Vatican Evening Tour

Nov 13th, 2019, 06:00 AM
  #1  
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Vatican Evening Tour

Hi All,

Has anyone done this evening tour and if so, do you have any feedback on the tour and/or Walks of Italy? It looks to get good reviews. I'm trying to decide between doing a daytime tour of the Vatican/Sistine Chapel or this night time tour. I thought the night time tour looked like a different way to see the Vatican/Sistine Chapel and perhaps less crowded than daytime tours..

https://www.walksofitaly.com/vatican...an-night-tour/

Shelley

Last edited by swanner; Nov 13th, 2019 at 06:01 AM. Reason: correct text
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Nov 13th, 2019, 07:50 AM
  #2  
 
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I haven't done this but it looks like it might be a nice way to tour the museum. I see it doesn't include going to St. Peter's Basilica.
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Nov 13th, 2019, 08:07 AM
  #3  
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Hello KTtravel,

Thanks for your note. I hadn't noticed that St Peter's wasn't included so thanks for pointing that out. Perhaps we can add that on to the tour - on our own, before or after. I'll have to look into that.

Shelley
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Nov 13th, 2019, 08:18 AM
  #4  
 
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It will be interesting to read the responses. The rude crowds in the Sistine Chapel truly spoiled the experience for me and this was in October - not summer crowds.

I do wish I had taken the garden tour. Not sure if that is of interest to you. I'll add it on my return.
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Nov 13th, 2019, 08:56 AM
  #5  
J62
 
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Last time I was in Rome, early June a few years ago i was disappointed at the huge crowds in St. Peter's. Having visited the basilica without crowds in the past I had no desire to fight the mosh pit hordes and simply walked out. Hopefully you can find some time there when it's quieter.

During the daytime tour groups can exit the Sistine Chapel and funnel directly into St. Peters. You may want to check the basilica public hours to see if you can do that after an evening museum tour. Otherwise you can just visit beforehand. You have to go through a security line but it moves quickly.

As for the museum tour itself, I agree with the others that it seems like a good way to visit the museums IF (capital letters IF) you want to take the time to see the museums. The Sistine chapel is the last stop on the tour.
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Nov 13th, 2019, 09:13 AM
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I think it depends on summer vs. other months. We did a daytime tour last year, but this year we then did a Friday evening visit (without a tour) in October. It was most definitely way less packed, and even by the time we got to the Sistine Chapel (which we didn't hurry to get to, since our purpose this time was to linger in areas the tour didn't cover--like the modern art section) you could move around comfortably.

The disadvantage, if it's something you care about, is that the lighting is quite subdued. So, for instance, although it was nice to be able to stop and stare at the tapestries this time, it was considerably more dim. Ditto when looking at statues etc. I think if it's during the summer months it might be better, but we were glad we saw the Vatican Museums first in daylight (even with the crowds), and then again for the quieter evening visit. Obviously if your main objective is the Sistine Chapel it won't make a difference.

Last edited by PegS; Nov 13th, 2019 at 09:16 AM.
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Nov 13th, 2019, 10:21 AM
  #7  
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Hi Starrs - I did the full tour way back in 2005 and I know what you mean by the crowd. That's part of the reason I was thinking the night time tour might be more appealing; although I expect there may still be quite a few people even a little less people will be a bit of an improvement.

Shelley
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Nov 13th, 2019, 10:28 AM
  #8  
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J62 and PegS - thanks for your responses. All very helpful information. I'm going to look into seeing if it's possible to do an evening tour of just the Sistine Chapel and St Peters. I've gone through the Museum Tour already (albeit many years ago) and at that time, had a private (1:1) guide, so I may consider foregoing the Museums again.

Shelley
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Nov 13th, 2019, 11:11 AM
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Swanner, I'm pretty sure St. Peter's is closed in the evenings but if you do a private tour perhaps you can arrange something where hit St. Peter's before closing, then have a bit of a history lesson while making your way to the Vatican Museums for the nighttime opening?
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Nov 13th, 2019, 11:36 AM
  #10  
J62
 
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Personally I would not bother with a guided tour of St. Peterís. . I like the flexibility of setting my own pace and schedule.

I find it easier to wander ( with a plan) and to let my eyes be my guide.

you can read up ahead of time about the history and objects to see, or just enjoy being in the magnificent space without having to follow along with a guide.

Going on the roof is worthwhile. Going up the dome is also interesting.
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Nov 13th, 2019, 12:58 PM
  #11  
 
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A few years ago went to the Vatican Museums with my granddaughter on a Friday evening. It was the most pleasant visit I'd ever had at the Vatican Museums. The other times (four, I think) the crowds were insupportable. On the Friday evening openings, entrance is by reservation only, which greatly diminishes the crowding. In the future, I'd visit either on a Friday evening or on a Thursday in late January. Not all of the galleries are open for the Friday evening visits, but it's certainly not possible to see the whole museum in one visit anyway.

It's not required to do a tour for the evening visits. You can just reserve a time slot and buy normal entrance tickets.

St. Peter's Basilica is closed in the evening. You could try going just before closing on the day of your Friday evening visit to the Museums, but often there is still a long queue late in the day. I think the best time to visit the Basilica is shortly after it opens.
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Nov 13th, 2019, 02:31 PM
  #12  
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Hi bvlenci and J62 and Peg S - thanks again for taking the time to respond. Your information is very helpful. I dug around a bit more and it seems like the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel etc...are not open in the evening hours during the months of Nov/Dec/Jan so it seems we will not have the option of an evening tour since we will be in Rome in early Jan.

