Pack the Suitcase & Go

6 Tips for Visiting the Vatican Museum

Okay friends, I am finally getting my blogging act together and writing up a few thoughts on heading to the Eternal City of Rome.   We had a wonderful time in exploring the city, and I am excited to share some thoughts with you all.  

I thought the best place to start would be with a few tips for exploring and visiting the Vatican Museum.  Here are my six tips for anyone looking to spend a day at the Vatican Museum….

Pre-book tickets

When planning a visit to the Vatican Museum, it is important to pre-book your tickets but do so directly with the Vatican Museum. When you pre-book, you will see that there are plenty of options for your visit including an evening tour, breakfast at the Vatican or tours of the garden.

When we booked you pre-select a block of time and then the e-mail confirmation is sent to you. You will need the confirmation e-mail to enter the museum, to be sure to take a screenshot of it while you have access to Wifi.

Having the pre-booked tickets allows you to skip a very long line without any issues and pay for the tickets in advance. We opted for the admission with audio guide at €16 per person, which was a perfect option for us.

Go early

We opted to pre-book our tickets for 9:30, as we wanted to be there before the museum became too busy or crowded. The earlier morning start time was a good call for us as we skipped the lines (thanks to the pre-booked tickets) and really got underway with exploring the museum around 9:45. For the most part, the exhibits were not overly crowded and there was an easy flow with the visitors.

When we left the museum around midday, it was seeming to get much busier so I am glad we planned it the way that we did.

Get the audio tour

As mentioned, we pre-booked our tickets with an audio guide which I would 100% recommend to anyone (especially if you are not a tour). Within the Vatican Museums, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of treasures and works of art to view, without the guide it is really difficult to grasp the history of everything. But my favorite part? There was plenty included in the audio guide for the Sistine Chapel, the main event for visiting the Vatican Museum.

 

Go with the Flow

It is important to note that the Vatican Museum has a set flow for visitors with a specific order of exhibits and traffic rather than free-flowing exhibits. This is important to keep in mind as you see BIG tour groups enter as they can take up an entire room or space. Instead, hang back a bit or try to sneak ahead.And of course, the Sistine Chapel is a bit removed in the tour and layout which means it is a bit of a trek getting to the famous chapel.

Grab a break before the Sistine Chapel

By the time you reach the Sistine Chapel, you are ready for a bit of a break so it’s wonderful planning that there is a little cafe and restroom right before the entrance. We decided for a bit of a pit stop, with espressos and pastries, while reading up on the Sistine Chapel. In the cafe, we were even lucky enough to snag a seat for a perfectly timed break.

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Marvel at the Sistine Chapel

When you’ve finally made it to the Sistine Chapel, one of the most stunning places, allow yourself to simply marvel. There is no photography or talking allowed in the chapel so the best thing to do is take it all in. The scale of the paintings is dramatic, so allow yourself to soak it all in. Take your time. Read the guide book or listen to the audio guide. Allow yourself to seek the awe of the Sistine Chapel.

It’s also worth noting that Neal and I spent about 4 hours in the museum, but you could easily spend an entire day staring at the beauty and art. For us, it was well timed and not too crowded,

 

Tell me, have you visited the Vatican Museum? What advice would you give to a first-time visitor? What was your favorite part of your visit?

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