Friday Night Vatcian Visit

Old Sep 7th, 2014, 10:18 AM
  #1  
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Friday Night Vatcian Visit

Now that summer is winding down (and we're in the final prep for our October visit), we're hoping to hear from anyone out there who visited the Vatican on a Friday night. Previous posts I have read are older and we're concerned that this "new" feature isn't so new anymore, resulting in larger crowds, We have a Scavi tour reserved for 1pm, so we have the option of visiting with a tour early am (probably Walks of Italy Pristine Sistine) or visiting in the evening. FYI--DH and I have never been before, so any tips are welcome! Thanks!
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Old Sep 7th, 2014, 12:59 PM
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I have done the WOI Pristine Sistine tour. We booked the first one of the day and asked for Stuart to be the guide. He takes you straight through to the Sistine Chapel immediately. You get to see it when it is practically empty and then he works the group back to start to see the Museums. He is a great guide and seeing the chapel before it gets crowded is special. You would finish that tour with a little bit of time to have a light snack/quick lunch before the Scavi tour.
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Old Sep 8th, 2014, 11:10 AM
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Thanks, denisea. Your input is one of the reasons we're thinking about WOI early entrance! Because we're going on a Friday and have the option of the Friday Night opening, (and that will be our first full day in Italy, so jet lag is a concern with that early am time), we were hoping to receive some recent comments on how crowded (or not) the Friday Nights have been this summer. Anyone???
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Old Sep 8th, 2014, 12:54 PM
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gtgrl - I have debated about the same thing. An early morning WOI tour or the Friday night opening. I posted my own question about Friday night and didn't get any feedback. I still have not committed to a day/time for our October visit, so I'm keeping an eye on this thread.

Maybe the lack of feedback means that Friday night is still a lesser known or lesser used option.
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Old Sep 8th, 2014, 05:19 PM
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Have you all checked on Trip Advisor to see if there is any feedback there on Friday night?
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Old Sep 8th, 2014, 05:46 PM
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Not what you are asking for exactly, but I did the Friday night visit in 2010 and again in 2013 and attendance had increased. In 2010, there were maybe 5 to 7 other people in some of the Raphael rooms and maybe 20-30 in the Sistine Chapel. In 2013, definitely more people, but not uncomfortably busy, nor anywhere near daytime crowds. And the Borgia Apartments, which I wanted to see, were pretty empty (2013 visit).

I was there in late May both times; I would think October would be less crowded. You are probably aware from the website that some galleries (including the Pinacoteca) are not open for the evening visit, although the areas most people want to see (Pio-Clementine Museum, the Egyptian Museum, the Raphael's Rooms, the Borgia Apartment, the Sistine Chapel) are.

Bottom line, if the evening visit works better for your schedule, I would go for it.
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Old Sep 8th, 2014, 06:18 PM
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One note about October - it will be dark for a night visit and the galleries can look different - especially the ones that have windows overlooking the Vatican grounds/gardens.

I would definitely do first thing in the morning instead.
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Old Sep 10th, 2014, 10:46 AM
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nytraveler--lighting was one of my initial concerns (and still is), but have read that LED lighting was installed recently to mimic daylight. Still not the same as daylight, I'm sure, but if the rooms and the chapel are much less crowded, that may be the price to pay.
mama-mia--the input you provided is indeed what I was looking for! Only wish someone who's attended on a Friday night in 2014 would post!
denisea--Yep, I've checked TA, but again, very little from recent travelers, so I'm hoping maybe limmy is correct!

Out of all the decisions we're making, this is the one we're agonizing over. Nothing's ever "perfect", but this is a biggie for us, so still hoping for a little more feedback.

A new wrinkle: the Vatican also offers a "happy hour" buffet on Friday nights as an add-on option for these night visits. I have read only one review (very positive) about this on TA. Would love to hear more!
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Old Sep 10th, 2014, 11:49 AM
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I haven't been on either an early-morning tour or a Friday night visit, but here are another few points to consider.

On the Friday night visit, you have the choice of visiting on your own or taking a guided tour. On the early morning visit, you have to take a guided tour.

