Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani)
Small-group guided tours or skip-the-line tickets help guarantee hassle-free access to this popular attraction. Private morning tours offering early access (before the museums are open to the general public) are also excellent ways to enjoy the Vatican’s treasures in relative peace, while many group tours combine the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel with St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Gardens. If you’re traveling with kids, consider a kid-friendly guided tour that focuses on the museum’s highlights.
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Things to Know Before You Go
Entry lines often stretch for blocks, and wait times can be two or three hours, especially in summer—book in advance.
Vatican Museums tickets include entrance to the Sistine Chapel, and the same opening hours apply.
Appropriate behavior and attire (shoulders, knees, and abdomen covered) are required to enter the Sistine Chapel.
Security for entering the museum complex includes a metal detector.
There is a free cloakroom where you can check large bags, umbrellas, and luggage.
How to Get There
The Vatican Museums complex is adjacent to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The Ottaviano station, on metro Line A, is about a five-minute walk away, while many city tours pass by or include a stop at this popular spot.
When to Get There
The Vatican Museums sees crowds of travelers year-round. It's busiest in summer, when skip-the-line tickets or a private tour guide are essential; the museums are less crowded during winter. At any time of year, the museums are most crowded at midday, so aim to visit in the early morning or late afternoon if you’re looking for a more laid-back experience.
Seeing the Pope at the Vatican
Each week, usually on Wednesday mornings, the pope and cardinals give a papal address in St. Peter’s Square. Throngs descend for the papal audience, so be sure to book official tickets in advance if you want to secure your slot to see the pope deliver his weekly message.
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