpiece choose the unique opportunity with one of our excellent and passionate guides. It will give you all precious details and behind-the-scenes of Michelangelo’s artwork.

All these facts (and more) can be explored on our Vatican Tour & Sistine Chapel Group Tour and Early Vatican VIP Tour.

Just imagine how many things you could discover by entering there after learning exactly what all these depicted figures are representing. Have a look!

giudizio-universale-big

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