My husband and I will be starting our trip to Italy on Sept. 5. We will be in Rome the 10th and 11th and again on the 14th. Any suggestions on the best time and day to avoid the long lines? Can anyone recommend a nice gift shop with quality religious gifts in the city walls but not necessarily in the museum or basilica in case we are not able to get in?
My husband and I have just left Rome (8/23-8/26) and were in line for the Cistine Chapel & Vatican Museum at 8am, in which a line had already formed. We waited for about an hour to get in which was minimul compared to the line that had formed when we left. I believe some guidebooks state you can make a reservation in advance, so I would explore that avenue.
We found a wonderful gift shop called "Universal Rome Souvenirs" at the far end of Via della Conciliazione (opposite end of St. Peter's Square). The gifts are authentic marble and fine stone in which you will pay for quality.
In July, we entered the line with our Roman Odyssey tour guide at about 12:30. It took us about 20 minutes to get inside. I understand that the lines in the afternoon are shorter than in the morning. After the tour, my husband & son climbed to the top of the dome & I attended 5 pm mass. We then went to the store right outside the walls of the square on the left hand side (St. Peter's behind you) called Domus Artis on Via Della Conciliazione (recommended by our tour guide). However, they close at 6 p.m.--had just enough time to get in and get one souvenir. We didn't have to check in our backpacks, so maybe you could go earlier to buy your souvenirs. Have fun!
Shoot for the afternoon as there's no reason why you should get in line early in the morning and wait when in the afternoon you can get in much quicker. There are lots of shops in the streets just outside the Vatican walls--in the area to the left if you're standing with your back to St. Peter's.
thanks for the advice. I think we will try our luck with the afternoon. Does anyone know where the vatican post office is?
If you have the RS Italy 2007 book, see page 601. The asterisk marks the location of post offices and bathrooms. If not, stand at the obelisk facing St. Peters and the post office is just ahead of you on the left. According to the map there is also one opposite on the right, but I know the one on the left is there. Just look for the line to the bathroom!
I don't have the 2007 book, but I do have the 2006. I will check to see if it is noted in there. Thanks!
The Vatican is post office is to the left in St Peter's square as you are facing St. Peters and the obelisk.
Kathy's right - just look for the queue to the ladies bathroom. It's on the right as you come out of St Peters. The post office is just before it. You won't be able to miss either - there are alway lots of people around them. There is also a Vatican bookshop and I'm pretty sure they had gifts as well. I didn't take that much notice as I only wanted a book. Its just before the post office on the right as you exit St Peters. So you have the bookshop, post office and bathroom all in a line along the right hand side.
Thanks all for your help. I can't believe we leave next week! It should be a great trip.