Operation Vatican: What and When to See in Order Not to Miss Anything
The smallest European state with one of the largest collections of masterpieces of art, a symbol of church power and wealth, which is the center of the entire Catholic world, a place with a special status, history and secrets that have not yet been unraveled - it's all about the unique Vatican.
In the new article, Travellizy Team will reveal some secrets and tell you what to see in the Vatican and how long it will take.
The Vatican city-state annually attracts more and more people, regardless of their religion, because this is where the famous Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel are located as well as St. Peter’s Cathedral with its stunning dome and St. Peter’s Square, designed by Bernini in the 17th century.
Getting to the Vatican is very easy - take the regional train to Roma S. Pietro for € 1 or take the metro to Ottaviano for € 1.5, if you plan to start with the Vatican Museums. Many people believe that since the total area of the Vatican is only 0.44 sq. km, then visiting this small state will not take much time, so they don't plan in advance and as a result don't have time to see everything that they wanted, because they already know that the entrance to The Cathedral of St. Peter and the entrance to the Vatican Museums are located in different locations and without prior planning, you can lose 2-3 hours in each queue. Our article will help you in planning your visit to the Vatican competently, so you will get a maximum of positive impressions from it.
Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
The Vatican Museums are in the TOP 10 most visited museums in the world, and they have one of the largest collections of works of art. A lot of people want to see the famous Sistine Chapel, one of the greatest treasures of the Vatican, Rome and the world in general. The ceiling and walls of the hall, where the election of the new Pope takes place, are completely covered with frescoes and, due to the small size of the chapel, a stunning visual effect is created.
Every year, the Vatican museums are visited by more than 6 million people. Everyone has the opportunity to get their own unique experience - from a regular visit and a guided tour to exclusive options with breakfast or dinner in the Pine Cone Yard or a restaurant on the territory of museums (depending on weather conditions). You can even participate in the solemn ceremony of opening doors and turning on the light with the key keeper at 6 am!
The Vatican Museums are open from Monday to Saturday from 09:00 to 18:00 (you can enter until 16:00). A standard ticket costs € 17 for an adult and € 8 for children from 6 to 18 years old, with an audio guide - € 24 and € 15, respectively, for children under 6 years of age, admission is free. To save a couple of hours of time, we recommend you pre-book a ticket online for € 4, as the queue length at the entrance is often no less impressive than masterpieces in museums.
With an audio guide, a whole day will not be enough if you stop in each room and listen to a description of all the exhibits. And if your time to visit museums is limited, but at the same time you want to learn as many interesting facts as possible and not to miss the most important masterpieces, we recommend booking a two-hour excursion “Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel” with a guide for € 33 (including entrance ticket and online reservation).
There is also a great opportunity to skip the queue at St. Peter’s Basin by booking a 3-hour tour of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Cathedral with a guide for € 38 (including entrance ticket and online booking). So you get to the Cathedral through the secret door from the Sistine Chapel, and not from the square. The passage is possible, when you are accompanied by a licensed guide, although many individual tourists also used this door, because groups had not previously been checked there. Since July 1, 2019, the rules have changed, and now you need to pay an additional € 1.5 for this opportunity, and only your guide can book a special ticket. It is important not to leave anything in the wardrobe, because when using the passage to the Cathedral through the Sistine Chapel, you can no longer go back to the museums.
It is better to book tickets on the official site.
Every last Sunday of the month from 09:00 to 14:00 (entrance only until 12:30), the Vatican museums can be visited for free, but then you have to stand in a long queue.
St. Peter's Basilica and St. Peter's Dome
Many people come to the Vatican to the opening of St. Peter’s Cathedral at 07:00, not only to visit the greatest temple, but also to climb one of its most impressive parts, the dome. It is open from October 1 to March 31 from 7:30 to 17:00 and from April 1 to September 30 from 7:30 to 18:00. So, if you want to photograph this stunning view from a height of 136 meters, it is better to come early, while the sun is not too bright and there is a good light for the photo.
Entrance to the cathedral from the square is free, but for the ascent to the dome, you will have to pay € 8 and overcome 551 steps. You can also reduce this distance to 320 steps and ride the elevator part of the way for € 10.
A Postcard from the Vatican
Would you like to surprise your friends and relatives with an original souvenir? Send them a postcard with a postal stamp of the Holy See and a stamp with the image of the Pope. The postal kiosk is located right on St. Peter's Square, and if there is a lot of people here, then there is the Poste Vaticane (a post office) not far from the square.
By the way, forget about a new stamp in your passport, because only here, you can cross the border without passport control and customs. Also, you will not meet the indigenous people here, because even those who live in the Vatican and are its citizens were not born on its territory. The Vatican is an absolutely unique and unusual state that is worth a visit at least once in a lifetime!