Ahh Vatican City, the holy place for the Catholic Church. It’s supposed to be a place of peace and of sanctuary…eh not exactly. Going to the Vatican is definitely a must do when you go to Rome. However, it can get extremely overwhelming trying to push through the crowds and finding how to get in. Here’s what I learned:
1. But your tickets online before you go, so you can skip the line. You can go directly on the Vatican’s website and pay 17 Euros a person. Or you can opt to pay a few hundred euros per person to go in with a tour guide. It all just depends on what experience you want to make out of it. Just don’t be these people who have to wait in line:
2. When you arrive at the front square of the Vatican, you will be swarmed by vendors trying to sell you items (selfie sticks, children’s toys,ect) and those trying to sell you tickets. There are legitimate official employees scattered, trying to help you. However with how many illegitimate people there are, they can be hard to spot. When you get the square go all the way to the right and walk around the huge wall until you get the front entrance of the Vatican museum. If you have a ticket already, do NOT wait in the long line. Simply go through the museum doors to get to security.
3. If you bought your tickets online from the Vatican, go through the security checkpoint and to your left you will see ticket booths. Bring your printed confirmation to the ticket booth and your passport, and they will hand you your entrance ticket. Walk up the stairs and you are in the museum. That is it! It should take you 10 minutes from the time you get to Vatican City to the point of being inside the museum.
4. In the museum is the famous Sistine Chapel. I hate to ruin your fantasy of this beautiful and peaceful chapel, but it is quite the opposite. You will wait 1-2 hours in line to get into the chapel. Luckily you are walking through the museum, so the time tends to go by fast. However, as you get closer, the line moves slower and it gets more crammed and hot. Once you are in the chapel, you will be huddled into the middle and will constantly be told “Silenco” and “no photos”. Not that peaceful eh? Still it was worth it for us to see. You make the call, boss.
5. There are a ton of food places around the Vatican so you will not go hungry. Just note that some places only take cash.
6. Just like in Rome, carry a water bottle and fill it up at the free city water fountains. Please, please do not buy the frozen bottles from street vendors. The seals are already broken and it’s free to get water from the fountains around the city. Not worth it.
Enjoy the Vatican. It really is a beautiful and moving place. Just make sure you are being smart about your schedule and plan ahead!
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