My mother has bad asthma and is worried about our trip to the vatican. She wants to know if it is air conditioned. I can't imagine that it won't be with all those people, but it is Europe and I hear a lot of places aren't.
I have been there the last two years, in May, and have not been bothered by the heat. I don't know what it would be like in the middle of summer. I didn't take notice of the air conditioning, but I'm almost positive that the museums are air-conditioned throughout. However, the Vatican tour starts by walking across the central courtyard which is outdoors. They will crowd large groups of people into various rooms along the tour and so it can be a little warm and claustrophobic in some areas. The Sistine Chapel, I believe, is not air-conditioned so it is a little stuffy in there, but not unbearable. St Peter's was rather comfortable. There are a lot of stairs, just like anywhere else in Italy, so that may be more of a concern. Be sure to make a Vatican tour reservation before you go (well in advance) as you don't want to have to wait OUTSIDE in the heat in the long lines that can form. Also, the tour that the Vatican furnishes is somewhat of a "forced march" and can be very fast paced. The ultimate goal of the tour guide is to get you to the Sistine Chapel and dump you off there. You might look into an outside tour company for your Vatican tour.
"Is the Vatican air-conditioned?"
Can you clarify: which part of the Vatican you're asking about? St Peter's, the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museum, all of the above?
No one has ever asked, on this site as far as I can recall, whether St Peters or the Sistine Chapel have AC. These are ancient structures with very high ceilings. I can't recall anyone complaining too much complaining about the heat inside St Peters or the Sistine Chapel.
However, regarding the Vatican Museum: The question of stuffiness and air conditioning has come up several times in the last few years. Out of 4 answers I was able to retrieve , 3 said the same thing: that only a few of the rooms in the Museum are air conditioned. One of the 3 who said this was Ron in Rome, a tour guide (who lives near the Vatican), who stated:
"Only parts of the Vatican Museum are air-conditioned. You'll see many windows open throughout your tour. At times it can get very stuffy."
Recently a poster named Mick shared his travel blog with us (complete with the most amazing photos). He was traveling in Rome in July.
This is what he wrote about the Vatican Museum:
"It was muggy inside the museum. They probably just opened the windows instead of turning on AC units."
"The Sistine Chapel room was probably the biggest and most crowded room... We stayed for a little bit before leaving because it was so muggy and we felt we needed some fresh air. I truly believe that the experience must be much better during non-summer months."
The link to his blog is here: http://www.blog.lerlop.com/2009/08/rome-italy/
I suppose it depends on when you are traveling. We were there in a March and although the air was notably warmer in the Sistene Chapel, it wasn't uncomfortable (to us).
(and Mick, hope you don't mind me posting your blog link again!)
I was there last week and it was quite warm in the museum, although the windows were open where they could be. We carried hand fans which helped. Since it is and interior room, the Sistine chapel, crowded as it was, did not feel overly warm. The Basilica was fine probably because of its size and thick stone walls.
Thanks Kent.... Have not checked in for a while so I'll repeat what I said in an earlier post... Very few rooms in the Vatican are air-conditioned. The Tapestry rooms are. Other rooms will have wall mounted or portable units such as the Pinacoteca Wing.... but for the most part IT IS NOT air-conditioned. Been in there over 100 times - trust me, it can get hot, stuffy, and muggy! Avoid the peak periods and you can avoid much of the "stuffiness."
I was just there a few days ago. The ticket office and the bookstore is air-conditioned. Most of the galleries were not air-conditioned but it wasn't too stuffy despite the mass of people (not as bad as I had envisioned based on what I had read). There was a random room (I think it was one of the tapestry rooms) which was air conditioned.
Thanks everyone. This is very helpful. Now I have to decide which tour to take. The is availability with Angel tours or Jason Spiehler's Walks of Italy