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Ufficio Scavi/Vatican Plan Advise


Jun 20th, 2013, 01:38 PM
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Ufficio Scavi/Vatican Plan Advise

I have confirmed my reservation for the Ufficio Scavi tour in the AM in early October. My question is to what I should expect after the tour? I imagine since I am already at the Vatican I could go to the museums and onto the Sistine Chapel. Has anyone done this tour? Could you share your day's itinerary with me? I wanted to maximize my time at the Vatican since I would already be there. Any advice is welcome.
chadwick_bearden is offline  
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Jun 20th, 2013, 02:53 PM
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The tour is in the St Peter's section of the Vatican - not the Museums - which are on the other side (many blocks away).

I would assume you would want to do St Peter's (including the treasury and the dome) also in the morning and then head for the museums after lunch.

To see everything will be a full day.
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Jun 20th, 2013, 03:28 PM
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You can usually go up into the Basilica straight from the tour of the "Petrine" (we still don't know for certain) excavations, through the subterranean level where recent Popes are buried. You might find the behaviour round JPII's tomb distasteful.

If you've not toured the Basilica before, it'll certainly take you the rest of the morning to visit it. It's difficult to find anywhere nearby serving decent food, and close to impossible finding anywhere serving food that's value for money, but only you know how important a decent lunch is to you.

From the exit from the Basilica to the Museums entrance is more or less a 30 min walk (and even in October, it's an unpleasant 30 mins) - and even if the only thing you want to see in the Museums is the Sistine Chapel, it's another 30 mins from the Museum entrance to the Michelangelo frescoes.

There IS a fast route from the Sistine Chapel back into the Basilica. There's a sung Latin Mass in the Basilica on weekdays at 1700 - one of the few places in Italy where this happens. If you're not accustomed to sung Latin Masses, leaving the complex without attending one is almost as appalling an act of cultural vandalism as visiting Paris without eating proper food or visiting London without seeing a properly produced play or hearing properly sung ecclesiastical music.
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Jun 20th, 2013, 03:52 PM
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We had an early morning visit and just thought it was the best part of our entire trip. Our friends, on the other hand, had the tour guide after us and were not as impressed. I think it does really depend on the guide you get. We did St. Peter's afterwards and climbed the dome. A great view worth the effort. In the later afternoon we had a group tour of the Sistine Chapel and museums. It was a long day. I wish I had broken it up into two days. Have a great trip!
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Jun 20th, 2013, 07:05 PM
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It will make for a long day, but is well worth it, IMHO.

Most people will walk right up into St. Peter's after the Scavi tour. Mostly because this lets you skip the long security lines out front that all other tourists must go through.

However, in my opinion, the Sistine Chapel looks best in morning light. Especially in October. If you waited until late afternoon to see it, you will not get its' full brilliance.

That being said.. I would do the Scavi and then head directly over to the Museums entrance. Once you get in- head straight to the Sistine Chapel first, so you can still view it at best light. (Due to the only windows being at the top, and the lay of the chapel, once the sun is past noon, you have no direct light to the chapel.)

Then, go back into the museums and spend all the time you want there. They have a decent café, so if you don't stop for food sometime between Scavi and museum, you can at least get something to eat here.

You could do St. Peter's itself before your Scavi. It opens at 7am. If your tour is at 9, you'll have plenty of time.

Have a wonderful trip!
sarge56 is offline  
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Jun 21st, 2013, 05:25 AM
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Thank you for all of the great advice. It sounds like I may want to split my time in the Vatican over two days. I'm sure I can find plenty of other things to do after the Scavi. This will allow me to catch the Sistine in the morning light without having to rush around.
chadwick_bearden is offline  
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Jun 21st, 2013, 03:07 PM
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chadwick, the Castel Sant'Angelo is just 10 minutes walk from the Vatican. That is a worthwhile endeavor on one of your two days, fyi!
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Jun 21st, 2013, 03:34 PM
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chadwick - we spiit our time in the Vatican city between two days on our last visit.

the first day was a scavi tour followed by St. Peters and then the museums.

the 2nd day we got to St. Peter's particularly early so as to be at the front of the queue to go up the Dome. we got there at about 9.15 and there was no queue at all; by 10.30 when we came out the queue was right across the piazza in front of the Basilica.
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Jun 21st, 2013, 03:51 PM
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What I did, after my Scavi tour finished around 10 am in the grotto, was to spend a little time looking around the basilica and then walked over to the entrance to Vatican Museums a good 1 km away, stopping en-route for pizza slices to arrive around 11 am. Then I spent the next 3 hours inside, with a good hour in the Sistine Chapel (this was January, still busy but wasn't packed). I returned to St Peter's the next day really early, soon after 7 am, and spent a couple of hours before tour groups began arriving.
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