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Vatican Visitors Guide

Vatican Visitors Guide

The Vatican

The Vatican is just a short trip from downtown Rome and is visited by millions of people each year.

From the magnificence of the Vatican Gardens and Sistine Chapel to awe inspiring St Peter's Basilica, the beauty of the Vatican is unparalleled.

Here is a quick guide for the Vatican, how to get there, and what to see...

 

Getting There

Located just north of the city center of Rome is Vatican City.  While it is technically a separate country from Rome, there are no borders or checkpoints to enter Vatican City.  The Vatican is easily accessible through Rome Metro or by foot.

1) By Metro

The Ottaviano-San Pietro station on the A line is just to the north of the Vatican walls and is about a 5 minute walk from St Peter's Square.

2) By Foot

The Vatican is only a 15 to 20 minute walk from the city center.  Take a nice leisurely stroll through the narrow alleyways and streets heading north towards your final destination.
 

Hours of Operation

1) Monday to Saturday

The Vatican is open every day from Monday to Saturday from 9am until 6pm with last entry at 4pm.

2) Last Sunday of the Month

Additionally, the Vatican is open on the last Sunday of every month from 9am until 2pm with last entry at 12:30pm.  On this special (and very busy) day, admission is free.

TIP
Take the time to purchase online tickets to the Vatican ahead of time as the queues to enter this very popular tourist attraction can easily last for hours.
 

Admission Prices

1) Full Entry Ticket

This ticket, allowing you access to both the Museums and Sistine Chapel, is €17 on site or for €4 more you can skip the line and book your ticket online instead.

2) Reduced Entry Ticket

Children between 6 and 18 years old, students with ID, and documented priests can visit the Vatican for a reduced entry fee of €8.

3) Audioguides

For an additional €11 you'll be given an audioguide to lead you through your time at the Vatican.

TIP
Many companies offer up "fast track" or "skip the line" tickets at an inflated price.  There's no need to buy from a middleman as you can easily purchase advance tickets that allow you to skip the line on the Vatican's official website.
 

Best Time to Visit

For many people, the Vatican is a must see which means there are massive crowds and lineups every day.  The summer, with tourism is at its peak, is the busiest time of the year for the Vatican so you're better off visiting in the offseason if you can.

The best time to visit the Vatican is either early in the morning when it opens or late afternoon right before last entry.  Keep in mind last entry is at 4pm and you'll need a good two hours to get around the Vatican.

Weekends are always a notoriously bad time to visit any tourist attraction and the Vatican is no exception.  If you can, try to visit the Vatican during the weekdays.
 

Vatican Rules

1) Clothing

Dress smart and respectful for the Vatican.  No sleeveless clothing, shorts, skirts not covering the knee or hats are permitted inside the Vatican.  Even if you get past security, you'll be turned away by the door attendants.

2) Don't Touch

It goes without saying that you are not allowed to touch any of the collections inside the Vatican.

3) Food

While there is a cafeteria in the Vatican for you to have lunch, it is forbidden to consume any food or drink inside the exhibition halls.

4) Photography

While you can take photos inside the Vatican Museums, the use of a flashbulb is forbidden.  No photography of any kind is allowed in the Sistine Chapel.

5) Phones

You are also not allowed to use your mobile phone inside the exhibition halls or the Sistine Chapel.
 

Highlights

1) Sistine Chapel

Most famous for its ceiling created by Michelangelo, the Sistine Chapel is the official residence of the Pope.  For many centuries, the Chapel has served as a place for both religious and official papal functions.

2) Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums displays 20,000 different works of art that have been amassed by Popes throughout the centuries.  Along with renowned classical sculptures, you'll also see masterpieces of Renaissance art from all over the world.

3) St. Peter's Square

St. Peter's Square is the large plaza located directly in front of the Basilica in the Vatican City.  The Square is where the Pope gives his different addresses through the year, including Easter Mass when tens of thousands of people attend.  Entrance to the Square is free but there will most likely be a queue to enter.