Best time of day to see Vatican

Aug 31st, 2009, 02:40 PM
  #1  
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Best time of day to see Vatican

Hello,

I am going to be in Rome for a limited time and want to see the Vatican Museums and Sistene Chapel. I've heard mixed things about what time of day is best for lines (8am vs. 1pm) and have received recommendations to do a tour just to skip the line. Is it worth it to do a tour to skip a line but then get stuck with a group of people rather than move at your own pace? What time of day would you recommend to go?? Thank you!
kgholtz is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 02:48 PM
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Saturday August 1, 1PM. There wasn't a soul there, so to speak.
colduphere is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 04:57 PM
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It depends on the time of year, of course summers are extemely busy. If its high season I found first thing in the morning is a good time, but you still need to get there early as the Tour Buses start lining up early too. Off season is a little less crowded, but it really is worth the wait.
Oregongirl777 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 05:01 PM
  #4  
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We are going in 1.5 weeks...so mid Sept. I know you can buy tickets online now, but with our flight, baggage, public transportation, we are not sure exactly what time we will arrive at the Vatican and we have a Scavi tour booked for 3:15 that day.
kgholtz is offline  
Aug 31st, 2009, 07:12 PM
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You don't have to book a tour to skip the line. You can just purchase an admission ticket on the Vatican website.
http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/z-In...nfo_Orari.html
kybourbon is online now  
Sep 1st, 2009, 03:49 AM
  #6  
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They aren't "timed" tickets?
kgholtz is offline  
Sep 1st, 2009, 04:19 AM
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I don't know much about the tickets on the website, but I do pass the Vatican wall almost every day. During high season 8am on a weekday is probably best because the line by 9:30 or 10:00 is horrid. Fridays and Saturdays are often more packed, as are Mondays, but mid week seems a bit calmer. A tour is totally up to you, but if you like moving at your own pace, skip it and maybe go for the headset.
Dobermina is offline  
Sep 1st, 2009, 04:34 AM
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Yes, you must select a time on the website, but one Fodorite reported showing up an hour late for their tickets and were still allowed to entrance.

Q. Is it possible to change the date and time of the reservation?
A. It is possible to make the change by having the reservation code, the email and the date of birth of the person concerned. Therefore, click onto "Change of Reservation - Date and Time" in the menu on the left and follow the instructions.
kybourbon is online now  
Sep 1st, 2009, 11:22 AM
  #9  
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Thank you kybourbon! That's what I was wondering...if you showed up late, whether they would still allow you to enter.

We will be arriving at the Vatican straight from the airport (after dropping our bags off at the hotel). The issue is, we cannot plan for unforseen delays (i.e. flight delay, baggage claim, public transport from airport to termini station and hotel check in). I cannot change the date/time of the reservation b/c you have to change 72 hours before your ticket and we will not know if we are delayed until that day. We also will not have internet access to change the reservation.

Our flight lands at 8am so I think that I will try and purchase tickets in advance for 12:00 and then hope for the best that they will let us in if we show up at later time. If it is pushed till say 1pm, I am willing to forgo the Scavi tour at 3:15 in favor of spending more time in the Vatican Museum/Sistene Chapel.
kgholtz is offline  
Sep 1st, 2009, 12:55 PM
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There's a decent cafeteria in the museum if you need to grab a quick bite to eat. It will take a bit of time to get from the museum to the entrance for the Scavi tour. Your best bet is to use the exit in the Sistine Chapel that the group tours use.
kybourbon is online now  
Sep 2nd, 2009, 01:58 AM
  #11  
 
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We got our tickets online yesterday (thanks for that info, kybourbon) so I assume we just go to the entrance to St. Peter's with our reservation number and skip the line which was very long the last time we were there. From St. Peter's, what is the best way to go to the Sistine Chapel entrance? Do we have to leave and walk around the block or two to the Sistine Chapel or is there a short cut? Thanks.
Marianna is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2009, 04:00 AM
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To get to the Vatican Museums, which include the Sistine Chapel, you can't enter via St Peter's. You need to walk round the outside walls, to the right from the entrance to St Peter's Square - it's about a 10-15 minute walk. Once in the official route is to walk through all the various museums and finish at the Sistine Chapel, but there are shortcuts signposted if that's all you are interested in.

