Vatican assistance

Jan 21st, 2016, 09:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 21
Vatican assistance

Hi all,
Thanks everyone for all your assistance in planning our trip so far.
My wife and I have slotted Friday April 8th as primarily our Vatican day on our upcoming trip.
What suggestions do you have that would reduce the time spent standing in line? Is it as simple as ordering tickets online ( I believe this is possible ? Do we need to join a tour to skip the lines or are we able to tour independently?
We certainly appreciate any and all suggestions.
The Simpsons
surfpeace is offline  
Jan 21st, 2016, 09:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I think you would need to read up on options available at the Vatican.

The most simplistic way to see is that there are two separate visits.

1. The Basilica. No charge and no reservation if not on tour, but I would enter well before 9am to be ahead of mass of group tours. The line is at the security check. If I visit the Basilica with someone visiting Rome for the first time, I usually end the visit by 9am and go up the cupola (fee for this one) afterwards.

2. The Vatican Museum, which includes the Sistine Chapel. For this one, get a timed reservation by going to the official web site. The ticket queue to get in is usually out of this world.

If your are interested in in-depth tours, there are not just one but a bewildering array of tours combining various parts of the Vatican.

Also, there can be special events impacting the time the public can visit the Basilica. Visit the official Vatican site as you get closer to your visit to make sure it is open for visit. It is best if you have an alternate plan if have to change the day of your visit. Even without major special events, various parts of the Basilica are often closed for different services. The Baldacchino, for example may not be accessible if there is a service going on in that section of the Basilica. I have been able to visit all parts of the Basilica only once.
greg is offline  
Jan 21st, 2016, 09:51 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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You will need advance entry tickets for the museum (and may want a tour versus just the audio guide - you need to look at tthe web site and decide).

If you want to see the Scavi (crypt) you will have to get timed ticket far in advance.

You can get it at any time (unless there is some special event) St Peter's Basilica, the Treasury, and the climb up to the Dome/roof.

All of these will take up most of a day - but if you have time check out the Castel Sant'Angelo on the way back to central Rome.
nytraveler is offline  
Jan 21st, 2016, 01:29 PM
Join Date: Feb 2015
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This is your landing page to book skip the line tickets for the Vatican Museums.

Link # 2 is just admission. You walk to the front of the long, long line outside and enter via a door for skip the line tickets. There will still be a wait for a security check/bag screen and you need to wait at a window inside for your barcode ticket which lets you through the turnstiles, but these waits are minimal (compared with the people you will pass outside).

If you want admission AND a tour, then you need Link # 3

It's too late for a Scavi tour booking - you need to ask for tickets 6 months in advance to have any chance.
Blueeyedcod is offline  
Jan 21st, 2016, 02:26 PM
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<< It's too late for a Scavi tour booking - you need to ask for tickets 6 months in advance to have any chance.>>

It doesn't hurt to try, you just never know!

I thought it was a pretty amazing tour, so well worth trying to get tickets.
joannyc is online now  
Jan 21st, 2016, 02:55 PM
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Link for Scavi tour reservations. Not sure if this is part of the OP's plans - but as you say, you never know - good luck.
Blueeyedcod is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2016, 05:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 21
Really appreciate everyone's input. We'll book the skip the line tickets once we are 60 days out.
surfpeace is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2016, 06:07 PM
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Just so you understand, you get a voucher for a ticket at the Vatican Museum if you pay for reservation on line.

This voucher allows you to get in the reservation line.

Once you go through security, you still have to line up like everyone else at a ticket kiosk to trade your voucher for an admission ticket.

I agree that the lines to get into St. Peter's are an absolute nightmare after 10 AM. Go early.

Keith and I once stayed at a hotel across the street from the Vatican Museum. There was never much of a line after 1 PM.

You have to pay extra to take the elevator up to Michaelangelo's dome, by the way. The elevator down is free.

Pepper_von_snoot is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2016, 07:17 PM
Join Date: Feb 2015
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Re the dome - The elevator only takes you to the rooftop/mezzanine level (where the statues of the saints sit and ponder the square below) - the rest of the hike up the dome is on foot and very challenging for anyone who is unfit or claustrophobic. I've done the climb a few times but only in winter - I can't imagine how hot it would get in there in summer.
Blueeyedcod is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2016, 11:32 PM
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 106
Another consideration - which shouldn't deter you at all, more just as a general awareness - is the Jubilee of Mercy that is currently running now. My friends who live in Rome say they haven't noticed as many pilgrims as they'd have thought would be there, but it's also low season and you'll be there just after the Easter octave and the Feast of Divine Mercy (April 3) which will see more pilgrims/tourists.

The main, unusual attraction for the Jubilee in the area of St. Peter's will be the large Porta Santa (Holy Door) which is the special door only opened during Jubilee Years. You'll also see one open at the three other major basilicas. To walk through St. Peter's Holy Door, pilgrims have to come to Castel Sant'Angelo and then there's a pathway to follow to get to the Porta Santa. I'll be going through St. Peter's door in about 3 weeks so after that I'd be able to speak better as to how that might impact someone who's just in the area making a visit to the basilica, the museums, etc. But you'll still be able to enter through the normal doors.

If you like to be overly cautious, you could keep the Jubilee of Mercy website in mind to check for any events that might be added. The major ones seems to be up there and there's no event scheduled for April 8th so my guess is that you're in the clear for any kind of unusual crowd-drawing event.

I second greg's comment about getting there early - the basilica opens at 7am and if you get there that early usually the only other people you'll see are priests and worshipers at Mass in the various side chapels and maybe a handful of other travelers walking through the basilica. I prefer the peaceful quiet to enjoy the space rather than the noisier afternoon packed with groups. The early morning hike up to the dome after a morning visit to the sanctuary would be a perfect capstone too (I've also only done it in winter when it was delightfully cool and relatively uncrowded).

Enjoy your time there!
ducinaltum is offline  
Jan 24th, 2016, 01:28 PM
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Thanks all. Almost time to start counting the remaining sleeps...
surfpeace is offline  
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