Rome’s cultural ministry has recently added a pass where one can visit previously restricted archaeological sites at the Roman Forum and Palatine HIll. It’s called the SUPER Pass…and having gone earlier this year, I think it’s pretty great. The SUPER Pass gives you access to eight restricted areas that you can’t access with just the regular ticket for the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill.
There are two main options for the SUPER Pass:
- Option 1: Buy SUPER Pass as stand-alone ticket (16€ + 2€ reservation fee online). You get entry to the Roman Forum/Palatine Hill and all of the eight places. You have one day to use the pass and only one entry to the Roman Forum & Palatine Hill (for ticket purposes these are considered one site). Please note that if you enter the Roman Forum and leave you will not be able to get back into the Palatine Hill (or vice versa)—both have to be visited on the same entry.
- Option 2: Buy SUPER Pass (6€) as an add-on to the regular Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatine Hill ticket (12€ + 2€ reservation fee online). You have two days to use the ticket, but only one entry to Colosseum (entry to this must now be reserved separately—see note below) and one entry to Roman Forum & Palatine Hill (for ticket purposes these are considered one site). Please note that if you enter the Roman Forum and leave you will not be able to get back into the Palatine Hill (or vice versa)—both have to be visited on the same entry.
Restricted Places You Can Visit with the SUPER Pass: I would love to go into detail about each one, but for brevity’s sake, I’ve included a website for each site that provides more information. My favorites are: Nero’s Domus Transitoria (his first major palace before the Domus Aurea), the House of Augustus, the House of Livia, and Santa Maria Antiqua.
- Nero’s Domus Transitoria (Palatine Hill) ** reservations required (see below)
- House of Augustus (Palatine Hill) ** reservations required (see below)
- House of Livia (Palatine Hill) ** reservations required (see below)
- Aula Isiaca/Loggia Mattei (Palatine Hill)
- Palatine Museum (Palatine Hill)
- Neronian Cryptoporticus (Palatine Hill)
- Temple of Romulus (Roman Forum)
- Santa Maria Antiqua with Domitian Ramp (Roman Forum)
Days/Times: go to the CoopCulture website for specifics, as hours change for winter and summer. Please note that generally the Palatine Hill sites are open in the morning and the Roman Forum are open in the afternoon. You will want to plan your day accordingly, so that you can visit the House of Augustus, House of Livia, and Domus Transitoria in the morning, then maybe see the Palatine Hill and the other sites there before moving over to see the Roman Forum sites when those restricted sites open in the early afternoon.
How to Buy the SUPER Pass: you can buy at the ticket office, but I don’t necessarily recommend that option, as the lines can be insufferable. For just a 2€ reservation fee, you can reserve online at Coopculture (which is also where you reserve your tour time). The ticket is good for one month after the purchasing day.
How to Reserve Tours of Special Sites: If you want to see the House of Augustus, House of Livia, and Nero’s First House (and trust me you want to see them all), you must make a reservation online. It can be confusing, because you have to “buy” the reservation, but they are purchased at a charge of 0€ so there is no fee. To do this, you go to the Coopculture website to the SUPER pass page and click “buy now.” You will see reservation options for English and Italian tours for the House of Augustus, House of Livia, and First Palace of Nero (Domus Transitoria). Click on the “details” button, choose your date and time, and place it in your cart. You will notice that there is no charge for the reservations. The Houses of Livia and Augustus have the fewest tours available daily, so you may want to reserve those first.
You must go to the tour on the day and time you reserved or you will not get in (even if you have the pass). The people working at the site will have your name and the number of people you made reservations for. We saw people turned away—one couple who tried to show up early and one who had purchased a pass, but hadn’t made any reservations.
- Saturday and Sunday are the only days when all the special sites are open. Some of the sites are closed on Monday, one is closed on Tuesdays-Thursdays, another couple are closed on Fridays, but please check the Coopculture website before planning your day as this is subject to change.
- Ask for a map when you pick up/buy your ticket at the ticket window. They didn’t give one to us voluntarily, but I knew they had them so I asked for it. We would have had a difficult time finding the sites without it—it’s a huge place.
- Bring water.
- Bring some food, especially if you plan on seeing everything (since the site openings are dispersed over morning and afternoon). We brought sandwiches, which tasted delicious after a few hours of sightseeing. I’m not sure how much food is allowed though, so I wouldn’t bring a full picnic or anything.
- Wear shoes that can traverse rocky terrain—remember you’re visiting ruins. I’ve seen too many people trip walking around the area…and that was before they had access to some subterranean sites.
Seeing these rich archaeological sites at such a low price is a huge value. I think the price of admission is justified just to see Livia’s House, or Nero’s Domus Transitoria, or the House of Augustus. But thankfully you don’t have to choose! And you get to explore the entire Roman Forum and Palatine Hill! It’s a great value and a very cool experience.
With timed entry and small groups, the SUPER Pass sites are far-less crowded than places like the Colosseum. Palatine Hill is spacious enough that it never feels teeming with crowds either, so if you’re looking to get away from Roman chaos, you can use the former hill where Rome’s rich and famous had their urban palaces.
I hope you enjoy Rome’s SUPER Pass as much as I did; it’s truly one of best things to do in Rome. Buon viaggio!
Note: Although one can still buy a ticket that covers the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill, you have to reserve an entry time for the Colosseum. Sadly, these reservation slots go quickly (if you look at the Coopculture site, you will see what I mean). If you want to see the Colosseum with the normal regular ticket, I recommend reserving your slot as soon as it is first available. Otherwise, I suggest going through a reputable tour company. We like The Tour Guy and our readers can save money on many of their tours using our link.
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