Vatican Museum and St. Peter's

Old Mar 1st, 2003, 10:33 AM
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Vatican Museum and St. Peter's

I'm trying to figure out what we're going to be doing in Rome while saving my feet for essential walking. Reading about the Vatican Museum, it is unclear to me whether there is an exit near the Sistine Chapel or whether you have to walk all the way back to the entrance. If there is an exit near the Sistine Chapel, can you easily get to St. Peter's after visiting the museum? Any strategies to share?
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 10:46 AM
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Yes, you have to exit through the main entrance but after viewing the Sistine Chapel you go through a different set of long corridors to reach the entrance/exit. Therefore, you will still have the long walk around the Vatican Walls to get back to the Basilica.
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 12:42 PM
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You can go out the "Group" exit at the end of the Sistine Chapel opposite where you came in. It lets you out just feet from the main entrance to the Vatican. I know it's marked Groups but there was no one there keeping watch....and I can't take credit for the secret, it was in Rick Steves' book.
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 12:50 PM
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One word of caution when you are visiting St. Peters and The Vatican. I was carrying my small Swiss army knife in my bag (always keep it handy for those wine and cheese picnics that we stop for during a day of sightseeing). The Swiss Guards search bags before allowing entrance and when they saw the knife they would not let me enter. It was not even possible to enter and then leave the bag in a baggage check room like other museums. Since our hotel was near the Colosseum we decided to just return the next day, leaving the knife back at the hotel. If that had been our last day in Rome we would have missed out on seeing St. Peters and the Sistine Chapel.
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 01:05 PM
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The Swiss Army took your Swiss Army knife? I see no problem. It seems to have had their name on it!
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 02:39 PM
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Thanks, I knew I'd find the answer here. Looked in about five different guide books. I thought I had read somewhere that there was an exit closer to St. Peter's, but I couldn't find it now that I needed it.
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Old Mar 1st, 2003, 11:26 PM
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Thanks for bringing up the knife thing, I would have had the swiss army knife in my pocket.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 05:41 AM
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The "back exit" is very handy. You end up in the narrow alley between the Sistine and the Basiilica. Close to the the queue for the Dome, the Baggage check and the all important souvenir shop. While nobdoy watches the door, there is a guard out in the corridor and down the steps. I would try to tail allng with a group if at all possible.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 07:31 AM
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The last two times we visited the Sistine Chapel, there were two guards stationed at that exit letting no one through. I don't think you can count on using it.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 08:02 AM
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I didn't see a sign saying 'groups' it was just marked exit. We got out no problem. It was a master stroke, I couldn't face another half hour walk back to the entrance and couldn't believe where we ended up.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 09:00 AM
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I learned about the group exit from
someone else who posted the tip on this forum about 2 yrs ago. When you get ready to exit the S. Chapel you will go through a door in a wall that divides the main part of the Chapel into two parts. The normal exit is to the left when you get on the other side of the wall. The tour group exit is to the far right hand corner when you get on the other side of the wall. It is marked w. some sort of sign indicating it is for tour groups; don't recall the exact wording.
Just wait until a group starts to exit, fall in behind/with them, walk down the stairs and you come out almost right at the front of St. Peters; you actually
emerge where the line forms to go to the cupola.
If there are guards (as there were when we used it) don't select a tour group in which you clearly would stand out. We are Caucasian, Sr. citizens, so we avoided a student group and an Oriental group and walked out w. a group of older German tourists.

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Old Mar 2nd, 2003, 10:01 AM
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I'd like to get back to the knife thing. Do the guards check pockets and such or just bags and back packs?
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Old Mar 3rd, 2003, 01:17 PM
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Just a tip. Be sure to eat in the cafeteria under the Vatican Museum. It is air conditioned and cheap compared to the restaurants nearby! Have fun. We loved St. Peter's
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Old Mar 4th, 2003, 10:33 AM
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Regarding my Swiss army knife, the entrance to St. Peter's was roped off and you had to stand in line to get in. The guards asked everyone to open their purse, backpack, etc. As is typical in that sort of situation, some guards just glanced inside, some dug inside and looking more thoroughly. . The guard checking my bag found the knife in the bottom and refused entry to me. They also had airport style metal detector wands so you would get stopped if it was in a pocket My knife is only about 3 inches long but I guess they are still afraid you could damage something with that.
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