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Vatican Sites and strategy

I've heard horror stories about crowds and lines, so I was wondering if anyone had any good strategies.

We will be visiting the Vatican sites on Thursday, August 21. We are scheduled for the Scavi tour at 10:45 (1hr 1/2).

I am thinking the following:
7:00 am Tour St. Peter’s Basilica
8:00-9:00 Climbing the dome
9:15-10:15 Purchase early tickets for Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel.
10:30 – tour starts at 10:45 (1hr ½) Scavi Tour

Does this look possible? Will there be long lines that early in the morning for the Dome? Should we just get online after the Scavi tour or will the lines still be too long.

There are some other things we would like to do and I really don't want to spend all-day at the Vatican. I could purchase the Vatican tour at 2:00, but that means we would be there all day. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Posted by
206 posts

Late last July we were in Rome and arrived early in the morning to St. Peter's. We had 10:30 reservation for the Vatican Museum tour. We were able to see inside St. Peters and climb the dome before 10:00. There was no line for the dome at that time. After our museum tour we went back and walked through the crypt; we did not do the Scavi tour, and even without we were at the Vatican until after 2:00. When we walked around to the Vatican Museum about 10:00, the line was very long, but apparently hours will be longer this coming summer, which should help. I'm not sure what you mean about buying early museum tickets.

Posted by
110 posts

There are sites that will sell you early entry tickets for the vatican museum, so you don't have to wait inline, but they are only good (to skip the line) at 9:15 entry. I was thinking about purchasing these, but know if we will have enought time depending on when we get down from the dome and to our tour time at 10:30 for the necropolis.

Posted by
1127 posts

The line to enter the Vatican Museum is for people buying tickets, not people entering the museum. You can't buy your ticket in advance.

Keep your schedule but after the Scavi Tour head over to the Vatican Museum to purchase your ticket & enter. The line shouldn't be too long by the time your Scavi Tour is done. That time of year Rome shouldn't be very crowded - most college students & families are back home and the Italians are at the beaches.

Posted by
206 posts

I don't think you would have time for St. Peter's, including the dome climb, and the Vatican Museum, all before 10:30. It takes a little while to get to the top of the dome, and you want to have some time up there to look around. Also, it takes probably 10 minutes at least to walk from St. Peter's to the entrance of the Vatican Museum, and the museum itself is very large. Even if all you want to see is the Sistine Chapel, you still have to walk the length of the museum to get to it. The tour the Vatican offers of the museum is two hours,and you hit just the museum highlights.