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June in Rome: the best time to visit and to avoid crowds at the Colosseum and the Vatican

During the month of June it might very hot and quite crowded in Rome.

Don’t get stuck in the heat and get exhausted and stressed on your Roman holidays. Plan your visits carefully and stay always up to date with latest news. Here are the latest news from Rome that might help you organize your trip.

Few things have changed in the last month regarding the Colosseum and Roman Forum. If you prefer getting around the archaeological site on your own, make sure you get your tickets in advance. The online reservations are sold out for most of the month. Therefore, the only solution is to get your own tickets at the entrance of the Roman Forum, at the Colosseum or at the gate of the Palatine Hill. Directly at the desk of these three sites, from now on, it won’t be possible to get tickets for more than 1 person (you can get the ticket only for your self). Only the licensed guides, that have a dedicated cash desk, can get more than one ticket and they will be assigned the first available entrance time to the Colosseum.

This means that this year it won’t be possible to enter the Colosseum at any time. You will be allowed to enter the Colosseum only at the time that will be assigned to you at the moment of the ticket purchase. Pointless to say “early bird…”

Colosseum and Roman Forum June 2019

On the 2nd of June is the Republic Day in Italy and Via dei Fori Imperiali that goes in the middle of the Ancient Rome ruins (from Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum) will be completely closed to the traffic and pedestrians as there will be a military parade. The access to the Colosseum and Roman Forum on that day will be very difficult or almost impossible. Try to arrange your plans accordingly and avoid to schedule the visit to the Ancient Rome on the 2nd of June.

On the 5th and the 29th of June the entrance to the Colosseum and Roman Forum will be free of charge. The security checks are sometimes very long, therefore plan your visit preferably early in the morning. Both sites open at 8.30am. You will still need to collect your free tickets at the cash desk.

The Belvedere section of the Colosseum will reopen in June and again the visitors will have the chance to purchase the tour or a special ticket to climb to the very top of the Colosseum.

Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica, June 2019

As usual, the opening hours of the Vatican Museums will be from 9am to 4pm. For pre-booked groups with accredited tour-operators the access is allowed from 8am.

The only closure of the Vatican Museums will be on the 29th June, the St Paul’s and St Peter’s Day. The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, as every year,  will be closed throughout the whole day.

The Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel are closed on Sundays and only on the last Sunday of the month, as usual, the access to these sites will be free of charge. The opening hours on the “Free Sunday” is from 9am and 12.30pm.

The Pope’s Angelus is confirmed for every Sunday except for the 2nd and the 16th June. For the St Paul’s and St Peter’s Day the Angelus will take place also on the 29th June. The Angelus is always at 12pm. It’s not required to book your tickets for this event.

The Pope’s Audience, taking place every Wednesday, is confirmed for the 5th, the 12th, the 19th and the 26th June. The tickets, that are free of charge, can be requested here

On Sunday 9th  June, the Papal Mass for the Solemnity of Pentecost will take place at 10am at the St Peter’s Basilica. On the 29th Papal Mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul will start at 9.30am. If you would like to attend the events or a Mass inside the Basilica you must book your tickets here. They are also free of charge.

If you need any assistance to book your tickets for Colosseum, Roman Forum, Vatican, in case you would like to book a tour of these sites, or you simply need to book your free tickets for the Papal’s Mass or Papal’s Audience, please contact us on info@citylightstours.com or via chat on our main page.

We will be glad to help you to organize your stress-free holiday in Rome.

Happy travels to everyone!

While in Rome… eat, pray, love and cook!

Since the beginning of the times, every traveller had one main goal: to experience, to create memories of emotions lived during the travel, to come into contact with local culture, local traditions and learn about local habits.

If you think about visiting Italy, and especially Rome, among the first things you might have on your check-list are: the Colosseum , the Vatican together with the Sistine Chapel, and you will be surely looking forward to taste delicious Italian food!

The food, by all means, is the best way to live an extraordinary experience and bring back home vivid memories.

We have already written here about Italian coffee, Italian (Sicilian) chocolate and about the worldwide famous Italian pasta.

We from City Lights have thought about our future guests who might like to experience a little bit more and among different options of Cooking classes and Food tours, we actually decided to offer you all of this in one tour.

We are sure that the most intriguing part of this new City Lights tours package will be this Cooking class that will have maximum 8 participants.

It will be, at the same time, easy and exciting to follow this fantastic experience.

Your chef, who is fully licensed, professional and accredite, will lead and follow you from the very start to the very end of this experience.

