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Vatican

Hello everyone! So me and 3 other family members will be in rome in the last week of july and we are currently having a dilemma about when to visit the vatican museums.
In the official vatican site there are no more time slots available for the early morning, except on our last day, but it would be kind of chaotic to do the check-out with our bags and leave them somewhere and be in the museum at 8. So our current options are:
-going on the last sunday of july, with the free attendance, and try to be in line at 7 am. (What’s your opinion on this? Would we be able to make it?)
-choosing a time slot later in another day(4:30 or 5pm).
-going on our last day at 8am, considering the that we would need to do the check out from our airbnb before going and leaving our bags in a locker or something similar.

If anyone has any advice, it would be majorly heplful as we are really struggling with our decision.

Posted by
16130 posts

I'd go with choosing a later time slot on a different day; choose one that's the least late of what's available. I wouldn't personally go anywhere near the place on a free Sunday; they're busy enough on a regular day!

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you so much! But wouldn’t it be less packed if we chose the last slot of the day?

Posted by
234 posts

I would assume the Vatican Museums will be crowded all day, every day in July. It was that way in late October last year, as well. I think it's a matter of putting up with the crowds or skipping it altogether. Our timed entry was for 3 pm and closing time was 6 pm. At least now, the hours have been extended until 7 pm and/or 8 pm. I, personally, would choose a time slot later in the day.

Posted by
36 posts

We did a late afternoon tour on May 24. I think we got in there around 5/5:30. Had a guided tour, and the guide talked for too long before we got in, so I can't recall when we got in. That said, the crowds were dwindling. The Sistine was still crowded, but we were able to sit on the benches a couple times (popping up and down as needed). Granted this was May, not July, but end of day was not too bad at all. AND, since we were kind of rushed through the museum to get to the chapel, we decided to go back into the museum (I wanted a better look at the map room, and the Raphael rooms - don't miss them!) and then got ANOTHER chance to see the chapel as it is the only way out. Now, we did get kicked out of the Raphael rooms before I got a really good look around, so that stunk; the museum closes at 8, but they start moving people out and to the chapel at 7:30. :( All this to say, go for the late afternoon tour.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks! Ended up going for the 5:30 pm slot on saturday
Hopefully will have a good time. My concern is having enough time inside, but think i will manage as me and my family are not huge art enthusiasts. Probably will stick to the essential sights.

Posted by
5 posts

I am going earlier in July and I am curious if you purchased general tickets or are you using a tour guide/company?

I was on Trip Advisor and the tickets for tours advertised, once checking out, became significantly more expensive... so I didn't buy them.

I was hoping for a small group/private tour. If anyone has a good tour guide experience that takes you right to the good stuff and doesn't have you outside talking in the sun, lol, let me know! Thanks.

Safe travels.

Posted by
6 posts

Hello!
I just bought admission tickets without a guide on the official website, as i couldn’t afford having a toured visit

Posted by
47 posts

Question: I am trying to book tickets to Vatican and Sistine Chapel for October; however, the site is saying it is "unbookable". Is this because it is sold out or too early? How do I get tickets for the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel?

Posted by
6691 posts

David- you are too early
I believe it’s 30 days out

The Sistine Chapel is IN the Vatican Museum

Posted by
6 posts

Hi david, tickets for the vatican museum (which includes the sistine chapel) become available 60 days in advance on the official site.

Posted by
47 posts

Thank you for your Vatican responses!! Lastly, I will be travelling from Sorrento, so is one day enough to see the Colleseum and Vatican or do I need to chose one?

Posted by
6 posts

My trip will be in july, so I can’t tell you from experience, but i believe if you go to the st peters basilica at 7 am, book the vatican at 8am, then have lunch and book the colosseum in the afternoon it will probably be manageable although a bit rushed… i think its up to you to decide based on your curiosity and time you think you will spend in each attraction.

Posted by
27447 posts

There is normally a very long security line for St. Peter's. The Basilica opens at 7 AM, and I have no idea how early you'd need to show up to be very near the front of the line so you actually get inside within a few minutes of 7 AM. I'm not sure how long one might spend at St. Peter's (haven't been there since around 1990), but it's very large, and there's quite a long walk (about 15 minutes) from Sr. Peter's to the Vatican Museums.

Bottom line: It really wouldn't work to plan to visit St. Peter's at 7 AM and the Vatican Museums at 8 AM unless one only wanted to pop into S. Peter's very briefly and was willing to arrive long before the official 7 AM opening time at St. Peter's.

For those who absolutely must fit St. Peter's, the Museums and the Colosseum into a single day, this might work:

  • Buy an early commercial tour (probably over €100 per person) that covers both the Museums and the Basilica. Those tours are usually allowed to use the back door between the Sistine Chapel (part of the Museums) and St. Peter's. They go to the Museums first, ending at tne Sistine Chapel, then whisk the group right into St. Peter's, avoiding the 15-minute walk around the outside of the building and the painfully slow security line.

    • Buy an afternoon entry for the Colosseum.

Alternatively, one could buy an afternoon combination VM and St. Peter's tour run by a private company (the Museums might be more crowded then than for the early-morning tours) and a morning tour of the Colosseum.

The tricky part with either of those scheduling approaches is that getting tickets for the Colosseum is difficult even if you aren't trying for a specific time of day.

A disadvantage of depending on a combination VM + St. Peter's commercial tour to fit the Museums and the Basilica into a half day is that those tours are a lot more expensive than the general-entry tickets sold on the Vatican Museums website. (St. Peter's itself has no entry fee.) Only combination tours run by private companies are normally allowed to use the backdoor between the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's, access to which is essential for seeing both those key parts of Vatican City in the morning.

On the positive side, the commercial tours of the VM + St. Peter's don't seem to sell out as early as the Vatican Museums' much less expensive online tickets (which don't get you through the back door into St. Peter's).

Posted by
16130 posts

...but i believe if you go to the st peters basilica at 7 am,

But David is trying to day-trip Rome from Sorrento...meaning arriving from and returning to the coast the same day. So far, the advice is not to do that: save Rome for when he can give it the time it demands, and I'll echo that wise advice.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/italy/5-days-in-sorrento

Anyway, getting in line at St. Peter's before 7:00AM isn't a possibility if coming from that distance. The earliest Circumvesuivana train doesn't depart Sorrento until 5:30 AM and doesn't arrive in Napoli Garibaldi until 6:41 AM. Then there's wait time for a train from Napoli Centrale to Roma Termini (I'm seeing one at 7:09), journey time itself (that 7:09 train arrives at 8:20) and then travel from train station to the Vatican. So, being at the doors to the museum at 8:00 isn't going to happen either.

If the Circumvesuviana is late arriving in Naples for any reason, the timing gets pushed back even further, and pre-purchased tickets to the museums are toast if missing the appointed time of entry. Same goes for a tour.

So besides giving fascinating Rome a more reasonable of time to cover ground, there are monetary risks involved with mandatory timed-entry tickets - those apply to the Colosseum as well - or pre-purchased tour if things don't go like clockwork; welcome to Italy! :O). David, I sure don't mean to throw cold water all over your plan but IMHO, there'd be a lot less risk and exhaustion just taking the time you have to explore all that's much closer to Sorrento. Additionally, I hope you're not flying out of Rome?

(Bmr, very sorry for the hijack to your thread!)