The Vatican Museums are one of the most famous collection of art in the world. They display works from the immense collection amassed by Popes throughout the centuries. Who hasn’t heard of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo?
If you want to visit this huge complex of galleries and rooms, you must know some simple rules.
1 – Check opening days and hours, free admissions and night openings
First of all, of course, you must know when the Museums are closed: every Sunday, and every Catholic festivity day, such as Christmas, Easter, Epiphany, the Assumption of Mary.
The usual opening time is from 9.00am to 6.00pm, with the last entrance allowed at 4.00pm.
However, there are exceptions: from April to October on Fridays there is a night opening time, in the period of Easter there is an extended opening time till 7.00pm, and on the last Sunday of each month the Museums are open for free in the morning. If you choose to visit on a free Sunday, bear in mind that you can’t make a reservation (you must stand in line to enter), and usually these days are quite crowded.
Here you can find the complete 2020 calendar
2- Buy your tickets in advance
The line to enter inside the Vatican Museums is usually very long, but you can skip the one for the tickets purchasing them online. It’s a good rule to buy the tickets pretty soon, so you can also choose the time slot you prefer, especially during Summer and near to Easter and Christmas, when the first time slots in the morning run out fast.
This is the official site where you can buy the tickets and handle your reservation (change the date of the visit, get another voucher, etc.):
You can choose different types of tours, if you want an audioguide, or if you want to join a guided tour. The basic ticket for an adult costs 21€, and can be reserved up to 60 days before the date of the intended visit.
To make the reservation online you should have on hand an identity document and names of all the participants. After the reservation request, you’ll receive a voucher with the reservation code and tour information. Print off the voucher (it is also possible to show it on a smartphone or tablet) to present it on the day of the tour.
3 – How to get there
The most fast and easy way to get to the Vatican is by Metro. Take line A, direction Battistini, and get off at Ottaviano or Cipro stations. Then proceed 5-10 minutes by foot, following the signs.
By bus: number 49 stops right in the square in front of the Vatican Museums.
Another very characteristic alternative, is taking the tram, one of the oldest vehicles in Rome: number 19, stops in Piazza del Risorgimento, 5-10 minutes by foot from the Museums.
By taxi: can be more comfortable, especially with kids. Taxi rank in the square in front of the Vatican Museums
4 – Know what is prohibited: dress code and security checks.
To facilitate and speed up security checks, be sure to follow the rules. There’s a dress code to enter inside the Museums, as you know, is still the Vatican, and the Sistine Chapel is an actual place of worship! Low cut or sleeveless clothing, shorts, miniskirts and hats are not allowed.
The security checks are made by metal detector, and you can’t bring with you big bags, luggage, umbrellas, sticks (apart from those used for walking), tripods, video cameras, knives, scissors… If you have these items, leave them in the cloakroom beforehand (the cloakroom service is free of charge).
5 – Choose a path for your visit
The complex is huge, one of the biggest Museum of the world, you can’t see everything in one day. Just take a look of what you are most interested in, and select an itinerary. Here you can find a useful map and a list of the collections.
Of course the most famous and important of all the highlights, is the Sistine Chapel: you must reach the far end of the Museums to find it. And then, just enjoy its splendor, nose up and speechless…
Brake the rules!
There’s another easier way to visit the Vatican Museums and enjoy the highlights without worrying of transportation or buying an audioguide, and it is to reserve our Vatican tour: our professional driver will meet you at your hotel in Rome, drive you comfortably to the Vatican and an authorized guide will walk with you through the main collections.