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The Vatican

How to Beat Those Long Lines

Home to the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael rooms, the Vatican Museums are among the most congested of all Rome's attractions.

For years, people thought the best way to get a jump on the crowds was to be at the front entrance when it opened at 8:30 am, particularly on the last Sunday of the month when entrance is free (other Sundays the museums are closed).

The problem was that everyone else had the same idea. Result: Rome's version of the Calgary stampede.

Instead, the best way to avoid long lines is to arrive between noon and 2, when lines will be very short or even nonexistent, except Sundays when admissions close at 12:30. Even better is to schedule your visit during the Wednesday Papal Mass, held in the piazza of St. Peter’s or at Aula Paolo Sesto. This is usually 10:30 am—to see the pope's calendar, log on to: www.vatican.va. Finally, you can purchase your ticket in advance online for an extra €4.

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