The Museums are open from 7 to 11 on the Friday evening, which gives you four hours free of large crowds. On the early morning visit, you have to step lively to see what you want to see before the hordes arrive.
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Old Sep 10th, 2014, 12:52 PM
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We did the Vatican Under The Stars in May 2014 and it was great. Only place that was a little crowded was the Sistine Chapel, but it wasn´t terrible and we were able to get seats easily. Otherwise there were several rooms that had only few people or none at all.
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Old Sep 10th, 2014, 10:13 PM
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We went last Friday night - and it certainly wasn't crowded. We did prebook - and that was the longest line, but once inside there was never any feeling of crowds - even in the Sistine - if you waited afew minutes you could get a seat along the wall.
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Old Sep 11th, 2014, 10:03 AM
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bvlenci--your points are spot on. Thank you for helping me to clarify.
babelic and Demon22---exactly the input I've been hoping for! I realize it won't be empty, but words like "never any feeling of crowds" is music to my ears. Did either one of you happen to notice the Happy Hour buffet going on in the courtyard? I've read one positive comment about that on Tripadvisor and am wondering if it's worth adding.

Also---we'll be looking for lunch and something to do for the couple of hours downtime between the Scavi tour and the nightime visit---any suggestions near the Vatican/St.Peter's area?

Thanks!
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Old Sep 11th, 2014, 01:34 PM
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I just found this recent review that includes the happy hour

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...ity_Lazio.html
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Old Sep 11th, 2014, 01:53 PM
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Oh - I didn't see you already read one positive comment on tripadvisor - It's probably the same one I posted above.
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Old Sep 11th, 2014, 01:55 PM
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I was there in June (so, high season) and it was great. Don't worry about it, really. As others mentioned, some sections will be closed off. Still, you wouldn't have attempted to see it all in a couple of hours, so it's not a big deal.

Not sure what day you're going, but be aware that, if you are into classical music, the Vatican also hosts concerts some Fridays. Here's the link: http://mv.vatican.va/1_CommonFiles/p..._programma.pdf

As for food, either for lunch or dinner, the best Roman pizza (al taglio) is relatively nearby. It's called Pizzarium. You shouldn't leave Rome without going here.

If you want to venture a bit further away, Caffeteria dei Gracchi is a small, non-touristy place parallel to Cola di Rienzo. It has the added virtue that it's close to Gelateria dei Gracchi.

As for the buffet, I was with kids so the price wasn't unreasonable. In addition to cheeses and cold cuts they had porchetta. Though cold at that point, it was tasty. So, not the worst option but Bonci's pizza masterpieces would be miles more satisfying.

For something else to do, I'd say you can go to Mercato Trionfale.
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Old Sep 11th, 2014, 02:15 PM
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amenadeo were you there for one of the concerts? I was looking for info on this a while back. Your description of the buffet does not sound like it would suffice for a light dinner? My only reservation about getting Friday night happy hour tix at this point is that my husband will be hungry and therefore cranky. I know we can grab more to eat after exiting but he will want at least a substantial snack during the hours we'd typically be having dinner.
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Old Sep 11th, 2014, 10:58 PM
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Hi limmy, Sadly, I was there the very week they didn't have a concert. The programs vary so you should factor in what they are showing. For instance, in October, I wouldn't have necessarily cared for the Oct. 4 Liszt program but I would have definitely gotten a ticket for the Oct. 11 Mahler/Brahms piano quartets.

The buffet was satisfying and it's all-you-can-eat. There are smaller things like olives and and tomatoes, little sandwiches with cold cuts, and as I said, cheese and porchetta. I think your husband will have no problem.
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Old Sep 12th, 2014, 05:20 AM
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Thanks amanadeo. I've searched high & low for the info you've given me, this is a huge help. The 11th is the Friday we'll be in Rome.
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Old Sep 12th, 2014, 08:35 AM
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BMK. Thanks for the information.
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Old Sep 12th, 2014, 01:34 PM
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amenadeo---just what I was looking for! I wish we could be there for one of the concerts, but no such luck. It does sound like the buffet may work well for us, esp. after having pizza for lunch. This has made me hungry NOW! Thanks!
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