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sapphire43 Mar 16th, 2007 09:59 AM

Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's
I was wondering if it's possible to just visit the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's without doing a formal tour - just enter and go at your own pace. I don't want to get locked into a 4-hour tour. thanks!

PalenQ Mar 16th, 2007 10:04 AM

Yes...very easy...self-guided tours of Vatican with Walkman at ticket window or just follow the flow. If mainly wanting to see Sistine Chapel follow the marked shortcut route there as this is usually new the end of the way visitors are led thru the vast museum

St Peter's go with a guidebook at least.

note: in January there were very long lines to get into St Peter's thru security. Vatican can have long lines as well - arrive early.

saps Mar 16th, 2007 10:05 AM

Yes. You can visit St Peter's on your own. It is free.

You get to the Sistine Chapel by going into the Vatican Museums (for a entrance fee). You are not required to do a tour (extra charge) although many people do.

nbujic Mar 16th, 2007 10:07 AM

yes, we did it in 2003 ( unless they changed the rules). The line ups were huge in the morning but later in the afternoon took about 10 minutes wait.
To get to the SC you have to go through the Vatican Museum ( fantastic).
Visit the Basilica after or some other time.

annhig Mar 16th, 2007 10:11 AM

hi, sapphire,

like a surprising number of OPs, [ref the numerous other posts on similar subjects] you are under the misapprehansion that St. Peter's and the sistine chapel are part of the same building.

in fact, st. peter's is a completely edifice, apart from a few interconnecting bits, including a very handy exit from the sistine chapel which gives access to st. peter's without having to walk all the way back round the vatican walls and negotiate security again.

the only way to access the sistine chapel, which is part of the vatican [at least for us lesser mortals, it's different if you're the pope or a cardinal, I assume] is to trapse through the vatican museum, which with or without a tour will take at least 2 hours, even if you follow the signs "to the chapel" all the way without any deviations.

Access to st. peter's is completely free, but may be impeded by the security queue to enter. once you're in, you can stay as long as you like, until they close. but there is no access to the vatican from st. peter's. for that, you have to walk all the way round the walls to the entrance at the north of the vatican, that is, if you don't meet the queue snaking its way back round the walls towards st. peter's.

the system for getting into the museums has changed recently; there are a number of threads on this on this forum.

regards, ann

sapphire43 Mar 16th, 2007 03:19 PM

No I know that the Sistine Chapel is part of the Vatican Museum and completely separate from St. Peter's. I was actually there over 20 years ago, though I don't remember much. I only wanted to find out if I can do the museum without a tour and now know the answer is yes. But another question, can you reserve tickets in advance just to enter the museum but not do the tour, and thus, bypass the crowds, or are the advance reservations only for guided tours? My concern is with limited time I don't want to blow a whole day at hte Vatican - my fiance wants to see the Sistine Chapel and some other parts of the museum, and the Basilica but we don't want to spend the whole day there.

travelhorizons Mar 16th, 2007 03:25 PM

The lines are very long at the Vatican. You really have two ways to approach this.

(1) Don't show up early morning, because there are monster lines. Apparently they thin out by noontime.

(2) Do reserve a short 1 hour tour of the Vatican Museum. It really is worth it, and it lets you bypass the lines.

The Sistine Chapel is at the end of the tour... From there, you can go directly into Saint Peter's without having to deal with the separate queue to enter the cathedral. This link takes you to a google search for "bypass Vatican queue":

annhig Mar 17th, 2007 04:15 AM

hi, sapphire,

didn't mean to sound as if I was teaching my granny, etc.,

The ticketing system at the vatican has changed very recently - ie since jan 2007. It seems to involve more guided tours, and less access for people who just turn up to buy tickets.

You need to find out what it is before you try to make plans- hence my suggestion that you search this forum for recent posts on the subject.

regards, ann

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