ron in rome

We are not into museums so we just want to see the Sistine Chapel and spend most of our time in the Basilica Has anyone followed Ron in Rome where you go on a Tues or Thurs around 1pm and just buy your tickets without prebooking
I would like to do this for the first week of July and has it worked for anyone to just go right into the Basilica without having to trek back through the entrance to the Museum. The "right door I think is a short cut to the Basilica, needing to get by a guard. Thanks

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
11615 posts

Last April we followed the suggestion and went at 1300 on a Thursday. No tickets, walked right in. Used the shortcut to the Basilica. No problems.

Posted by Katherine
Philadelphia, PA, United States
173 posts

Last time we were there the guard would not let anyone through that door unless they were accompanied by a tour guide who had to vouch for every person. I find this unreasonable and dictatorial, and I'm afraid I suspect the tour guides for pushing enforcement. It adds almost an hour of walking to get back to the museum entrance (and now they are routing you up and down multiple stairs) and walk back to the front of the basilica. Exhausting for us old folks.

Posted by Ron
Cesena, Italy
789 posts

We went on a Thurs. morning around 9am. No line to speak of. Can't say for later in the day. When you go through the door in the Sistene chapel, if it's not gaurded, just act like you belong and know what you're doing. The gaurd at the bottom of the steps just gave us a quick glance.

Posted by Michael
Seattle, WA, USA
6467 posts

We got away with this trick back in 2003 (we slipped in with a Japanese tour group, to curious looks from the group members) but I've also heard numerous reports that the guards have started cracking down on it. As with many things Italian, it will likely depend on who the guard is that day, and what their mood is. Sometimes they just don't care; other times they enforce rules strictly. But it's no longer a reliable shortcut.

Posted by mina
guelph, ontario, canada
58 posts

Do you think I will be safe in July for going in the afternoon and not prepurchasing tickets. I guess the tours go in the morning?

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
2725 posts

We went on Good Friday, 2012, and the Vatican Museum was extremely busy. The line on the street was 4 abreast for 300 yards. Thankfully we had reservations and walked in. We attempted to take some short cuts, but were not allowed to. The tour was a little claustrophobic with so many people inside.
The guards are a little unfriendly, and herded us around like cattle. They didn't have to be that way.

Posted by Ron
Ron-in-Rome................................ Now, RPT in Atlanta!
1754 posts

I've been quite busy lately and not on the board - Thanks Sharon for dropping me a line on this post! Mina, I think everyone has detailed the challenges of the "secret door." It's certainly hit and miss. Undoubtedly, the official Vatican guides are unhappy that this privileged access (essentially for Vatican-recognized group tours) has not been monitored - in their eyes - properly. So it really depends, as mentioned by Michael, who is on the door and their level of vigilance. If no one is there, most people just scoot through. Other times, as detailed above, folks just "join" a group. Sometimes though, the guards and guide stand AT THE DOOR together and strictly monitor their guests exiting - On those days, you won't get through unless you're with a tour (or the guard takes a break). Unfortunately, you really won't know the level of vigilance until you get to the Sistine Chapel... or you can simply pay to be part of a group! As far as lines, it will be interesting to see if their is a "renewed level of interest" with the change of Popes. So far, crowds have been much larger but that may be the novelty. I imagine the Good Friday service tonight at the Colosseo will be packed - and Easter Sunday... beyond packed. I have many friends in Rome going, who HAVE NOT gone in years. So there is heightened interest and in some manner, that may impact lines, crowds, etc. Hopefully the new Pope will address issues inside the Curia. It is a powerful group. Afternoons on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays still seem to be the lightest (according to the guides I work with and my friends who live near the Vatican and see the lines when passing by). Good luck on gaining access through the "secret door."

Posted by Kevin
3 posts

Why all the complaints about not being able to use the "secret door" to get to the Basilica? Why not just book a tour with the official vatican guides?