Visiting the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel and Colosseum on Your Own

The Vatican Museums and Colosseum are world-renowned sights drawing huge crowds of visitors. Due to the overcrowding and unreliable availability for group reservations, our tours don't visit the inside of either sight as a group.

Colosseum

Our local guide walks the group around the outside of the Colosseum, explaining the significance and engineering of this ancient wonder. We also take an in-depth walking tour in the more enjoyable and less crowded Roman Forum, the true heart of ancient Rome.

Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

As a group, we visit Vatican City where a local expert will introduce us to the world’s smallest country, and the greatest church in Christendom: the awe-inspiring St. Peter's Basilica, home to Michelangelo's sublime Pietà.

If you would like to go inside the Colosseum and/or the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, we encourage you to do so during your free time in Rome (or pre-/post-tour). Below you'll find our recommendations on when to visit and how to get reservations for each of the affected tours (this information is also available under Pre-tour Planning in your account.

Our free Rick Steves Audio Europe app also has great self-guided tours of both the Colosseum and Vatican Museums. Before you leave for your tour, we recommend downloading the app from the App Store (Apple phones) or Google Play (Andoid phones) and adding the Colosseum and Vatican Museums audio tours to your playlist.

Thank you for your understanding as we navigate overcrowding and group restrictions in the ever-changing tourism industry. We are always dedicated to bringing you the best experiences that Europe has to offer!

Select your tour for recommendations on when to visit.

Best of Europe in 14 Days

Visiting the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel and Colosseum

Tickets are available two months prior to the date you prefer to visit the Vatican Museums and one month prior for the Colosseum. Please note tickets may sell out quickly from the official site. Here are the best days and times to visit either or both sites based on your tour itinerary:

  • Day 1 before noon (allowing you time to get to the Welcome Meeting at 3 p.m.)
  • Day 2 at 11 a.m. or later (we recommend visiting the Vatican Museums first, as we'll be nearby, and if visiting both, reserve the Colosseum for around 4 p.m.)
  • Pre-tour if you're adding extra days
Official website: Vatican Museums Tickets

The basic ticket is called: Admission tickets – Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel 

If tickets are sold out at the official website, consider booking from another website, such as Omnia Vatican Rome

Official website: Colosseum Tickets

The basic ticket is called: Ticket Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine_24

If tickets are sold out at the official website, consider booking from another website, such as Get Your Guide.

 

Best of Europe in 21 Days

Visiting the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel and Colosseum

Tickets are available two months prior to the date you prefer to visit for the Vatican Museums and one month prior for the Colosseum. Please note tickets may sell out quickly from the official site. Here are the best days and times to visit either or both sites based on your tour itinerary:

  • Day 13 at 11:00 a.m. or later (we recommend visiting the Vatican Museums first, as we'll be nearby, and if visiting both, reserve the Colosseum for around 4 p.m.)
Official website: Vatican Museums Tickets

The basic ticket is called: Admission tickets – Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel 

If tickets are sold out at the official website, consider booking from another website, such as Omnia Vatican Rome.

Official website: Colosseum Tickets

The basic ticket is called: Ticket Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine_24

If tickets are sold out at the official website, consider booking from another website, such as Get Your Guide.

 

Best of Italy in 17 Days

Visiting the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel and Colosseum

Tickets are available two months prior to the date you prefer to visit the Vatican Museums and one month prior for the Colosseum. Please note tickets may sell out quickly from the official site. Here are the best days and times to visit either or both sites based on your tour itinerary:

  • Day 16 at 11:00 a.m. or later (we recommend visiting the Vatican Museums first, as we'll be nearby, and if visiting both, reserve the Colosseum for around 4 p.m.)
  • Day 17 when the tour is over after breakfast
  • Post-tour if you're adding extra days
  • Please note: The Vatican Museums is closed most Sundays and may also close for special events and holidays. It's a good idea to check The Vatican Museums calendar before making reservations.
Official website: Vatican Museums Tickets

The basic ticket is called: Admission tickets – Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel 

If tickets are sold out at the official website, consider booking from another website, such as Omnia Vatican Rome

Official website: Colosseum Tickets

The basic ticket is called: Ticket Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine_24

If tickets are sold out at the official website, consider booking from another website, such as Get Your Guide.

 

Best of Rome in 7 Days

Visiting the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel

Tickets are available for booking two months prior to the date of your visit. Please note tickets may sell out quickly from the official site. Here are the best days and times to visit based on your tour itinerary:

  • Day 3 at noon or later
  • Day 7 when the tour is over after breakfast
  • Pre- or post-tour if you're adding extra days
  • Please note: The Vatican Museums is closed most Sundays and may also close for special events and holidays. It's a good idea to check The Vatican Museums calendar before making reservations.
Official website: Vatican Museums Tickets

The basic ticket is called: Admission tickets – Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel 

If tickets are sold out at the official website, consider booking from another website, such as Omnia Vatican Rome

*The Best of Rome includes a tour of the interior of the Colosseum.

Best of Venice, Florence & Rome in 10 Days

Visiting the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel and Colosseum

We recommend booking tickets two months prior to the date you prefer to visit. Please note tickets may sell out quickly from the official site. Here are the best days and times to visit either or both sites based on your tour itinerary:

  • Day 8 at 11:00 a.m. or later for Vatican Museums
  • Day 9 at 1:30 p.m. or later for the Colosseum
  • Day 10 when the tour is over after breakfast
  • Post-tour if you're adding extra days
  • Please note: The Vatican Museums is closed most Sundays and may also close for special events and holidays. It's a good idea to check The Vatican Museums calendar before making reservations.
Official website: Vatican Museums Tickets

The basic ticket is called: Admission tickets – Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel 

If tickets are sold out at the official website, consider booking from another website, such as Omnia Vatican Rome

Official website: Colosseum Tickets

The basic ticket is called: Ticket Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine_24

If tickets are sold out at the official website, consider booking from another website, such as Get Your Guide.

 

Heart of Italy in 9 Days

Visiting the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel and Colosseum

Tickets are available two months prior to the date you prefer to visit the Vatican Museums and one month prior for the Colosseum. Please note tickets may sell out quickly from the official site. Here are the best days and times to visit either or both sites based on your tour itinerary:

  • Day 1 before noon (allowing you time to get to the Welcome Meeting at 3 p.m.)
  • Day 2 at 11 a.m. or later (we recommend visiting the Vatican Museums first, as we'll be nearby, and if visiting both, reserve the Colosseum for around 4 p.m.)
  • Pre-tour if you're adding extra days
  • Please note: The Vatican Museums is closed most Sundays and may also close for special events and holidays. It's a good idea to check The Vatican Museums calendar before making reservations.
Official website: Vatican Museums Tickets

The basic ticket is called: Admission tickets – Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel 

If tickets are sold out at the official website, consider booking from another website, such as Omnia Vatican Rome

Official website: Colosseum Tickets

The basic ticket is called: Ticket Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine_24

If tickets are sold out at the official website, consider booking from another website, such as Get Your Guide.