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Vatican Museum May 1st

I was so excited about signing up for my first RS tour (Best of Europe 21 day) starting 4/19/15. As I was reviewing the itinerary I saw one thing that had changed from the 2014 tour that when we are in Rome the visit to the Vatican Museum is no longer part of the package. No big deal we would just go see it on our own. Well to my disappointment the day we will be in Rome is May 1st and the Vatican Museum is closed because of a holiday. So my question to BOE 21 day tour alums did you have enough free time the day before to maybe be able to go see the museum (when we arrive in Rome)? I would hope so because that would be very sad that we are there and cannot see this place. Any information would be greatly appreciated. I know there is always a chance that some places will be closed but if there is a way to see the museum that first afternoon it would be great.

Posted by
469 posts

Hi Carole -- if your tour is anything like ours, you will absolutely not have time to visit the Vatican Museum on the first day in Rome. The itinery for that day is packed with visits to the major sights and an extensive guided walking tour. It was one of the most exhausting (but also amazing) days on the tour, and I couldn't believe how much we saw and did on just that one day. It was also one of the longest days we spent together as a group -- I know we didn't return to the hotel until after 10 p.m.

One suggestion would be for you to keep watching the RS tour listings, and if they schedule an additional tour close to the time of the one you want to take, check to see if the museum is open on the day you would have free to visit it, and then switch your tour dates. Since I'm sure you don't have plane reservations for April yet, you should be fine to do that....and it does seem like they add lots of extra tours as the existing ones fill up.

Posted by
697 posts

I have another question regarding Rome.....It says St Peter's Basillica is included......pardon my ignorance, but is the Sistine Chapel included here?

Posted by
177 posts

Kathy the sistine chapel is part of the Vatican Museum. That is not included on the 21 day tour this year but they say (RS) you will have time to see the museum on your own.

Posted by
697 posts

Oh no! We are looking at the same tour as you and it doesn't look as if this is possible to do on day 12 as that day is very busy. :( I prefer the days of that first tour......but not being able to see the Sistine Chapel may be a deal breaker for us.

Posted by
177 posts

Kathy I was very concerned about the same thing so I sent an email to the tour department. They said that each tour could have some changes so since the holiday is the day to be at the Vatican they would probably make changes. I will PM you what they sent me.

Posted by
295 posts

We often have to reorder group sightseeing to accommodate holidays and festivals. For this departure, we will reorganize group time to allow for entry to the Vatican Museum. For more information about this specific departure, please contact the Tour Sales department at tour@ricksteves.com