I'm going to visit the Vatican Museums during Holy Week. I've been to the museums a number of time but not since the new individual line/group tour line system and later admissions for individuals than tours has been implemented. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to deal with this/know how this works? I know that Vatican itself offers tours reasonably but it sounds like they may be hard to reserve. Thanks!!
We visited in October. The Vatican offers tours, bypassing the amazing long line. Our tour guide was terrific, and they give you an earphone.
Go to the Vatican Museum website to get the details:
We simply sent them a fax indicating our preferred date and time, and they sent a return fax, with our reservation confirmation in less than 24 hours.
The outline of the process may be simple, but actually securing reservations has been somewhat of a headache. According to RS books you should expect NOT to hear from the Vatican regarding your request because they can be booked up a year in advance. According to the Vatican website you only have to fax your request a few weeks in advance.
I faxed in November 2007 for reservations in June 2008. Finally in December 2007 I received a fax from the Vatican requesting that I "resend" my request at the "end" of December...OK. I did that and then heard nothing. Last week I finally received a fax asking for the ages of the people in our tour (students) so that they could calculate the entrance fee. Within 15 minutes I faxed them the information, but have not heard from them and still don't have any sort of confirmation.
They really are a pain to deal with...especially the faxing. Email would be so much simpler and cost effective. Heck, a REAL reservation system would be best!
If you don't get a reply from the Vatican you can take a different route and tour with a private tour company. You can also book vip entrance tickets (without the tour) that skip the long lines through websites like prestotours.com
Went and toured in mid Jan. and used a private tour group. Avoided lines and the guide was excellent.
As mentioned in my first post, we had no problem whatsoever booking with the Vatican directly. However, I suspect they may turn their fax machine off when they close, and perhaps they do not process stored faxes.
I sent my fax to them during their working hours, and it was processed in less than 24 hrs.
We booked a vatican tour with the vatican by fax for this past December. I booked it about a month in advance. If you fax during normal business hours for their museum, it should go through. I did our fax from our home computer using the software that came with the computer. I requested several different days to improve our chances of getting a reservation. I had the return fax number as our home number and they faxed us back about a day later in the middle of the night and everything worked out well.
When you get there, you skip to the head of the line and go to the seperate fenced line for groups to the right of the main entrance. Show your returned fax to the security person there about 10 to 15 minutes prior to your time and then you go in and buy your tickets and get your headset.
I also had no difficulty getting a fax through before 5pm Rome time, and they responded within 24 hours. However they wouldn't book the reservation and told me to contact them a month before the dates we wanted.
When I faxed our original typed request they replied via handwriting on the bottom of my fax. They've replied 2 times each time adding more handwriting at the bottom of my fax.
The last response I received asked for the ages of our group so they could calculate the entrance fare. Also included was a STAMP on the bottom of my fax next the handwritten note from the Vatican. The stamp said MUSEI VATICANI UFFICIO VISITE GUIDATE.
I guess my real question is...when you receive and official CONFIRMED response - what does it look like? Is it a completely new document seperate from all the faxing back and forth that I've been doing?
I faxed in my request about a month ago, and on my fax I left an email address. They sent the confirmation to me through email.