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Visiting the Vatican Museums is a memorable, must see sightseeing experience for visitors to Rome, culminating with the Sistine Chapel – a show stopper to end any visit to the Vatican Museums. In the digital age, there really is no comparison to experiencing the wealth of treasures on show in person at the Vatican Museums.
Queues and waiting times to access the Vatican Museums are legendary and the Vatican Museums are not open every day. Most first time visitors will combine a visit to the Vatican Museums and St Peter's Basilica in one day.
Here we will inform you of your options to minimise Vatican Museum waiting and queues, how fast-track tickets work, the Vatican tours available and advice on the less busy times and days for visiting, which can all enhance your Vatican Museums visit.
To minimise stress and to maximise your enjoyment, being informed about your options and what to expect are a huge advantage.
The admission ticket permits the tourist to visit the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel and is valid for the day of issue.
The cheapest ticket is the standard walk-up ticket for which you risk a very long wait, fast track tickets are very popular as a result. Look at the ticket options now.
On the last Sunday of each month the Museums can be visited free of admission charge from 9am to 2pm (Final entry at 12.30pm).
Note: these days are very popular and can get very crowded. If you wish to avoid these crowds avoid these days and holiday days.
There are various ticket types available for the Vatican Museums. Walk up tickets, although on most days they should be called queue up tickets are €17pp with a reduction to €8 for children aged 6-17. Fast-track tickets, so you avoid the queues start from €20.50pp and include entrance to the Sistine Chapel.
The Vatican Museums are next to St Peter’s Square and Basilica and most visitors will want to combine both in one memorable day of sightseeing.
For the independently minded visitor to Rome, transport to the Vatican is straight forward, you can arrive by Rome public bus, metro, even by tram and of course Rome’s hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses stop here too.
So, where is Vatican Museum? We like to use the road opposite the museum entrance as the address, as that is easy to find on any map or app. Viale Vaticano 100.
The Vatican Museum is vast, the Sistine Chapel location and entrance is on the right of the museum as you look towards St Peter's Basilica from St Peter's Square. Once inside the museum, the walk to the Sistine Chapel alone can take up to 30 minutes.
How to get to Vatican City - Rome is a beautiful city to walk through, especially the ancient centre but depending on your starting point you may find the Vatican Museums to be outside a comfortable walk and you'll be doing a lot of walking once inside. Rome Metro has a station just outside the Vatican walls at Ottaviano-S Pietro. This is on Line A and is around a 5-min walk to the Vatican Museums. Cipro (formerly Cipro-Musei Vaticani) is also on Line A and equally close to the entrance.
The Vatican Museum is open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm (final entry at 4pm). The museum is closed on Sundays except for the last Sunday of each month, (providing this does not coincide with Easter Sunday, 29 June or 25 & 26 December) when it opens from 9am until 2pm (final entry at 12.30pm).
Vatican Museums Closures 2020
Sunday (except last Sunday of the month). 1 & 6 January, 11 February, 19 March, 13 April, 1 May, 29 June, 15 August, 8, 25 & 26 December.
It is worth knowing that Mondays can be generally busier after the Museum closure on Sunday. Saturday's will be busier and on Wednesday's when the Pope holds Papal audiences, you can expect the crowds to be much larger. These are usually held at 10 or 10.30am. The Sunday free days at the end of the month are understandly busy too. Off-peak season, early morning and late afternoons during the week are likely the quietest times to visit the Vatican Museums but quietest is relative here.
For art lovers don’t even think about coming out in less than 4-5 hours.
If you are a time poor tourist, and your main highlight is the Sistine Chapel then about two hours might be appropriate.
The official website for the Vatican Museums is linked below.
Tours are an excellent way not only to learn about everything inside the Vatican Museums but also as a way to skip the queues and find tickets should normal fast-track Vatican Museum tickets be sold out.
There are a host of tours available. You will get the benefit of an experienced guide leading you round what is a collection of monumental proportions. With a guided tour you can be sure you don't miss out on any showcase attractions and also discover all the hidden gems too.
Tours often run outside normal opening times, such as early morning tours, evening tours and combined tours. Discover the available tours at the Vatican Museums.
The queues for entrance to the Vatican Museums are legendary.
Around 9am, wave after wave of coaches are depositing coach loads to the end of the queue and early, mid-morning is probably the worst time of day to start queuing for admission.
Particularly during the spring and summer months, at this time it is not unusual for waiting times of at least two hours.
At these times there is a whole army of touts selling to the queue the attraction of a guided tour that will allow you to by-pass the queue ahead.
After midday queues are a lot shorter but they can still be very long during peak season.
Mondays also get more crowds after the museums are effectively closed the day before.
With a bit of planning ahead you too can avoid the queues by paying for a fast track ticket or booking a tour that includes fast track, skip the queue entry to the Vatican Museums.
It is forbidden to touch works of art.
No sleeveless clothing, shorts, skirts not covering the knee, or hats. Even if you get through security, you will be turned away by the attendants at the door.
Permitted in the Museums.
It is forbidden to consume food and drink (including alcohol) inside the exhibition halls.
It is forbidden to use flashlight photography inside the Museums and no photography at all in the Sistine Chapel.
Not permitted to be used inside the exhibition spaces and the Sistine Chapel.
You can get the traditional audio guides for a fee on entering the Vatican Museums at the information desk.
There are over 400 audio stops available throughout the Vatican Museums. The audio guides are available in 10 languages (Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Portuguese).
There are two hour English tours that you can book online at the Vatican Museums' website.
