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Any Vatican lines after lunch?

I found a website that said that after lunch, there likely will be no line at the Vatican. Is that accurate? We're trying to save money by not doing a tour so that obviously means no "no-wait" ticket. If we arrive at 1-2 PM on a weekday should we be okay? I'm thinking Thurs or Friday, April 17 or 18.

Thank you!

Posted by
705 posts

I think there would be a line no matter what time you go however I have been told by a tour guide that afternoons are better and Tuesday is the best day to go. I did a tour last year and we met about one and there was a fair queue then but it did move reasonably quickly. You just need a bit of patience. Perhaps use the time to read your guide book so you don't miss anything once you do get in.

Posted by
486 posts

We ate lunch at a place across the street after seeing the Vatican Museum on a weekday morning last October.

We watched a line that was longer than we had earlier in the day and laughed to ourselves at the long lines.

Posted by
2207 posts

Lines in the afternoon can depend on many factores - the primary being what time of year you come to Rome. In season, lines will often extend past 2 PM.

Also, what day of the week you go can be a factor. Mondays always have longer lines because the VM is usually closed on Sundays. Wednesdays are always busy when the Pope is in town and doing his 10:30 AM address. Saturdays are a day off for many Italians and they come to Rome. And of course, the last Sunday of the month, the VM is free so there WILL BE A LINE! So if I had to play the odds, I would go on Tues(2), Thurs(1), or Friday(3).

Special events, for example Holy Week and XMAS, always lead to longer lines at the VM. And even the weather can impact the line!

Tour Group pre-bookings also influence the line. My tour buddies tell me that 1,300 pre-bookings are allowed in each hour. These groups primarily book between 9:30 - 12:30 at the VM. More pre-bookings leads to later pre-bookings and a longer line!

Posted by
2207 posts

OK - having said all that, I would still go in the afternoon. Why? Because there are FAR FEWER people in the VM in the PM. Late in the day, and I have probably "closed" the Sistine Chapel 5 or 6 times, you have the most "space." Nothing is more frustrating than being packed like sardines as you walk the halls of the Vatican.

I always enter the museum and GO RIGHT at the top of the stairs, away from the Pine-Cone Courtyard and the signage to the Sistine Chapel. I'll explore these "less traveled" wings until the crowds dissipate. The original Ascension of Christ by Raphael is located these wings, and far more beautiful than the mosaic in St. Peter’s!

At times, I’ve had to wait in line, but more often not – and I always have something to read. My schedule usually runs as follows: Go to the local market one block from Ottaviano Metro station, then the Basilica, do lunch, and head for the Museum! Makes for a great day!

Posted by
6816 posts

Not sure of what the website noted considers "lunch time", you are assuming noon to 1:00, but an Italian would say more like 2:00 to 3:00, putting "after lunch" to late afternoon (3:00 to 4:00) which is in line with advice to go late in the day.