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Timing for seeing Vatican

My wife & I are flying into Rome the end of September and arrive on a Wednesday morning around 9:00. I'd like to visit the Vatican museum, Sistene Chapel and Basilica yet that day but am concerned about the crowds because the Pope addresses the crowd on Wednesdays at 10:30. I figure until I get to the hotel (which will probably be around the Colleseum), and then over to the museum it will be shortly after noon. Rick advises in his book to visit the museum around 12:30 anyway to avoid early morning crowds, but I wasn't sure if this advice held true on Wednesdays because of the Pope's public appearance. I'm not a Catholic or an avid art lover, so I anticipate moving through the museum fairly quickly. But I really want to see Michelangelo's work (Sistene Chapel ceiling, pieta, etc.) Does anyone have experience with the crowds on Wednesday afternoon?

Posted by
959 posts

Dennis, we went on a Wednesday morning, but let me tell you this: My husband and I wished that we'd done those three components over more than one day. Reason being, we spent a little while (maybe almost an hour) in the Basilica. THEN, we stood in line to get into the museum. Well, the museum is basically one direction only, and you have to walk through the entire thing to get to the Sistine Chapel. It was an amazing museum, but after several hours, we were exhausted and just wanted to see the Sistine Chapel already! Just keep that in mind when planning your day there. Unless you only have one day to do it, split it up so you're not as tired. (And we're young, so this wasn't an age thing!) We were able to see the Papal Audience two weeks before the last pope died. So it was pretty amazing. He actually did the audience from his apartment window because he was so sick. You're going to LOVE Rome! I hope someone can address your questions about Wednesday afternoons, though...

Posted by
158 posts

I have only been to the Vatican during the summer months and went once on a Wednesday afternoon. I went specifically for the Pope's address (not Catholic either but it is an experience). The crowds were insane, the entire palazza was filled. I don't know about the lines into the places were. You can definitely do these three sites in one day, and if done right in less then three hours.

Get in line for the Vatican Museum first. If you don't want to see all the art just breeze through. The last stop in the museum is the Sistine Chapel. From there you can go directly into St. Peters without waiting in the huge line.

In one of RS books he recommends a personal guide who our family used to see these sites. Her name was Francesca Caruso and she was amazing. I think if you google her you can get her contact info.