Advice Sistine Chapel

Apr 14th, 2007, 06:08 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6
Advice Sistine Chapel

We're visiting Rome (arrive pm Tues, depart PM Thurs)in May. 2 nights - so we're trying to be effective with our time. We're staying at the Colonna Palace Hotel - and my question is;
What is the best time to visit the Sistine Chapel? I've been told that there are queues, so we are trying to mitigate time on this queue.
First time to Roma! Tks.
Fionnuala is offline  
Apr 14th, 2007, 06:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Sorry - was there during Nov and the lines weren't very long so can't help with what it looks like in May.
tmh is offline  
Apr 14th, 2007, 07:01 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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When our family was there in early March (on a Thursday) we got there shortly before the Vatican museums opened at 8:45 and there was a very long line. Our son (who had not been thrilled about the early morning arrival strategy) pointed out that as we were leaving in the early afternoon there was no line.
I am not sure this pattern would hold true in May.

I would highly recommend reading Michelangelo and the Pope's ceiling before going for great background information on the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael rooms.
Vttraveler is online now  
Apr 14th, 2007, 07:13 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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After three visits, the advice to wait until afternoon has held up well. Not sure why the lines fade but in spring and fall visits this was true!
wondering is offline  
Apr 14th, 2007, 07:17 AM
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We were there mid March, around 10.30 am. We were in the queue for more than one hour! When we passed by the entrance on our way out (around 3 pm or so) there was nobody. But ... there were long lines at St. Peter's which was not the case in the morning ...
MyriamC is offline  
Apr 14th, 2007, 12:32 PM
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We have never visited in May - once in April a long time ago and more recently in July. We went early before it got too hot, lines are long (this was July with lots of tourists), but lines moved rather quickly.

Just a side note here - if you are in a group, especially with children, and the place is crowded, establish a meeting place before going in. I got separated from my family due to the crowds and toured the Sistine Chapel 3 times trying to find them. I was afraid to leave since I wasn't sure I would find them once I went out. After about 2 hours of going back and forth and trying to get help, someone finally helped me when I said I was separated from my son (I never said that he was 30 years old!). Anyway, a kind gentleman found a place for me to sit and said my famuily would be back to get me and, after a while, there they were! What a relief! So, establish a meeting place before you go in case it is crowded.

Have a wonderful trip!
Marianna is offline  
Apr 14th, 2007, 04:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
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We arrived in Rome in the afternoon, checked into our hotel and took a taxi to the Vatican. The Vatican stopped selling tickets to admission at 3pm (15:00) -- we made it there at 2:45pm - no line. The facilities close at 5pm -- so you have a couple of hours to tour through. Of course, you should double check opening/closing times. We found the walk through pleasant and found it crowded at certain intervals but not really that bad. Of course at the Sistene Chapel there were many people. You can sit and observe .. have a small guidebook to enable you some background info .. you can purchase one from the Vatican before going into the chapel.

Enjoy and remember to dress appropriately.
Miss_Maple is offline  
Apr 14th, 2007, 10:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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We were there in mid-March as well and entered the security line about 12:45 and it took perhaps a half hour and after that no line whatever for tickets as we were with a private guide. Not crowded inside other than in the Sistine. Our guide suggested the after-noon time arrival precisely to minimize crowds.

Remember, no shorts or sleeveless tops and hats should be removed.
cupid1 is offline  
Apr 15th, 2007, 02:13 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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I can't give you a good answer to when to avoid queues at the Vatican museum. But maybe you can find some useful general info in my trip report with pictures and links . My wife and I went there a couple of years back and had a wonderful time there

Gard - trip reports and pictures
gard is offline  
Apr 15th, 2007, 03:41 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 636
We were there last August. We went with a tour group since they go in first. Our guide went straight to the Chapel. There was hardly anyone there. We then toured the Museums and had to go back through the Chapel. People were standing shoulder to shoulder in a packed room. You might want to invest in a tour group even if you view it as an additional price of admission and leave the group when you want. We used the cheapest tour we could find for this same purpose and wound up staying with the group. It was very enjoyable even for two people who avoid tours like the plague. I can't remember the name of the tour company but I have a trip report out here somewhere (search on my screen name). Enjoy. By the way, I thought the Chapel was a bit anti-climatic after having seen the Basilica the day before. It would be interesting to see what you think.
sdtravels is offline  
Apr 15th, 2007, 12:57 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 6
Thanks everyone for your kind, helpful replies. I did not realise your experiences would be quite so useful. I had intended to visit first thing, but now will certainly visit PM. Thanks for tips, esp dress code, staying in contact (now will bring mobiles (Marianne lol re 30 yr old son), reading great tip, tour guides and so on.
I will be back tomorrow for more gems, thanks again.
Fionnuala is offline  
Apr 15th, 2007, 01:33 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 662
You probably have heard this already, but I am glad that the second time we went I brought a mirror so I could look leisurely without a neck cramp!
wondering is offline  

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