Skipping the Lines in Italy with Context Travel Walks

by Jessica on June 23, 2011

by | June 23rd, 2011  

I love finding ways for Italy travelers to get around potential hassles – like waiting in long lines for popular museums. Last year, I offered my tips for avoiding lines at some of Italy’s biggest sights for a blogging project, and before that I’d been tipped off by readers about things like the secret ticket window in Florence and the fact that Venice’s St. Mark’s Basilica now charges €1 to reserve an entry in advance. (It used to be free – but it’s still a great bargain.)

Now, I’m able to tell you about another way to avoid the long waits for many of Italy’s top museums that’s combined with one of my favorite tour guide companies, Context Travel. I’ve confirmed with them that many of their art walks include a reserved entry time to the museums on the walk, meaning you’ll get to skip the line and you get the benefit of a scholarly docent to explain the artwork to you. It’s a fabulous combination.

Here are the Context Travel walks that include reserved tickets for the museums and sights on the itinerary:

  • Rome Tours

    • Arte Vaticana – 4-hour walk; tour includes Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica; booking includes reserved entry ticket for Vatican Museums
    • Galleria Borghese – 2.5-hour tour; tour includes Galleria Borghese; booking includes a reserved entry time for the Galleria Borghese (Context Travel makes the reservations for entry, you will pay at the gallery entrance for your ticket when you meet the docent)
    • Roma Antica – 4-hour walk; tour includes Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, and Colosseum; booking includes reserved entry ticket for Colosseum
    • The Colosseum and Imperial Rome – 3-hour walk; tour includes Colosseum and Trajan’s Markets; booking includes reserved entry ticket for Colosseum
  • Florence Tours
    • Arte Firenze – 3-hour tour; tour includes Uffizi Gallery; booking includes reserved entry ticket for Uffizi Gallery
    • Michelangelo Seminar – 3.5-hour tour; tour includes Accademia Gallery, Casa Buonarotti, and Museo del Bargello; booking includes reserved entry ticket for Accademia Gallery
    • The Medici: Portrait of a Family – 3.5-hour tour; tour includes Medici Chapels, Museum of San Marco, and Palazzo Medici-Riccardi; booking includes reserved entry ticket for Medici Chapels
  • Venice Tours
    • Venice and the East – 3-hour tour; tour includes St. Mark’s Basilica; booking includes reserved entry ticket for St. Mark’s Basilica

photo of docent Karen Lloyd inside the Vatican Museums courtesy of Context Travel


{ 3 comments }

Joan Schmelzle June 23, 2011 at 4:53 pm
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Hi,
You have commented on my absolute favorite tour company. I have taken most of the Rome and Florence tours you mention. I think I have taken Roma Antica and Arte Vaticana each three or four times and I have always learned something new. They also have many tours that do not require an entry time for a museum, and I have taken quite a few of them. I’ve even done a couple of their tours in New York City. I have had great guides (docents) and also lots of fun. I highly recommend Context.

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Nan @ LivingVenice June 25, 2011 at 2:32 am
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I’m a Context fan too — but don’t forget you can book the Basilica entrance yourself as well, for €1 at http://tinyurl.com/bookthebasilica.

Of course you’ll miss out on the expert tour…a very big miss. :)

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Jessica June 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm
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Oh, sure – you can book tickets on your own in advance for all the sights listed above… But, as you pointed out, in each case you miss out on the great tour. :)

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