10 Things To Know When Visiting The Vatican
10 Things To Know When Visiting The Vatican And St. Peter’s Basilica
- There will be dozens of people who look professional, with badges, who will try to sell you tickets to the Vatican museums. I recommend that you buy your ticket online ahead of time to save yourself from getting scammed and to save LOADS of time in the queues. Put your head down, walk fast and ignore the people trying to stop you (they might even shout at you!) and go straight through to the entrance.
- I was surprised there were hardly any signs showing you where the entrance to the museum is. If you see St. Peter’s (trust me you’ll see it!) face it and then turn right and walk through the pillars along the wall of the city. Walk all the way around with the wall on your left (follow the crowds at this point) until you come to the entrance. The walk will take between 10-15 minutes if you walk fast.
- Your ticket will be time specific so make sure you allow plenty of time to get there. However, I’m not sure how strict they are on the timings because we were about an hour late for our time slot (we may have gotten lost…) and nobody mentioned it. BUT better to be safe than sorry.
- There are free bathrooms and a few café’s dotted around the museums as you go through- take advantage when you see one!
- I assume you’re eager to see the Sistene Chapel and you should be! Two things, you have to go through ALL of the museums to get into the chapel. This will take two hours at least if you don’t want to rush. Also, remember you’re not allowed to take photos or videos in the chapel. This is a place you should just experience.
- To get into St. Peter’s Basilica you have to go back along the city wall the way you came. I promise you will see a huge queue to get through security, just jump in line. Around mid-day this line was nearly wrapped around the whole of St. Peter’s square but when we got there an hour to closing we only waited about 45 minutes in the line. Be patient, it’s worth it.
- You will need to wear appropriate clothing to enter the church. No shorts or flip flops or tank tops. They will also ask you to remove your hat if you’re wearing one.
- There are specific times to see the tombs of the popes, known as the Vatican Grottoes, so make sure you check that before getting your hopes up.
- Get a free map in the gift shop to help navigate your way around the church and get more info on what exactly you’re looking at.
- The pope comes out to greet the crowds every Wednesday if you want to say hi!
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