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Sistine chapel or St. Peters Basilica

We have one day to tour Rome. We will see Vatican. Sould we see Sistine chapel or St. Peters Basilica? October 16. We will see the Colesseum also. Need a tour with skip the line for faster entry.

Posted by
6480 posts

Oct 16 is a Wednesday so I’d avoid St Peter’s

Are you coming from a cruise?
If so I’d see what the cruise offers

Posted by
1070 posts

If you can only see one, for me its not even close. The Sistine Chapel is dark and crowded; you will get a much better view of the paintings by looking online or in a book. The Basilica, on the other hand, has to be seen in person to be believed; it is just so big, so grand, so amazing.

Posted by
785 posts

Then the question is also, you say "we will see the Vatican". Do you mean the Vatican Museums, or do you just mean the "country" of the Vatican by stepping foot in the square? If you mean the Vatican Museums, you are directed towards the Sistine Chapel and might as well at least peek inside. If you mean "we have time to just GO to the place", the easiest and less time consuming is visiting the Basilica. Not taking into consideration your artistic/religious desires.

Also, "skip the line" is not completely true, as everyone with tickets has to go through the security line and a LARGE majority of people have tickets in advance from online on their own or are a member of a tour. There will be no skipping that line.

But you mention a tour, I am not well acquainted with all the tours available, but I doubt that a majority of them are ONLY the Basilica, and many will include both.

Posted by
27352 posts

The Sistine Chapel is part of the Vatican Museums. To get to the Chapel you must walk all the way through the Museums (and pay the entry fee). More on that below.

The mandatory security line for the Basilica is usually very long. The best way to avoid a super-long line may be to show up at 6:30 AM; I think St. Peter's opens at 7 AM. There are no tickets to St.Peter's, so there's no such thing as a "skip-the-line ticket" just to the Basilica.

It has usually been the case (you do occasionally hear about exceptions) that commercial tours including both the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's are allowed to use a shortcut from the Chapel into St. Peter's, thereby avoiding the long, outdoor security line for St. Peter's. However, those are not short tours, nor are they inexpensive. In order to take advantage of that back door to St. Peter's, you have to stick with the tour all the way through the (huge) Vatican Museums to the Sistine Chapel.

Walks of Italy is one of several companies offering a combination tour of the Vatican Museums (including the Sistine Chapel) and St. Peter's. Unfortunately, the Vatican itself doesn't run combination tours, so buying tickets or tours directly from the Vatican doesn't give you access to that handy back door.

Regular tickets to the Vatican Museums (which include the Sistine Chapel) will get you into a faster-moving entry line for the Museums. You can buy those tickets (much cheaper than commercial-tour tickets) from the Vatican Museum website. Once you are inside, you can explore the Museums or you can walk as quickly as you can manage theough the long museum corridors to the Sistine Chapel. You can also buy Vatican-operated tours on the Vatican Museums website; that will also allow you to avoid the long ticket-buying line for the Museums.

Two important facts:

  • Tickets to the Vatican Museums sell out way ahead of time.

  • The Vatican Museums are unpleasantly mobbed. Crowds are reportedly somewhat thinner if you have a first-time-slot entry or go late in the afternoon. You can Google "photos of Vatican Museum crowds" to see the sort of conditions you will be facing.