While visiting my friends in Amsterdam, they told me it’s perfectly doable to see both the Colosseum and Vatican City on the same day.
Brilliant, I thought. That’s exactly what I will do.
After much thought, I decided I would see the Colosseum first before heading over to Vatican City.
I took the metro to the Colosseo station where the Colosseum is located arriving at around 8am to join the line up and buy my tickets. I was lucky because the lineup only took 30 minutes instead of the predicted 1+ hour. Typically, you are encouraged to start lining up one hour before the Colosseum opens at 8:30am. (This means you should be lining up by 7:30am)
While lining up, I met some really friendly Japanese tourist and decided to team up with them to explore the Colosseum.
The Colosseum took about 1.5-2 hours to explore before we went off to see the next tourist attractions in the area.
Roman Forum and Palatine Hill
Included in the ticket to the Colosseum is entrance to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. This place was huge and I was very impressed! I didn’t know what to expect but it was definitely cool to see the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. This place is much larger than the Colosseum and you should expect to spend another 1.5-2 hours to completely explore the area.
Taking the metro to Vatican City
After spending roughly 3-4 hours in the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, it was time to say goodbye to my Japanese friends as I headed back to the metro station. I boarded the metro in the Colosseo station and made my way towards the Ottaviano station which is near Vatican City.
Exploring the Vatican City Museum and secret passage to St. Peter’s Basilica
After taking a quick lunch outside the Vatican City Museum, I went through the security gate to see the famous Vatican City and its museum.
I purchased my ticket online at this website ahead of time because I wanted to guarantee my entrance in the museum.
Once inside, I made my way exploring The Vatican Museum. The museum is huge with tons of different antiquities from different civilizations.
After exploring the Vatican Museum, you can take a shortcut to enter St. Peter’s Basilica. (Thanks to my Dutch friends for sharing this trick with me) This shortcut is only suppose to be for people who join tour groups but many people seem to be entering it just fine.
The secret shortcut is located in the Sistine Chapel. You’ll recognize it right away when you see a “Do Not Enter”, “For tour groups only”. Because there are so many Asians in Rome, I figured I can just blend in one of the tour groups to use this secret shortcut. However, they weren’t running any Asian tour groups at the time of entering the Sistine Chapel and so I went ahead and improvised.
I ended up following a German senior’s tour group through the secret shortcut. The security didn’t seem to care despite being sure that I don’t quite blend in this tour group.
Because of this, I was able to bypass walking 20 minutes to the entrance of St. Peter’s Basilica and lining up under the burning sun.
St. Peter’s Basilica
After taking the secret passage way to St. Peter’s Basilica, it’s time to climb to the top of this famous cathedral.
The climb to the top is exhausting and extremely hot. There is barely any air and is guaranteed to cause a panic attack to claustrophobic people.
After 551 steps to the top, you’ll be rewarded with a ceiling view of St. Peter’s Basilica and surrounding area.
Be warned, this climb is extremely hot and stuffy. Many people get tired climbing and stop walking mid-way causing the extremely tight stairways to get clogged up. It’s a very unpleasant experience.
After climbing back down, it’s time to explore St. Peter’s Basilica from the inside. I would have to say, it is the most impressive cathedral I have ever seen in my life. The suffering I experienced climbing up and down this basilica was well worth it. Truly, exploring the Vatican City in Italy is a must-do once-in-a-life time experience.
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