At Roma Experience, it’s our mission to make your experience of Rome, a magical one. So when it comes to the city’s biggest attractions, we believe it’s very important to be well-researched. If you’re planning on visiting the Vatican during your next trip to wonderful Rome, be sure to read our tips below in order to easily avoid negligences that could lead to trouble. When it comes to seamless travel ask advice to expert locals. It’s the small things that make a huge difference to your holiday. Here are 5 top tips for visiting the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel:
TIP #1 | Don’t Go to the Vatican Without a Guide
The Vatican is much more than just a tourist attraction. It’s a city within a city, and when it comes to its sheer size (which is frighteningly vast) and the amount of artwork on display, it truly is an unbelievable place. For newcomers, it’s also incredibly overwhelming so we would always recommend take a guided tour, even better with a private guide, to walk you through the magnificent works of artists of the caliber of Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini and many many more.
TIP #2 | Plan Ahead
The biggest mistake most tourists make when visiting Vatican City is simply turning up on the day. Without an advanced booking or designated tour guide, you could be waiting up to 4 or 5 hours in the colossal queue. If the blistering heat of summer isn’t enough to put you off the long queuing times, the unofficial ticket sellers who persistently approach you might be. Booking a tour with Roma Experience Tours will allow you to skip the lines for queues at all the entry points, from the museums to the Basilica—beware: if you visit them separately you will have to stand in line twice! However, if you visit in the winter low season then crowds are smaller too so you will not be as badly affected by those things.
TIP #3 | Set Aside Enough Time
The Vatican is vast; it’s actually classed as a country in its own right. Sites to see within Vatican City include the Vatican Museums, The Gallery of Maps and the Hall of Tapestries, Raphael’s Rooms and the Cupola, not to mention the various other attractions such as St. Peter’s Basilica and Piazza with the stunning breathtaking Bernini’s colonnade. Be sure to make time to refuel too as it will be a long (and tiring) day. Just north of the Vatican, you will find the Prati and Trionfale districts where you can grab a bite to eat any time of day. We found out that for most people three hours inside the Vatican is about the right balance, but when booking a private tour of the Vatican you will always be able to add extra hours to your tour with Roma Experience.
TIP #4 | Understand the Dress Code
Dressing appropriately is extremely important before visiting the Vatican – so make sure you have considered this before packing your suitcases for Rome. Sleeveless blouses, miniskirts, shorts and hats are not permitted. If in doubt, wear layers so you can cover up when inside. Large bags or backpacks are not to be carried into the museums so travel lightly if possible. Otherwise, there are cloakrooms upon entry where you can check in your belongings. To this, we should also add that the Vatican corridors are huge and the rooms endless: some have air conditioning, some have not, so it is a good idea to have an adjustable attire.
TIP #5 | Visit the Cupola
At the end of your Vatican Tour with Roma Experience, you will have the chance to climb up to the cupola – the dome of St Peter’s Basilica. Between you and one of the most spectacular panoramic of Rome there only stand 537 steps. But you will have the chance not only to admire a stunning view of the city but you will also be able to stop halfway to look down on the nave of the Basilica, and inside at the main altar, before continuing to the top of the Dome to look down on Rome and see the iconic view of St Peter’s Square. You don’t need a guide to do this, so it should be a must when you visit the Vatican!