I'm going to Florence, Venice & Rome the first 2 weeks of May, 2008. How soon should I make museum & Vatican reservatons? Would I need to make reservations only in the museums that I am doing without a guided tour? If I'm hiring a guide, how soon should I reserve them and which sights do you advise doing ourselves and which ones should we hire someone?
the Vatican has on site guides avail for private or grp tours. we did not reserve ahead. Yes reserve ahead on Uffizi or have your hotel conceirge do it. If you are using Ricks recom guides reserve all aheadby months.
You will need reservations for the Uffizi and Acadamia (to see the statue of David) in Florence. Request of your hotel to make the reservations for you. Museums in Venice are no problem. In Rome you do need reservations for the Borghese. Vatican Museum you can stand in line as it goes fast or else visit in the afternoon. If you want to do the Scavi tour at the Vatican, which is the excavations beneath St. Peter's Bascilica you need reservations as you can do them now. I have just received confirmation of our tour for the first week in April. This is the web site http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/institutions_connected/uffscavi/documents/rc_ic_uffscavi_doc_gen-information_20040112_en.htmlm
If you are doing the Vatican tour, make sure you get a tour that "skips the line" You can make a cheaper reservation, but you still stand in the LONG line!
We were just there last week. I booked with Angel tours, it was good. We still had to be in the huge mass of people, but we didn't stand in line to get into the museum...we did have to deal with about 5-7,000 people in the halls. It's hard to see everything there is to offer there...it's like a huge opening day sale at a department store- the mass of people just move you along like a current in the sea.
If you don't like crowds, don't do this tour!
The museum is interesting, but you could skip it and just get into St Peter's to see the church...it is much less crowded.
The Sistine Chapel is much smaller than you might expect, and NO pictures are allowed inside. A Japanese company paid for the restoration, and the ceiling is now copywrited.
Thanks everyone for all the info! Since Diane is going in April and has just booked her reservation, I guess I better get on them. Ellen, do you think I would be better off booking straight with the Vatican for their tour over Angel Tours? I was debating between the two of them.