Holy Week open/closed

Mar 3rd, 2006, 12:44 PM
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Holy Week open/closed

I am having difficulty getting specific information on Holy Week events at the Vatican to determine if St. Peter's basilica and/or the Museums & Sistine Chapel are open or closed on April 11, 12, and 13. So far I have determined that the Pope is having a penance service or mass on Tuesday morning. Will the basilica be open in the afternoon? Is the Vatican Musuem open while his Wednesday morning audience is going on? I am having trouble accessing the Vatican.va web site. If you live there and have any info, I'd appreciate it.
DJPoint is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 12:51 PM
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According to this, the Museums are open regular hours through Saturday and closed on Easter Sunday and Monday.

Entrace 8:45-15:20. Exit at 16:45.


I've been interested in this question because I'm planning to be there on Good Friday.

I was looking at a page that claims that the Pope has a service in the Sistine Chapel on Good Friday. That would be quite bad for me -- I assume it'd be closed. But the webpage doesn't say so, and I'd imagine that it would have. So I'm taking my chances.
111op is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 01:02 PM
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Hi DJ & 111,

The Sistene Chapel was closed on Palm Sunday when we were there years ago. I would imagine that if the Pope has a service there on Good Friday, it will be closed that day too. Don't expect the web site to give complete details! They are rather lax about those things.
Dayle is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 01:10 PM
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They do mention that the museums are closed on Easter Sunday & Monday, so there's some accuracy to the webpage. I'd imagine that part of the museums must at least be open on Good Friday. Anyway I have no choice, so I've to take a chance. I'll only be in Rome that day.

I'd expect most things to be open earlier that week (that doesn't help me, however).
111op is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 01:52 PM
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Liturgical Note

On Vatican site, CAPPELLA PAPALE doesn't mean the Sistine Chapel, Pope's private chapel or a chapel in St Peter's reserved for the Pope, but a peculiar Vatican description for a full liturgical rite presided by the Pope, with a choir, concelebrants, MC, acolytes and so on. It normally takes place at the Papal Altar under the canopy (if indoors) or at the altar set up on the steps in the piazza. On Good Friday, the Liturgy at 5 pm takes place at the Papal Altar, and Way of the Cross at the Colosseum at 9.15 pm.
Alec is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 02:01 PM
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I took a Vatican Museums tour (4.5 hours)with Context Rome and it was absolutely excellent. In case you are interested, they answer e mail promptly and should know if the Sistene Chapel will be open that day for you!

I hope you get to see it. I finally made it on my third trip and it's amazing. The detailed advance information from our guide (a Rennaisance Art Phd and professor) really helped me appreciate it.

Buon viaggio!
Dayle is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 02:10 PM
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Thanks Alec. I don't know how accurate the information here, which is where I took what I said from:


Scroll down to "Good Friday in Rome."

"In the afternoon, the last Miserere is chanted in the Sistine Chapel, on which occasion the crowding is very great."

etc. etc.

By the way, can you elaborate on the Stations of the Cross ceremony? While not Christian, I'm interested in it. The webpages I found online say that this takes place at 8 pm and the procession starts from the Colosseum.

Hi Dayle, thanks for the suggestion of Context Rome. My time in Rome is really short, so I don't think that I can do a 4.5 hour tour. However it's good advice to e-mail them to check on the status of the museum, which I'll probably do.

I was last in the Sistine Chapel in 1999, so I'm looking forward to seeing it. Of course if I can't do it that's too bad. I'll just have to go back to Rome again in the future. Fortunately I've seen it once. I'm planning to buy a few books to read before going again.

111op is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 02:16 PM
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'The Book of Days' is a Victorian compilation describing ceremonies current at that time. Alas, most of those solemn rites have been swept away after Vatican II.
Alec is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 02:20 PM
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Ah! Thanks for clearing that up. That's the danger of the web -- there's so much information, but I guess someone needs to digest and synthesize it correctly.
111op is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 02:22 PM
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The Way of the Cross starts at 9.15 pm, but you should be there hours before to reserve your (standing) place if you want to get any kind of view. The last Pope couldn't carry the cross personally for some years and just presided from his chair, but I'd expect the new Pope to take a full part, assisted by people representing different walks of life. The Pope carries a large cross and stops at 14 stations set up at the Colosseum, with prayers, songs and readings.
Alec is online now  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 02:27 PM
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I don't think that I've time to stand for hours. Isn't there a procession that goes to the Palatine? I guess I'm a little confused about how this ceremony is set up -- whether it all takes place at the Colosseum.

111op is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 02:14 AM
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For anyone's future reference, yes you do have to get there REALLY early if you want to get any view of the pope at all. We were there this April. It was scheduled to start at 9.15pm, we were there at 7.30pm and the crowd at the bottom (right outside the Colosseum) was already too large.

So we waited on top of the Metro exit instead, as I read elsewhere that it would give a good view. Got a good overall view of the atmosphere, it's lovely when the sky is dark and the candles are lit. But no sign of the pope from up there. A lot of it would be blocked by a big tree.

By 10.30pm they weren't even up to the last few stations yet so the whole thing does take quite a while. Nevertheless, it's a good opportunity to mingle with some locals.

Get take away for dinner and eat while you wait - you'll have plenty of time! And if you will have a pair of binoculars with you for the Sistine Chapel, it'll come in handy too.
perth2europe is offline  
May 22nd, 2006, 10:52 PM
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I should probably add to this thread since I contributed to it. No problems at the Vatican Museums on Good Friday. The website was correct -- basically everything was open.

However I missed St. Peter's. The Pope, I think, was giving a special service. There were long lines to get in, and with my limited time, I skipped.

Pantheon was also open on Good Friday. It was closed to a private prayer only sometime in the afternoon (though the doors were open). As promised, it closed at 7 (or was it 7:30) that day, and I've no trouble visiting later that day.
111op is offline  

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