Rome in Summer: Skipping the Lines, and Surviving the Crowds

Tourist crowds in Rome in summer
Summer in Rome means lots and lots of visitors!

Visit Rome in the summer, and you won’t just want to know where the water fountains are and to remember your SPF. You’ll want to know how to skip the lines.

June, July, and August are the tip of the top of Rome’s peak tourist season. And that means several things.

First, you’ll want to do some real digging to find airfare deals. And you’ll want to book your accommodation as far in advance as possible. (Check out my “Accommodation” section for some suggestions).

But you’ll also want to be even more diligent about planning your sightseeing. Because if standing in line in the spring is rough, it’s even worse when the line is twice as long and you’re sweating twice as much. Be especially mindful of the Colosseum (and often Roman forum and Palatine), St. Peter’s Basilica, and Vatican museums, which all have long lines in the summer.

Case in point:

Skip the line at the Colosseum
I promise, you don’t want to stand in this line.

Luckily, these lines also are all skippable.

Here’s how.

For the Colosseum, either book your tickets online, get a RomaPass, or take a skip-the-line tour (book this in advance, rather than waiting till you get to the sight. The tour guides that rely on “gatherers” to collect on-the-spot groups for them are, in general, not so hot).

For the Vatican museums, either go for a skip-the-line tour (and book it in advance, for the same reasons as the above), or book your Vatican museum tickets in advance online.

When it comes to St. Peter’s Basilica, you’ve got three options: You can take a Vatican tour that includes the basilica and lets you skip the line; try to sneak out the Sistine Chapel exit for guides and groups only, which lands you on the porch of St. Peter’s Basilica; or visit the basilica at the very end of the day, say around 5pm, when the line is shortest and the day coolest.

See? Easy.

Posts on more fun (and less logistical) things, like swimming pools and beaches, coming soon in the Rome summer guide.If you liked this post, you’ll love The Revealed Rome Handbook: Tips and Tricks for Exploring the Eternal City, available for purchase on Amazon or through my site here! I’m also free for one-on-one consulting sessions to help plan your Italy trip.

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  1. Hi! The skip the line is only for guided tours or if I bought my ticket without guided tour I can also skip the line?

    1. If you buy a normal entrance ticket in advance, you also skip the line. So I always recommend doing that at a minimum! Hope that helps 🙂

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