It has been too long! As I sifted through past pictures, I realized I had yet to give my two cents (or two liras) about Roma (the city I lived in for 5 months…blasphemy). Though no reader would have the wherewithal to read that long of a post, I decided to break it up by museums, food, sights, and more!
Without further ado…
I had the great pleasure of being enrolled in an Ancient Roman Civilization class, which along with learning about the most epic emperors and their dirty little secrets (shout out to Suetonius’ The Twelve Ceasars), gave us the opportunity to see many ancient sites and museums with our teacher. From Pompeii to Ostia Antica, to small hills and pyramids throughout Rome, my favorite of these Roman museums came down to just two: the Capitoline Museum & the Vatican Museum.
The Capitoline Museum
Aptly named since it rests upon what once was the Capitoline Hill, though weary travelers have nothing to fear since a five minute walk up the marble stairs is the only ‘hiking’ you need to do. This gem is sandwiched between Piazza Venezia and the Roman Forum, a perfect and well air-conditioned place to take a break from the heat and lines found at the ancient Forum and the Colosseum.
I won’t spoil one of the coolest parts of this museum with pictures, but let me just say there are some GIGANTIC pieces that will absolutely amaze you. Another section worth noting is the lower floor that has many epitaphs–brush up on your Latin or take a guided tour to learn what they said!
Tickets to the museum are €16 and € 14 for a reduced ticket. If you are a resident within the Roman capital, and have the documentation to prove it, enjoy your €15 ticket. Seriously? Only €1 difference? Absurd.
The Vatican Museum
Though it is no secret that the last Sunday of the month is free entrance to the Vatican Museum, you may not be aware that it closes at 2 p.m. This leaves you with a pretty small time frame to both skip the abysmal line that will wrap around the gigantic wall encompassing the museum at 8 a.m. on the dot and not be locked out. I suggest arriving a little before noon; by then a majority of the high-strung tourists, who curse you and your unborn children for walking in their shot of the 268th Roman marble statue, will be gone and the families will be leaving for a much needed lunch break from all the walking, watching, and the ‘No, Timmy, don’t touch that. Timmy, what did I just say? Timmy, what did your mother just say? NO TIMMY! DO NOT TOUCH”.
However, if you didn’t revolve your trip to Rome around this random ‘last Sunday of the month is so many free things’ fact, then have fun coughing up €16 for your adult ticket. Students are €4, but good luck passing off as an EU citizen–heed my advice to all you broke college (and post college) students, work on your English accents and maybe you’ll get through.
There is most definitely a security check and you are not allowed to have large backpacks, but there is a free bag check available and the line is short. Keep in mind, you are nowhere near the entrance, where you checked bag, when you exit the museum (at the Sistine Chapel). Make sure to leave plenty of time to go back to get your bag before the museum closes.
Or, to save you the anxiety and stress, Do. Not. Take. A. Bag.
You only need your phone, camera, and euros, so make sure you have pockets (or the oh-so-nifty under the shirt anti-theft pocket sling), and you’re good to go.
You are allowed to use cameras, except in the Sistine Chapel where there are a few hundred signs posted everywhere telling you to not take a single picture, while police will patrol the room constantly shushing you and yelling at you in Italian to not take a picture. This no picture rule has nothing to do with preservation or religious meaning and it never existed until Kodak funded an almost million dollar renovation project within the Sistine Chapel and in return, received all picture and video rights of the Chapel. Unreal. Either way, beware. Or be sneaky. Your call.
If you do need to buy your tickets, I highly recommend that you buy your tickets online, in advanced. It will save you time and energy. My final tip: the best time to go to museums is when the weather is awful!