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Tourist Attractions — Ticket & Tour Add-Ons & Extras - Are they worth it?

Hi all,
I'm looking to book all the main attractions around Florence and Rome in the next couple of weeks for 2 adults and one historically open 14 yr old — The Colosseum, Vatican Museums, Uffitzi Gallery, etc. All will be booked through the official websites (unless you steer me otherwise!)

I'm curious, are any of the tour add-ons (audio tours, visiting with an archeologist, etc?) worth the extra expense?

I've opted for audio tours at museums on occasion and found the tours to be a little boring without more information when shoulder to shoulder with other tourists. Other times, there was enough happening visually that the sights alone is worth the ticket price alone and and audio would be nice but not necessary.

Other considerations are that iPhones (all 3 of us have one) these days don't have earphone jacks granted we could find a way. I did download Rick Steve's audio in Barcelona when traveling alone and enjoyed that but am looking to invest to enhance the experience for the 3 of us where it's worth the cost.

Have you found these add ons or special tour tickets to be worth the cost in Florence and Rome, or just another tourist trap to avoid?

Posted by
1768 posts

I find any type of “ guided” aid or a guide to be beneficial. Learning the history associated with each site I visit is much more fulfilling than just wandering on my own.

Posted by
14558 posts

Some tours are very definitely of value as they'll enhance the experience.

One I'll recommend first is a small-group tour which includes not JUST the Colosseum but the Forum and Palatine Hill as well. While the Colosseum is pretty easily understood with a bit of reading or an audio tour, the other two sites are much more complex and benefit from an educated guide. A couple of resources people have reviewed positively on the forums:

Your tickets would be included with your tour so no need to buy them separately. There are other good companies as well; I'm sure some other folks will pop in with reco's for those. One warning; WOI had some issues getting their hands on Colosseum underground tickets last year so some folks had their tours cancelled rather late in the game. We'll hope that's not an issue this year, and that TPG doesn't have that problem too. Anyway, I included tours with both companies that don't include that piece, just in case.

Vatican Museums: it is VAST and very, very busy. Walks of Italy has a very popular tour which gets you in BEFORE the general public, and also allows you to access St Peter's via an inside corridor reserved for tours. That eliminates the walk from the museums to the church, and standing in the security queue for the church so is a very nice time- saver. The Roman Guy has one of these too.

As with the Colosseum/Forum/Palatine, there are other regarded companies who offer these tours so i'm sure you'll get additional recommendations. While early entrance helps with seeing the Sistine before it's completely mobbed, multiple companies do these tours so you probably will be sharing the space with a multiple groups.

Uffizi: we did that one just with some pre-reading and a book I purchased in their bookshop. It helps to have an idea what you want to see and where those pieces are before you arrive. Here's a map and some useful info.

Posted by
3615 posts

When our daughter was 12, she said she really enjoyed the guided tour of the Vatican Museums.