Visitors are required to leave larger items such as suitcases, or rucksacks, with dimensions larger than cm 40 x 35 x 15 or any articles that 'stick out'. Also any item that could conceivably be used to damage works of art like scissors, pointed umbrellas etc.
Items need to be collected the same day and not left if for example you are to visit St. Peter’s Basilica afterwards.
A restaurant with a self-service, pizzeria and coffee bar is available.
Visitors can store any type of food and/or drink in the cloakroom free of charge.
This facility provides fast track access through a reserved door into the Vatican Museums, allowing you to skip all the lines.
Meet your host in Vatican City or outside the museum entrance and head to a reserved entrance that guarantees you the fastest skip-the-line access to the Vatican Museums.
Available every day except Sundays and holidays listed on the Vatican Museums calendar.
• Fast track entrance throughout the day • Open every day except Sundays and bank holidays • Optional download audio guide to your phone
• Fast track entrance throughout the day • Ticket & audio guide • Open every day except Sundays and bank holidays • Collect audio guide at museums
• Likely to sell out • Enter 30-mins before opening • Enjoy the Sistine in the quiet • 2.5 hour tour • All entrances covered
• Beat the crowds • Expert tour guide • 3-hr tour • Likely to sell out • Instant confirmation • Add on your own entrance ticket
• Hotel pick-up • Local guide • All entrances included • Several departures per day • Am/pm or full-day tour
Days of operation: Monday to Saturday
Your knowledgeable guide will escort you into the Vatican Museums to explore the world's most extensive collection of art.
Highlights of the museums are Michelangelo's famous Creation of Adam fresco in the Sistine Chapel and Raphael's Rooms.
After taking in the Vatican Museums, you will walk over to St Peter's Basilica for a fascinating finish to your group guided walking tour stopping to admire magnificent St Peter's Square.
• Fast track entrance throughout the day • Fully narrated tour • Headsets • Free Wi-Fi at entrance • Add on your entrances
• No-wait access • Professional guide • All entrances included • Multiple departures available • Small group tour
• All entrances included • Professional guide • Small group - no more than 12 max • Likely to sell out • Entrances to Vatican & Sistine Chapel included
• Avoid the crowds • Admission to the Vatican Museums & St Peter's • American buffet breakfast to start your day • 3-hr guided tour • Walking tour of the Vatican Gardens
Nine rooms rich in treasures from Roman Eygpt and Egyptian-influenced Rome.
Several large exhibition halls predominantly focussed on classical scuplture.
Long corridor, home to the richest collection of lapidary in the Vatican.
Movements and themes in classical art from Ancient Greece to late Imperial Rome.
Houses evidence of early Christian communities of the first centuries and beyond.
One of the most important collections of ancient inscriptions in the Vatican.
Objects and works of art from all over the world.
Explores faith and culture of Christians from the first centuries onwards.
Displays the Roman fresco of the same name along with other Roman age paintings.
Large collection covering end of 19th century up to early 20th century.
Four rooms known as the Stanze of Raphael part of Julius II della Rovere apartment.
Beautiful frescoes cover the interior by Beato Angelico.
Large room with frescoes celebrating the dogma of the Immaculate conception.
Dedicated to Etruscan antiques dating back to the Iron Age.
Sculpture, architecture and painting with over 1000 items of sculpture on display.
As confiscated works were returned a new wing was built to house classical sculpture.
Inscriptions divided into two main groups based on origin. Extra-urban or municipal.
Collection of over 2000 Christian inscriptions, mainly funerary on marble.
Art gallery with over 460 paintings including masterpieces from the greatest artists in the history of Italian painting.
Historical evidence of the papal mobility, horse carriages and more modern vehicles.
Profane antiquities of the Vatican (cameos, ivories, rock crystals & small bronzes).
Beautiful chapel containing the precious relics of the Sancta Santorium.
Breathtaking and awe inspiring. A place designed to emphasise sacredness and render the truths expressed in the Holy Scriptures more understandable.
Six huge spaces which now house part of the Collection of Contemporary Art.
Private chapel in the south-west corner of the Borgia Tower.
Previously housed those that looked after the pontiff, also known as the Parrot room.
The above list is a long way short of the detail one could go into on the treasures you are likely to see at the Vatican Museums, but it gives you an overview. If you would like to learn more about each of the museums within the Vatican then detailed information can be found on the Vatican Museums official website.
|Vatican Museums tours & fast track tickets|
|Vatican Museums fast track tickets||From €27|
|Vatican Museums fast track tickets + audio guide||From €39.90|
|Vatican Museums fast track tickets + early entrance||From €56|
|Vatican Museums fast track access with coach transfers||From €60|
|Vatican Museums private tours with fast track access||Prices vary on numbers|
|St Peter's Basilica tours & fast track tickets|
|St Peter's Basilica fastrack with audio guide||From €19.50|
|St Peter's Basilica guided tour||From €27|
|St Peter's Basilica guided tour with access to cupola (Dome)||From €49|
|St Peter's & Vatican Museums combined tours|
|Vatican Museums + St Peter's (With Fast Track Access) Tour 1||From €57|
|Vatican Museums + St Peter's (With Fast Track Access) Tour 2||From €61|
|Early Access Vatican Museums Small-Group Tour with St Peter’s||From €92.50|
|Vatican Museums, Vatican Gardens & St Peter’s guided tour with breakfast||From €139|
|Vatican gardens tours|
|Vatican gardens walking tour||From €38|
|Vatican Gardens bus tour||From €85|
|Audience with the Pope|
|Audience with the Pope||From €32|