Compromising, I found something else that might be better than just an OPEN session with the masses (no pun intended), is this one:

https://citywonders.com/vatican-tour...l-early-access

Is anyone familiar with this tour company/tour? It would be available on a Thurs or Fri, during the days we would be in Rome. There are SO many choices, it's mind boggling to know which way to go.

J62: I understand what you mean about free-forming the St Peter's visit - unfortunately, finding a tour that hits the mark on all fronts, is harder to do in the month of Jan, it seems.
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Nov 14th, 2019, 12:49 AM
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The Vatican Museums themselves offer an early-entry option, with breakfast and audio guide.

https://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va...ita=175&step=2
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Nov 14th, 2019, 06:52 PM
  #14  
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hi bvlenci - thanks for your note. I saw the tours on the Vatican's website but what I wasn't clear on is the timing. If you do the breakfast at 7a or 7:15am, then I would guess the tour begins around 8a at which time the crowds start to arrive. I want to try to avoid the crowds as much as possible hoping to start the tour earlier ....does that make sense?

Shelley
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Nov 14th, 2019, 08:26 PM
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If the breakfast is anything like the Friday evening aperitivi, which I booked via the Vatican website with my sister and her family (first-timers to Rome) a couple of years ago, you can likely skip the breakfast and waltz right in.

AFAIK, unless you spend a ton of money (much more than $60, more like $400-$500) on a truly "private viewing" tour, the City Wonders tour you link is essentially the same as what's available during the Vatican's "special" opening hours.
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Nov 15th, 2019, 03:56 AM
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In any case the breakfast is a buffet, which shouldn't take more than 15-20 minutes. I would grab a cornetto e cappuccino, after all how bad can it be?

Afterwards you can tell us.

The first entries are at 9 AM, so you should miss the crowds, even if you linger over breakfast. Still, I would go, without too many stops, to the Sistine Chapel, and afterwards you can go back to see other galleries at your leisure.

There are two galleries that most people skip, that, in my opinion, should be the stars of the show. The Egyptian gallery is spectacular. My granddaughter, who is fascinated by ancient mythology, said she could have spent two weeks there. She was more impressed by that than by the Sistine Chapel. The other is the Etruscan gallery, which should be right next to the Egyptian gallery. It's recently been restructured, and I haven't seen it since. It's one of the galleries that weren't open on Friday evening.
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Nov 15th, 2019, 07:13 AM
  #17  
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Leely2 and bvlenci - Thank you - that answers my Q and makes the decision clear. Appreciate you guys spoon feeding me thru that

On another note, years ago (2005, I think?) I worked with Bob the Navigator on a trip to Italy and his recommendation was that a Tour was not necessary for anything but the Vatican. His advice is always solid and I would tend to agree with the exception of perhaps the Coliseum/Forum. I'm not sure if we should get a tour or not. Thoughts?
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Nov 15th, 2019, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by swanner View Post
I'm not sure if we should get a tour or not. Thoughts?
For what?

I'm not normally a tour person, but I do like "tours" that give me a chance to beat the crowds at a popular location. When I was in Delphi recently, I was glad we didn't sign up for a tour inside the gates. I liked going at my own pace. To even get into the Van Gogh museum, I had to book a semi-private tour and I ended up enjoying it, but a couple of hours of listening to the guide was enough for me. In Rome, I took a couple of tours, mainly to take advantage of the transportaton provided. I took a "Christian Rome" tour that visited Christian sights in Rome and I found it very interesting, even though it included the catacombs and prior I didn't plan to visit catacombs. We took a city lights night tour that was "meh" but a great (and economical) way to move through the city at night.

So for me, it's a mix. Where. Time of day. Need (access). How much interest I have in the focus of the tour.
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Nov 16th, 2019, 12:41 AM
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I have never felt the need of a tour at the Vatican. I always go with a good guide book, but an audio tour would probably serve, although I've never used one there. In the Museums, the tours skip some of my favorite things. I like to be able to linger in places that fascinate me, and with a tour you can't do that. In St. Peter's Basilica, a tour might be useful, but there are several free audio tours available to download.

I've also never felt the need of a tour at the Colosseum. There are plentiful informative signs in Italian and English, and it's not difficult to understand what you're seeing. Do read up on the history and background of the site. Most guide books have a good summary. The Blue Guide and the Michelin Green Guide are especially good.

The Roman Forum and Palatine Hill are totally another story. They are large and complex sites, with many layers of history and scarse signage. The ideal would be to have a private guide, who can construct an itinerary that matches your interests and background. If a private guide is not possible, a group tour would be better than nothing. I would prefer a tour that doesn't include the Colosseum, because inevitably they would give short shrift to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. These are by far more interesting than the Colosseum, which was, after all, just a stadium. To me, the Colosseum is an architectural wonder, but all those stories of gladiators and wild beasts are just show biz. The Roman Forum, on the other hand, was the center of power for one of history's greatest empires for almost 1000 years.

An excellent guide for any ancient site is Daniela Hunt of www.rome-tours.com .

Last edited by bvlenci; Nov 16th, 2019 at 12:44 AM.
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Nov 16th, 2019, 02:48 AM
  #20  
 
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The Vatican as a visit is a great experience to remember. Unique things to see. The tour inside the museum is really long depending on how much time you want to be there. Worth it for sure. The evening tour could be hassle-free due to reduced tourists.
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