I've always gone at lunchtime and walked straight in (including in June). I would go to the Vatican Museums again but would skip the Sistine Chapel - IMO it's a hideous experience and I would never ever go again unless I came into unlimited wealth and could afford a private evening visit.

"If it is pushed till say 1pm, I am willing to forgo the Scavi tour at 3:15 in favor of spending more time in the Vatican Museum/Sistene Chapel." Please don't !! The excavations tour is really special and I felt privileged to be allowed to go on it. You can go to the Vatican Museums any time - couldn't you go back another day if you don't have time for both on your arrival day ?
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2009, 04:07 AM
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Marianna - You will exit St. Peter's at #2 on this map. You then need to walk down to #26 (via di Porta Angelica), left on viale Vaticano until you get to #22 (entrance to the museums).The Sistine Chapel is #9. It will take at least an hour to get to it from the entrance of the museums. The walk from St. Peter's will be about 15 minutes.
http://www.saintpetersbasilica.org/vaticancity-map.htm
kybourbon is online now  
Sep 2nd, 2009, 04:17 AM
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Kybourbon, that is a great map! Thanks.

The route you described is how we got to the Museums and Sistine Chapel the last time we were there. I thought that perhaps there was a way to go directly from St. Peter's to the Sistine Chapel and do the museums afterwards. In thinking back to when I got separated from my family and went the opposite way a few times and visited the Sistine Chapel at least 3 times that day, I think they keep everyone going in the same direction.
Marianna is offline  
Sep 5th, 2009, 03:51 PM
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caroline_edinburgh, why would you skip the Sistine Chapel? Also, I just purchased tickets. I read up on the do's and don'ts. Seriously, no picture taking is allowed in the Sistine Chapel?
Blacknight is offline  
Sep 5th, 2009, 04:43 PM
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No picture taking and there are guards to remind you. They will also shush you.
kybourbon is online now  
Sep 8th, 2009, 03:29 AM
  #17  
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I emailed the Vatican office about arriving after your timed ticket and received this response:

Dear Madam,
in case you won't be on time you may loose your slot to enter with your reservation.If you arrive earlier or later you may loose your slot to enter with reservation and you may be requested to wait to enter after the visitors on time.

Best regards
kgholtz is offline  
Sep 10th, 2009, 07:33 AM
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The main reason I hated the Sistine Chapel is it's very crowded, almost everyone ignores the 'no photos' rules so there is a constanst barrage of clicking, flashing and guards shouting "no photos". You can't appreciate the art at all.

I don't know why people are so keen to take photos in churches etc anyway - postcards give much better views than you can get yourself.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Sep 10th, 2009, 12:56 PM
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kybouron-a question please. I originally booked our Vatican tickets for 4:30, then thought that might not allow enough time to see everything. I changed the reservation to 10:30 and have now read that this time of day is very busy. The Vatican site only allows you to change your reservation once. Any ideas? Or should I just go with the 10:30 time slot?
galelstorm is offline  
Sep 10th, 2009, 02:18 PM
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I would stick with the 10:30 slot. The museum is only open until 6, but they will start trying to herd people out by about 5:30. Once you enter the museum you are on a path towards the Sistine Chapel. It takes at least an hour to get there from the entrance and that's really without wandering off the set path to look at rooms you are passing. If you mouse over the thing listed on this link, it will highlight on the map where it is. The long hallways are full or art, tapestries, etc. which you will want to spend time looking at and most of the ceilings are artworks also. Check out the courtyards too. I really don't think a 4:30 slot with the guards encouraging you to leave at 5:30 would even give you time to look at the Sistine Chapel once you reached it. I would stick with 10:30 and if you need a break, head to the museum cafeteria, get a snack, some wine, rest a bit and then continue touring the museum.
http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Visite.html

Most people just do the route to the Chapel and then leave. They don't seem to wander back to things they want to see, but you can. There are also several shops (and a Vatican post office) and you might want to buy something while there.

Restaurant and Coffee bars
* A restaurant with a self-service, pizzeria and coffee bar is located one floor down the Atrium of the Four Gates (Atrio dei Quattro Cancelli): go down the stairs near the Picture Gallery (Pinacoteca) or at the top of the escalators turn right and then follow the indications.
* A coffee bar with a shop is one floor down the restaurant.
* The coffee bar "Sistina" is on the stairs leading to the entrance of the Sistine Chapel (near the toilets)
kybourbon is online now  

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