Question about Vatican and St. Peter's

May 28th, 2007, 11:13 AM
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Question about Vatican and St. Peter's

We will be in Rome in early June - it is coming up fast. We have an evening tour with a group where we will tour a few rooms of the Vatican Museum and then end up in the Sistine Chapel. I am very excited because I understand that there won't be many people there at that time.

My question is, we would like to return the next day to see St. Peter's Basilica. Are there tour headphones available for that or do you need to hire a tour guide in order to learn about the art and tombs in St. Peter's? Does anyone recommend a tour guide for 2 hours at St. Peter's?

gopack is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 12:09 PM
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Yes you can rent audioguides for St. Peter's. Bring a driver's license, or some other form of picture ID, since you will need to leave it at the audioguide desk when you do your walkabout.

You can also take tours - there was a free one leaving when we went to get our audioguides - we decided to go it on our own...but now thinking next time we will go with a guide.

Have a lovely time!
camelbak is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 12:42 PM
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Thanks for the info. So in addition to the audioguides, the Basilica also has free docents?? That is great news.

Anyone have an idea of how long the line is to get into St. Peter's?
gopack is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 12:47 PM
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I went into St Peter's twice a few weeks ago. The first time (9AM-ish) there was no wait. The next day I went in around 10AM and waited about 10 minutes. I am sure the crowds build as the day progresses.
vivi is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 12:52 PM
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There is no line at all to enter St. Peter's. BTW - great idea to split the museum and Basilica between two days - a very common mistake is to try to do both in one outing. Also, read up on St. Peter's before you go. Wikipedia has some very interesting tidbits.
bardo1 is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 01:05 PM
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I have to comment about the possibility of a line to enter St. Peter's Basilica.

We were there in June and the line snaked around the Piazza S. Petro right to the entrance on Via d. Conciliazione. It was about 9 a.m., and it was a hot day, but thankfully the line moved quickly - about 20 minutes to the entrance of the basilica. Oh, yes, there was security prior to entering.
i_am_kane is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 01:12 PM
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Skip the tour guide. Buy Rick Steves Rome book and follow his guided tour of the interior of St. Peter's. You'll learn plenty, all you really need to know. Be sure to arrive early and plan to climb inside Michelangelo's glorious dome to the top of the cupola. The view of Rome and the Vatican from above is priceless.
Santogaetano is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 01:24 PM
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You sound like people who are interested in art and history and like the detailed information given by tour guides or audio headsets. If so, get a better guidebook than Rick Steves', whose accuracy on many things leaves a lot to be desired. The Blue Guide to Rome is very detailed, as is Georgina Masson's "Companion Guide to Rome." For those interested in churches Fodor's "Holy Rome" is excellent but out of print. You can find it used however.
Grinisa is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 02:20 PM
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You absolutely cannot assume that there will be no lines to get into St Peter's Basilica. All you need to do it hit it at about the same time as several cruise ship groups, and you will wait in line to go through security.

We almost missed our Scavi tour because we weren't expecting any lines (we were there the day previously and just walked right in, at just about the same time of day).
GoAway is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 03:26 PM
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Wow, thanks everyone for your replies. I guess we will get there as early as possible to try to beat the crowds and I think we will plan on using the audio phones.

gopack is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 03:30 PM
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And last May ~11am the line the *very long*, it even doubled back on itself at one point as it snaked thru the Piazza. Regards, Walter
ParadiseLost is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 03:47 PM
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There can be lines. Plan for them and hope to luck out.

Do NOT try to wear shorts. I knew that and tried anyway on a hot day in 2000. Had to leave my wife and buy a pair of paper painter's pants at the Catholic book store with ROMA on one leg. My wife is still laughing about that one. They were $12.00 and tore when I bent down to take a picture.

Do go to the top of the dome. Gets a little tricky the last few yards as you climb inside the dome....but well worth the trip!
traveldawg is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 04:22 PM
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Just returned from Rome last week. A few commments about lines (or no lines) we experienced at St. Peters Basilica - the line to get through security check was long on both days we visited. Once through security, we had 3 choices: first, go directly into St Peters (no line); second, go to the Grottos underneath St. Peters (no line) or third, get into a very long line for the Dome atop St. Peters (at least 1 hour wait to purchse a ticket). Since we did the Scavi tour first, our guide let us into St. Peters through the Grottos and we walked up into the Basillica.
We found Rick Steves book and the audioguide perfect for our visit to St. Peters, about 4 hours total at our own pace
I agree with other comments about seeing the Vatican Museum on a separate day - we waited 2.5 hours in line just to purchase tickets and then 4 hours inside the museum.
gohedwig is offline  
Sep 14th, 2007, 06:13 PM
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jmjo is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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