First, you will meet him at one of the most characteristic and authentic markets of Rome where you will start to collect all the necessary ingredients. You will see what kind of tomatoes Italians use for each recipe (and believe it or not there are dozens of types of tomatoes, each for different dish), you will visit a so-called Salsamenteria where you can discover the most typical kinds of cheese, cold cuts of meat and all characteristic Italian delicacies and you will also visit a typical Italian butcher where we will collect some of the ingredients for our recipes.

Then, together with the Chef you will reach his studio in Trastevere and the real discover will start. While you will be preparing pasta on your own and while he will be looking after each and every participant, he will start to reveal the most important secrets of the every-day cooking. You will be surprised of how many things you will learn and how easy can be to implement these small secrets for an easier life!

The Cooking Class will include preparation of: three types of pasta, a main dish and a dessert.

While you’ll be starting to get more self-confidence by preparing your (probably first in your lifetime) dough, the chef will offer a taste of some special red or white wine and if you’re lucky you will have a chance to taste special artisanal olive oil (of his own production).

Before the pasta will be ready to be cooked, you will also prepare a main dish (meat or fish) and during this preparation process you will discover some simple, small secrets that will add more to your discovery of why the Italian cuisine is so famous.

As soon as you finished preparing your pasta, the cooking process will start and you will finally taste your own creation. The sauce prepared by all the participants will be combined with pasta and the lunch will be ready to be served.

The complete meal, prepared by you and other participants, under the attentive eye of the chef, will be served and accompanied by an excellent wine.

The dessert, that Italians are going proud of, will also be part of this cooking/tasting class and you will see how with few ingredients you can make an excellent, typically Italian, dessert.

Your Cooking Class – Tasting experience will not come alone.

The package will also include one or two tours of your choice that can be:

  • the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica tour the
  • Colosseum & Roman Forum tour,
  • or both

You just need to decide and to let us know how would you like to get the best of your holiday.

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

Bulgari to restore the archaelogical site of Largo Argentina

Rome will have a new archaeological site that will be soon open to all citizens and tourists. The new opening will give the chance to all the visitors to access one of the most important archaeological sites in Rome.

https://civitavecchia.portmobility.it/it/larea-sacra-di-largo-di-torre-argentina

In a couple of years the archaeological site of Largo Argentina (Largo di Torre Argentina) will be open to the public thanks to the donation of the fashion maison Bulgari who will donate 1 milion euro for the restoration. After financing the restoration of the Spanish Steps, Bulgari decided to give life to this archaeological site of great importance.

The area has been built in the 3rd century B.C and it’s well known as the place where Julius Caesar has been murdered on 15th March in 44 A.C, on the Ides of March according to the Roman calendar.

The “Sacred Area” of Largo Argentina has been discovered only in 1926 and there were found four temples built from the 4th to the 2nd century B.C. The temples are dedicated to the divinities or events of those times:

Temple of Juturna built after the Roman victory against the Carthaginians in 241 BC;

Temple Fortuna Huiusce Diei dedicated to the “Fortune of This Day”;

Temple of Feronia ancient Italic divinity of fertility;

Temple devoted to Lares Permarini (Lares who protect sailors).

The area will be accessible from the 2021 and there will be built platforms and boardwalks, which will allow visitors to walk over the archaeological site and get closer to the ruins of the Largo Argentina.

Largo Argentina is in the city centre of Rome, walking distance from Piazza Venezia, Pantheon and Campo de’ Fiori and it is very easily reachable with public transport as all the main buses have a stop in Largo Argentina. Don’t miss it even now, when the area can be admired from the walls of the archaological site.

There is more than just the Vatican Museums!

Many people come to Rome and rush to see the Colosseum, Roman Forum, line up for the Vatican for hours…

You can make your Roman holiday much more enjoyable and stress-free if you book your Vatican City tour and get more of your visit to the Sistine Chapel or you get a guided tour of the Colosseum and Roman Forum for an easy-going stroll among the Ancient Rome ruins.

However, as you know, Rome wasn’t built in a day and there is much more to see. Even if you’re staying just few days, you should get a couple of hours and visit one of the hidden gems of Rome.

If you think that it’s hidden and you have to search for it, that’s not true.

For example, if you stroll down from the Vatican toward Trastevere (having the river Tiber on your left hand side) after less than 1 mile you will notice a marvelous palace surrounded by a fabulous garden. That’s where you will discover something that will leave you breathless. That is Villa Farnese.



