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Timing for Vatican tickets

I am trying to buy 3 tickets for the Vatican Museum & the Sistine Chapel.. I need them for either 29 or 30 September. I’ve been watching the official website, but I can’t figure out what time of day tickets go on sale. I checked at midnight Italian time & the next available day was sold out except for one slot. Help! Anybody know the time of day tickets go on sale? Any other strategy?

Posted by
19 posts

We purchased ours right at midnight (Vatican City time; 4pm Mountain time) 60 days out and will be there in early September. As soon as the clock struck midnight (Vatican City time) we had our choice of times and we were quick to purchase. We used the official site:

If you are too early, it will show that it is "not bookable". So, if you are in the mountain time zone, today at 4pm you can book for the 28th of September.

Hope this helps!

Posted by
7343 posts

Thanks, the 4pm mt (midnight in Rome) time seems to be the right approach for purchasing Vatican tickets on the official website.It look like tickets sell out in about 8-10 minutes. Thanks!

Posted by
7343 posts

Well, the system seems rigged against individual purchasers. I wasn’t as lucky (or skilled) as wysouth - congratulations to you, but as for me, at precisely 4PM Mountain Daylight Time (Midnight in The Vatican), there were entry times available at 9AM, 9:30AM, etc. HOWEVER, using my iPhone and its tiny on-screen keyboard, having to enter name and other details, including the names of all 3 ticket holders, and doing multiple “‘I’m Not a Robot” Captcha procedures, I got an error message. Tried twice more, same result. Eight minutes later, all morning time slots were totally sold out for September 29. Afternoon times were still available … not what we wanted. Maybe you need fast typing skills, on a decent keyboard, with fast WiFi.

My (OK, maybe cynical, but probably correct) assumption is that Viator, TripAdvisor, and other 3rd Party companies have used sophisticated computers to buy out all the tickets immediately, so they can scalp them at a higher price, sticking visitors with having to buy from them. See my ultimate solution at the bottom. Yet another (pricier) option is that you can always forego the “General Admission” tickets, and buy “upgraded” tickets from the official museum Website, by buying breakfast too, or a guided tour with your ticket, all at a higher price.

And by 4:25PM at my house, every ticket slot except for 3:30PM on September 29 was sold out. So maybe there are thousands of people across the globe, all desperately trying to buy Vatican Museums tickets at the same time (quite possible), or there are tour companies monopolizing the ticket purchase Website, creating an incredibly difficult challenge to actually get tickets from the official Website. Interesting that other popular sights in the Rome Area, like the Colosseum, still have tickets available for many days in September.

So my Ultimate Solution this afternoon: The private guide we’re using for 2 days in Rome gave me an alternative. An organization that apparently serves religious pilgrims and others with an interest in Vatican City and the Museums, has tickets available for just an extra $5 or so - less markup than Viator and the other corporations charge. So, after striking out trying to reserve the 3 tickets on the official Museums Website this afternoon, I’ve bought our 3 tickets … for 8:30 entry time, earlier than the General Public can get in, but frankly a little earlier than we non-Early-Birds wanted, by e-mailing . I’d previously e-mailed them this morning, inquiring about the availability of tickets. They responded moments later, saying they did have tickets, but only for the 8:30AM time slot, and they would send me ticket vouchers by e-mail after I sent them my credit card number and expiration date.

Had I not gotten the e-mail address from our guide, Marta (whom we’ve used before), I’d be suspicious that this was a scam, asking for credit card details. Since it’s the middle of the night in Rome, and a weekend, I’ll give it a couple days for the vouchers to show.

If Plan A doesn’t work, buying directly from the Official Website, it’s good to have a Plan B that doesn’t involve Viator or another exorbitant, for-profit scalper.

Posted by
7343 posts

Update: this morning (Monday), the Musei Vaticani museums entry vouchers showed up in my e-mail, so we can print them. Price: €26 apiece, cheaper than anything other than the official site itself!

And, again, that gets us in the door at 8:30AM, a half hour before the general public. That does mean I have to be up earlier than I’d prefer, but the art and artifacts await!

Get tickets thru the official site if you can - best of luck - but my Plan B looks like the next best thing.

Posted by
81 posts

Adding to this conversation. I watched and double-checked a few times. I needed specific tickets (because we are on a Scavi tour in the morning, then lunch, then wanted 2pm (14:00) tickets to the museum). I am NYC so EST - At 5:55pm I cleared my browser history (I happened to be on Safari - not sure if needed in Chrome but had been having some error messages if I continually refreshed the official site on my test runs). At 6pm EST I counted to 5 then refreshed the screen/date and scored my 4 tickets for 14:00 with audio guides.

PAYMENT INFO PLEASE NOTE: I wasn't prepared for the fact that they ONLY take Visa or Mastercard - NOT Amex. Luckily, my Santander MC went through but now we'll be dinged with a foreign transaction fee for using that card. Oh well. But hoping my experience helps someone else be more prepared.