Vatican Museums - Hell On Earth

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Mar 2nd, 2001, 08:12 AM
  #1
WH
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Vatican Museums - Hell On Earth

I just returned from Rome. Some of the most beautiful things you can see in Rome are the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Museums. And you better be prepared to pay the price of a living hell in order to see them. The Vatican Museum is a badly organized, severely overcrowded place. There is one entrace at one end, and only one exit way down at the other. They cram as many people as they can get through the doors into the museum, and then they section it off into a long, long series of narrow pathways. Worst of all is that for many of the areas, there is only one small door for everyone to pass through, so you get rooms crammed full of people all pressed together trying to get from one room to another. Is this your idea of a way to view art? Of course not. It was miserable, and after awhile, I became very claustrophobic from the crowds and crowding, but there was no way out! By the way, I went early on a Tuesday morning, and this situation had developed by the time I reached the Raphael rooms. The Vatican should realize that running their museum this way is a SIN!

By the way, the 'map' you can pick up at the information window at the entrance is utterly useless! It does an awful job (i.e. no job at all) of navigating you through the museum.
 
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Mar 2nd, 2001, 08:35 AM
  #2
Puck
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Perhaps if you get yourself elected Pope you can shut out all these hordes that want to see the Vatican treasures. Why share them?

Although, once you have your fill of them you could sell access like the Lincoln bedroom.
 
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Mar 2nd, 2001, 08:36 AM
  #3
Max
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WH:

I agree that the Vatican Museum is quite uncomfortable and perhaps it is not prepared to receive the thousands of visitors it receives daily.

However, you must consider the fact that at the beggining it wasn't conceived as a museum, it was the private papal collection of art and historic relics. I don't recall the year or the pope who ordered to open it to the public, but it was done with the goodwill of to share with everybody their collection.

As you migh observed there is not much to do there unless a whole new museum.

Fortunately for you you went in winter, you can imagine how awful would it be in summer.

 
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Mar 2nd, 2001, 08:47 AM
  #4
Eva
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If the museum is going to let that many people in at one time, they should re-design the building to accomodate them. Or they should let in a small group at one time. Imagine if there were a fire or other emergency? What chaos!! It's a disaster waiting to happen.
 
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Mar 2nd, 2001, 09:25 AM
  #5
lisa
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Thanks for the heads up. I had been there once before in winter and did not have this problem. We are stopping in Rome for 1 day during a cruise in summer and was planning on making the Vatican one of our stops. That would definitely bother me and with only 1 day in Rome, it is something to consider. For me personally, the claustrophobia situation with lack of escape is an issue .

 
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Mar 2nd, 2001, 09:36 AM
  #6
liz
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WH, it's too bad that you didn't enjoy your visit. It is one of the most amazing treasure troves of the world! I could not take my eyes off of room after room of masterpieces. We went in August so I do not feel for you at all. We made it through a 5 hour tour which was great, with 2 young girls, who also found it enjoyable. I was not there expecting to have rooms to myself and would not let crowds ruin my time there! The art took me away to another place without pointy elbows or people who do not believe in deodorant and I am thankful for that!
 
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Mar 2nd, 2001, 12:06 PM
  #7
earthling
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It's wonderful to have people on this earth as saintly as the prior poster, Liz.
For some of us, however, hordes can ruin an otherwise wonderful experience. We're not expecting to have the place to ourselves - just some breathing room & a chance to stand in awe.
Bless us, Oh,St.Liz, for we have sinned.
 
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Mar 2nd, 2001, 01:37 PM
  #8
Gerry
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One suggestion. Why can't they stay open longer hours to accomodate more people? Surely the increased admissions would cover additional costs. This would apply to other overpopular European museums and sights. Or is this just a silly American idea? I do appreciate the chance to see these things.
 
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Mar 2nd, 2001, 01:45 PM
  #9
Ger
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At least you got in WH ... I was there in November and was shocked to discover that museums only open half-days on Sat and not at all on Sun; the line-ups were horrendous and I just gave up and bought the book instead (not the same experience, I admit!). Obviously, as Gerry suggest, longer opening hours might help!

But in the meantime .... those of you who have been to Rome - is there ANY time of the year LESS busy than others when the museums are open.