Villa Farnese, dating from the XV century, was almost completely painted by Raffaello. The Villa was commissioned and owned by a Chigi family (family of merchants and bankers) whose member, Agostino, wanted to leave a legacy of his passion for art and culture.

For about 2 years in a row, Raphael has dedicated his time to the decoration of the Villa. He wasn’t alone working in this huge villa, but most of the frescoes are his own.

Raphael decided to adapt his paintings to every room, in order for every fresco to narrate the story of each room. Hence, there are many hidden messages with which Raffaello wanted to add his personal touch to every story-painting.

 

It is a hidden gem, as you would never think that this building, artistically and historically, has a huge importance for the history of Rome and Italy. Also, imagine to spend a couple of hours in a place where one of the masterminds of Renaissance art has spent more than 2 years creating this unbelievable artistic legacy.

The opening hours of Villa Farnesina are from Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm and on the second Sunday of the month from 9 am to 5 pm.

The ticket costs only 6€ adults and 5€ reduced.

After visiting the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel with the Michelangelo’s masterpiece, take some time and pay a visit to this marvelous place. You will also have a discount by showing the Vatican Museums ticket (within 7 days of your Vatican visit).

Put Villa Farnesina on your check list and you won’t regret it!

Who was Giordano Bruno?

In 1600 the 17th February was Ash Wednesday and on this day Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake.

He was a Dominican friar, mathematician, poet and philosopher. Born in Nola (near Napoli) and died in Rome in 1600.

During his life, his studies and research were focused on history, philosophy, theology, astronomy and mathematics (to mention just a few) and therefore he was an eclectic scholar with various interests.

With his research he raised many doubts about the some deeply established scientific and religious ideas. While this today could be called the freedom of expression, Giordano Bruno was seen as a heretic and blasphemous person.

The Inquisition accused him of several charges and he was burned in Rome in Campo de’ Fiori hanging upside down while his “tongue was imprisoned because of his wicked words”.

Particularly from the 19th century on he was celebrated as a martyr of science and considered as a pioneer of free thought.

At the end of the 19th century, a statue was erected in his honor, exactly on the spot where he was burned in Campo de’ Fiori in Rome. Now the square hosts one of the most famous city markets. Next time you visit Rome and the market you should raise your eyes to the huge statue watching all of us.

Monet is in Rome! 19th Oct 2017- 11th Feb 2018

From 19th October 2017 until 11th February 2018 Rome will host the exhibition of the best Monet artworks.

The visitors will have the pleasure to admire 60 works of the father of the Impressionism. The collection belongs to the Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris and it has been organized by Gruppo Arthemisia. These masterpieces were the personal collection of the artist, who kept all the paintings in his home in Giverny.

Through these works, it is possible to understand Monet’s artistic intensity and to recognize multiple aspects of his work.

Monet’s most beautiful works will be exposed

from 19th Oct 2017 until 11th Feb 2018

in Vittoriano – Altare della Patria.

It is possible to buy tickets on-line here.

Check also how to obtain discounts, to hire a guide or to get an audio-guide.

Don’t miss it!

Ciampino Airport gets connected with the City Centre of Rome

When you are visiting a city for the first time it can be very confusing to organize an affordable transport from the airport.

Fiumicino airport in Rome is easily connected to the city centre by a train that departs every 20 minutes.

However, many low-cost airlines are landing to the Ciampino airport and the connection with the city centre was very tricky.

From now you have Rome public transport company ATAC that will provide a bus line that will connect Ciampino Airport to the Laurentina Metro Station. And it will cost only 1.50€pp!!

The tickets can be purchased inside Ciampino Airport at the Tourist Info Point (PIT). Also, for those who already bought the Roma Pass on-line, they can use it for this journey instead of buying a new bus ticket.

The line that will bring you to Laurentina Metro station is n°720 and you can find it at the bus stop n°4 in front of the Ciampino Metro Station.

The bus will be running every 20 minutes from 5.30am to 11.30pm.

Once you get to the city center and you don’t know where to go, what to see first, whether to take a tour or not, just let us know and we will be happy to give you our best tips and offers 🙂

Rome by Night!!

If you think Rome by day is amazing, Rome by night transforms info a magical city.   The lights, the energy and the sights of people sitting outside at cafes and restaurants enjoying the Eternal City!  You will often find live music and entertainment in the Piazzas and Squares.

 

 

rome by night

The Pantheon

 

 

rome by night2

Trevi Foutain

 

rome by night3

St. Peter’s Square

 

rome by night4

Colosseum

rome by night5

Piazza Navona

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