We're planning on visiting the Vatican Museums/Sistine Chapel on a Wednesday afternoon in early June. I've read that the the museum can be a little less crowded during a papal audience. Does that mean that the museum will be more crowded in the afternoon - say 4:00 since all those people that weren't there during the audience? We'll be getting reservations to the museum regardless, but I just wanted to see if that was a good plan. We'll try to use the "back door/shortcut)to get into St Peters afterwards to catch the afternoon light. Due to arrival times in Rome, hitting St Peters and the museums will be very complicated if not impossible in the morning during the audience so I'd prefer not to consider that.
You should be fine at 4pm. The afternoons tend to be a little less crowded than the mornings and all of the tour groups should be gone by then. Don't count on using the "tour door" unless on a tour as they check tickets. Just use the normal exit. It doesn't take much more time and you'll get to see the famous staircase on your way out. donna