Regards
 
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Mar 2nd, 2001, 04:48 PM
  #10
liz
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Hey Earthling, I am so honoured, no one ever has referred to me as saintly! I mearly go to Europe with an open mind that yes there will always be crowds, and live with it! Griping about the fact seems to be rather trivial in the grand scheme of things! Look at whats around you and enjoy. If you want some quiet time wander into a lesser known church or small hilltown. Relax you are on vacation.
 
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Mar 2nd, 2001, 05:16 PM
  #11
mf
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i'm not thrilled about crowds either but i do live in a very crowded city (NYC) and i know here, the best times to beat the crowds is in the mornings and towards the end of the day so i try to plan accordingly. I'm sure even in the vatican museum there are slower times. i will be there soon and will hit the museum right after breakfast. will it be less crowded then? in any case the last time i was there (almost 20 yrs ago) i was so taken by the sistine chapel that i didn't even notice if there were crowds.
 
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Mar 2nd, 2001, 05:24 PM
  #12
LINDA
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I HAVE TO AGREE. I FOUND THE ENTRANCE DIFFICULT TO FIND, AND THEN ONCE INSIDE THE SIGNS ARE CONFUSING AND THE PLACE GENERALLY DISORGANIZED. WE LEARNED TO KEEP ASKING, THE MANY GUIDES AROUND LAST YR, AND TO GET GOOD DIRECTIONS BEFORE SETTING OUT FROMT HE HOTEL.
 
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Mar 2nd, 2001, 06:25 PM
  #13
Dude
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Well, I have to agree on something, the museum should be open more hours a day and everyday. They close at 6 P.M. and only have one shift.

But as one of the guards said to my wife when we tried to see "La Piedad" at the museum at 6:00 PM "We are open since 7 am and we are tired! You waked up late. THIS IS NOT AMERICA!" She was so pissed so was I, we had a whole day tour and we were leaving next day 7am.

They should hire an american company to manage the museum.





 
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Mar 2nd, 2001, 06:48 PM
  #14
justme
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Dude: I have to disagree. If a US tour company takes over, where will it end .... Mickey Mouse ears on David, Golden Arches over the Spanish Steps?

Actually, I think the FRENCH are experts on managing tourist sites. Does anyone do it any better? - I think not and I am not French.

 
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Mar 2nd, 2001, 06:55 PM
  #15
howard
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When was March 2 declared "Let's knock the Vatican Museum Day"?
Do you really expect perhaps the greatest museum in the world not to be crowded?
Lisa, don't let the critical comments scare you away! Go early in the morning before the crowds get there!
 
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Mar 2nd, 2001, 08:09 PM
  #16
Brenda
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I've only visited Vatican Museum once, on my first visit to Italy in Oct 1997; I opted for a guided tour which seemed to circumvent the verrrrrrrrrrry long line out front. It was busy, but not to the 'claustrophobic' status --- guess I lucked out. However I was very glad to have a guided tour as it didn't seem as "user friendly" as other museums.
 
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Mar 3rd, 2001, 05:24 AM
  #17
howard
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For the record, the audio guide at the Vatican Museum is probably one of the best in the world!
 
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Mar 3rd, 2001, 06:40 AM
  #18
Dave
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Can't disagree that there might be ways to improve some aspects. However, to some extent this is a problem with many great locations. Non-travelers have made snide comments to me that I like to see "tourist" places. That's probably because if a place is able to attract countless people for years, it probably has something worth seeing. This is especially true of the major places in the first ranking cities. The alternative is to miss great things.

 
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Mar 3rd, 2001, 07:11 AM
  #19
judy
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Hello All, getting into the Museum was nightmarish....throngs of people...trying to get into it, through the metal detectors...it could be a very dangerous situation,,,, I know some of you knock American style crowd control, but in this case it is sorely needed! The Sistine Chapel was unbelievable, and I was enthralled. Yet, they do need to some fine tuning BIG Time! The part that really saved the day, was the very fine restaurant/cafeteria, we visited to relax and refresh after our very "close encounters". Judy
 
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Mar 3rd, 2001, 07:39 AM
  #20
jane
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Just to repeat what others have said- I think your post is completely unfair. We visited the mueseum last summer, in August, in the afternoon and walked right in, walk easily through the entire mueseum, stopping at our leisure and I never felt pushed, crowded, etc. After reading posts on this board I was ready for a major hassle but found no such thing. The thought that they should reorganize the entire museum is ridiculous- the point/history is that you see it as is.
 
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