Vatican straegies

Jul 10th, 2012, 12:41 PM
  #1  
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Vatican straegies

We plan to visit Vatican City on Mon, Sept 10th. I have read several guide books and searched here for the best order to do things. I plan to book an entry time (not a guided tour) to the Museums on line to avoid waiting in the long lines. I probably lean towards doing the museum and Sistine chapel first and then St. Peters (I know there is a short cut to get to St. Peter's from the Sistine Chapel). I feel confused. It seems that many people choose this order, but it also seems to sound as if the Museums are less busy in the afternoon. But, does that make it worse to go to St. Peter's in the morning? Also, somewhere between the two venues, we are going to need lunch (or I get cranky!!) If anyone with experience can help me select the order and timing and/or suggest a lunch strategy, I'd be grateful.
jane1144 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2012, 01:06 PM
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hi Jane,

i know, there are times when whichever way you try to do this, it's wrong!

The main reason for getting to the vatican museum early is to avoid the queue, however, if you plan to reserve tickets for the Vatican you will cut out the queuing for that, so it makes sense IMHO to avoid the queues for the Basilica. [there is no guarantee that they will let you use the door at the back of the sistine chapel, BTW]

this means getting to St Peter's as early as you can. when we wanted to climb the Dome, we were there by 9.15 and just sailed through security. when we came out at about 10.30, the queues were right across the piazza to the post office! this has the advantage that you can be first in the queue for the Dome, go up to the top, have a good look round, and still be in time for an 11am entry to the vatican museum. [there are a cafe and pizzeria inside the museums, believe it or not, but they are near the entrance, so you could see the pinoteca then have lunch, before starting off on the route march to the sistine chapel.]

alternatively, spend longer in St. Peter's, have an early lunch nearby [there are some recommendations on this forum if you search for them] and then book your entry to the Vatican for about 1.30 pm.

if you are going in September, there are some tours that take in the Vatican gardens which i would love to see, but they have never been open when we have visited.
annhig is offline  
Jul 10th, 2012, 01:20 PM
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Thanks annhig..I hadn't really planned to climb the Dome, but could be persuaded otherwise. What do you think? I think I will take your advice on reversing the order of my visit. You confirmed my suspicions!
jane1144 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2012, 01:46 PM
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There's also a cafeteria in the museums.

I think Monday is supposed to be one of the busiest days for the museums as it's closed Sunday. With many flights arriving to start tours on Sat/Sun, they tend to go to the museums Monday and then head off to other cities.

St. Peter's is open 7am to 7pm. The dome is 8am to 6pm.

You won't be able to use the short cut exit unless you catch a tour group leaving and pretend to be part of it. Many times they are wearing lanyards or name tags so even that might not work.

It appears the last entry is 4pm as that's when the ticket office closes (used to be one hour before closing).
kybourbon is offline  
Jul 10th, 2012, 01:56 PM
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well, i would certainly urge you to go up as far as the top of the lift, where you can walk across the roofs and see the back of the statues that look down over the front of the basilica. there are toilets up there, and a cafe, did you know? i didn't !] the roofs in themselves are fascinating -so many colours!

if you decide to carry on up, you go inside at the level of the mosaics around the inside of the dome, so what you saw from a distance from far down below you can now see right up close. then you start to climb the stairs within the dome- which is quite hard work - until you get to the top about 15 mins later. I was ambivalent, but DS wanted to do it, and i was very glad I'd gone with him.

it'll take you about an hour to an hour and a half, longer if you then spend some time in the Basilica itself. [we had already visited it earlier in the week after we'd finished the Scavi tour so we didn't linger].
annhig is offline  
Jul 10th, 2012, 03:06 PM
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Check out this site for 20 extremely helpful hints on visiting the Vatican. You'll be really glad you did:
http://www.roninrome.com/%20sites-an...atican-museums
SeattleMichael is offline  
Jul 10th, 2012, 03:50 PM
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Thanks kybourbon..so glad you mentioned about busy Mondays. I had forgotten that I read that earlier. Fortunately, I can change my Vatican plans to Tuesday. Annhig, I'm going to think more about doing at least some of the Dome climb. SeattleMichael, I have scanned the web site and it will be most helpful, especially "seeing" where I am supposed to go. I'm going to read it thoroughly tomorrow.
jane1144 is offline  
Jul 10th, 2012, 03:59 PM
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AAARRRGGGH! I was going to switch my day at Ostia Antica with my day at the Vatican and have just discovered OA is CLOSED on Mondays. Back to the drawing board!
jane1144 is offline  
Jul 11th, 2012, 08:23 AM
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nnooooooo!
annhig is offline  
Jul 11th, 2012, 09:07 AM
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I also had good success with the St. Peters Dome, then Basilica, then lunch, then Vatican option (still used the Sistine Chapel "secret" exit to save walking back).

For lunch, there is a nice "local" pizza by the slice place (Pizza al taglio) just off the square on the way to the Museums. Very good; very cheap, very basic (we sat on the curb outside).

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...log-photos.cfm
indy_dad is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 10:49 AM
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Thanks everyone...I have now re-jigged my itinerary so we do Ostia Antica on Sunday, The Colosseum, etc. etc. on Monday and the Vatican on Tues. I think we will go early to the Basilica and get an on line reservation to avoid the lines at the Museum in the afternoon. Thanks, indy_dad for the pizza recommendation. Sopnds like it will hit the spot.
jane1144 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 11:06 AM
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BTW, how long does it take to walk back to the Vatican Museums from St. Peter's?
jane1144 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 11:32 AM
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jane - looks like a plan - well done.

to get to the entrance to the museums, allow yourselves a good 20 mins - those walls seem to go on forever!
annhig is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 11:48 AM
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We were at the Vatican a few weeks ago.

We had a GREAT lunch at a gourmet sandwich place very very close to the entrance called 200 Gradi. http://www.duecentogradi.it/ They have a great sandwich menu or you can build your own. We were a group of 8 and everyone loved their sandwiches!

We arrived at St. Peter's at about 12:30, and there was quite a line, but it went pretty fast. It seemed to be slowly but constantly moving.

We had reserved 1:30 tickets for the musuem and booked a guide, Sonia, that we really enjoyed to do a 2 hour highlight tour. It was perfect.

Have a great time!
dina4 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2012, 12:26 PM
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dina4,thanks for the sandwich recommendation ...another good option.
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