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Airedaleamiga Oct 4th, 2015 11:24 AM

Seeing the Vatican in Rome
We will be in Rome from October 30-Nov. 1 after a cruise. There are four of us and one couple really wants to see the Vatican. Is their a tour or tour guide agency anyone could recommend? Since we are only there a short period of time, we don't want to wait in lines to get in. Also, any advice on visiting the Borghese Gardens?
Thank you. I'm wondering if there are special events due to the fact that it is All Saint's Day weekend that weekend.

denisea Oct 4th, 2015 12:20 PM

One idea is to book a Vatican museum tour with a company ( I loved Walks of Italy). That will get you into the museums and you can see them, including the Sistine chapel, and exit to see St Peter's basilica. The tour allows you fast entry ( no waiting in line to buy tickets). If Stuart is the guide, he will take you straight to the Sistine chapel to see it when it is practically empty. Worth it. He works his way back to the front to see the museums and you exit through a much more crowded Sistine at the end. You can go to the basilica from there.

annhig Oct 4th, 2015 12:41 PM

You can buy tickets direct from the Vatican, with or without a guided tour:

you can rent an audio guide when you get there, but if you do, you will have to exit the same way you go in and not avail yourselves of the back [group] exit to the Sistine Chapel, which gives you access into St Peter's without the long walk back round the Vatican walls and having to go through the security checks again.

and here's a link to all the events at the museums of Rome during the time you'll be there:

bvlenci Oct 4th, 2015 12:53 PM

By "the Vatican", does your friend mean St. Peter's Basilica or the Vatican Museums, or both? As others have said above, you can skip the lines at the Vatican Museums by buying tickets online from the official website. They also have a "breakfast at the Vatican Museums" offer which lets you enter ahead of the hordes. It's overpriced, but might still be cheaper than one of the private tours that gives you early entrance.

St. Peter's Basilica is free to enter. The queue there is for a security check, and there's no way to avoid it other than going there very early (it opens at 7 AM) or in the late afternoon. (It closes at 6 PM in the winter, although I'm not sure when they switch to the winter hours.) In low season there's less likely to be a queue, but there is never any guarantee about that. All Saints weekend is right on the border between high and low season.

The Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays and major feast days, and All Saints is a major feast day, which is also a Sunday this year. St. Peter's Basilica is open every day of the year, but access is limited when there's a major papal event going on in the square.

denisea Oct 4th, 2015 01:14 PM

Forgot....are you just wanting to visit Borghese Gardens or the gallery? The gallery has timed entries and you can reserve ahead online. Beautiful sculptures....highly recommend.

nytraveler Oct 4th, 2015 04:36 PM

Borghese gardens are public and you can enter at will. to enter the gallery you require advance timed tickets - get as far in advance as possible for choice of time and you must turn up on time or lose your spot.

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