tickets to Vatican

Hi - My wife and I will be in Rome 11/2-11/4 and want to see both the Vatican,St Peters and Sistine Chappel and have a few questions: - Should we buy tickets in Advance? It looks like the only day we can go is Saturday? Are the lines really long? - Not thinking we want to do a "tour" just kind of wander
- Can we do all in the same day? If so which should we do first? How long does take, we want to climb the cupola and do everything! Any ideas tips/tricks? Never been to Italy so we are excited!

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
13903 posts

About Rome, there are few better informed contributors on this Helpline than Ron in Rome. He has written dozens and dozens of pages in great detail about Rome which are well worth reading. He lived just across the street from the Vatican and has written plenty about doing just what what you asked. Have a look at This page

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
3435 posts

If you wish to go to the Vatican museums in the morning then you should buy entry tickets as the line is always hours long in the morning. If you plan on visiting in the afternoon then you will probably find little to no lines. You can purchase entry tickets at the official site: You can wander at your own pace and stay as long as you wish. You can do it all in one day if you start early. You might want to start in the basilica, then climb the dome and end in the museums. There are no tickets required for entry to the basilica but you'll need to wait in the security line. It moves very quickly so don't let the length bother you. Be sure to follow the dressing requirements. Men must wear pants and women must have their knees covered. Both are required to have the tops of their arms covered. If you don't obey these rules you can be denied entry. Donna

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1994 posts

You might want to check the Vatican website and get to St Peter's a little before it first opens. It's so beautiful without a chattering crowd inside. On a sunny day, it is particularly striking in the morning.

Posted by Frances
San Diego
864 posts

I was recently in Rome and booked a Vatican/Sistine/St. Peter's tour through They had good prices and the guide was very good. They seem to be a tour consolidator? I see ads for tours all over the world thru this agency.
Also used them in Milan for the Last Supper.

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
3435 posts

They are a tour consolidator and the quality of the tour depends on they company they use. Some are better than others. Since the OP doesn't really want to do a tour they should just book entry tickets directly with the Vatican and wander at their own pace. Donna

Posted by Ron
Ron-in-Rome................................ Now, RPT in Vienna, Austria!
1764 posts

For some help buying tickets online - through the Vatican ticket office - you might read this posting. Good Luck!

Posted by Bryan
Birmingham, Alabama, USA
290 posts

As far as visiting the Basilica, you might want to get there EARLY. Between 7 and 8:30am it is open for priests to celebrate Mass. Other visitors can come in as well, but during that time it is much quieter/prayerful inside. From there you could visit the Dome, then head over to the Museums (which include the Sistine Chapel). Or you could get early tickets for the museum; see St. Peter's first (early), then walk over to the museums for whatever entry time you have (I think they start at 9am), then come back later to see the Dome. The lines lately in St. Peter's Square (to get inside the Basilica/Dome) have been EXTREMELY long at most times of the day, even during the early afternoon when people should technically be eating lunch. There are much heavier crowds here this year. However, this line always moves pretty quickly. Even if it is wrapped 2/3 of the way around the Square, it will take probably no more than 1/2 hour - 45 minutes to get through it and be inside the Basilica or headed up to the Dome. Enjoy your time here in Rome!

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
7365 posts

Morgan, as others have said, you can do it all in one day if you are organized. I believe the Vatican Museums website has a virtual tour of the museums and particularly of the Sistine Chapel. No matter how hungry you get, do not eat pizza at the cafeteria in the Museums. It is horrifyingly bad. There is a nice outdoor cafe in the courtyard of the museums with mostly light food at very reasonable prices.

Posted by Judy
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
6 posts

I just returned from trip to Italy and spent three nights in Rome. We saw St. Peter's late afternoon then the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel the next morning. You would be able to do both in one day. We bought the Roma Pass when we arrived in Rome and this was great for avoiding lines. We got right in the museum in the morning. As far as length of time, it really depends on how much you want to see in the museum -- it could take all day if you wanted to see everything. We focused on the Sistine Chapel and a few other exhibits. The Roma Pass is good for the subway, too, which is an easy way to get to the Vatican. I highly recommend downloading Rick Steves' audiotours onto your IPod if you have one. It's a great way to see the Vatican area and also the city walking tours of the city and other major sites.

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
3435 posts

The romapass is not valid at the Vatican museums. It's good for museums and sites within Rome but will not get you into anything at the Vatican. Donna