Vatican Museums - Sistine Chapel, Rome

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  • codrutz's Profile Photo

    Vatican Museum - watch out for the cue

    by codrutz Written Jan 22, 2006

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    The Vatican Museum is the first museum that should come to your mind when in Rome. Entry price is over EUR 10 but it is all worth it. What you should be aware of is the waiting cue - when I got up in the day scheduled for visiting Musei Vaticani (the italian name) - getting off the metro station with the same name, I've seen the biggest cue I have ever seen in my life. The cue of people was at least 4 people wide and it was stretched along the wall of the Vatican, measuring at least 2 kilometers !! and probably would took me two hours to reach the entry. Be warned for fake guides that carry an umbrella or a Rome guide, saying he have places in the cue for a 'free' guided tour. Those are not at all official guides, it is a scam and you will pay for their 'services'. So, instead of staying the first hours of the morning at the cue, with the sun in my head, I have visited San Pietro Basilica, for about four or five hours, and when I got back, surprise, the cue was merely a few meters.

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  • abarbieri's Profile Photo

    Guided Tour of Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel!!

    by abarbieri Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    If you wish to Visit the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel and you are not willing to be on a long line to get in, you have two options:
    1) go there at lunch time 1-2pm when big groups are normally having lunch.
    2) book a guided tour arranged directly by the Vatican Museums with highly professional guides.
    Once you get to the museum(15 min. earlier) tell the sicuruty at the exit gate on Viale Vaticano, that you have the tickets booked and they will show you where to pay for the visit.
    The visit cost 23.50 euro per person and group will be of about 30 people.The visit will last 2 hours.
    Make sure you send the request well in advance (only by fax):
    +39.06.69885100; You can also give them a ring to double check: +39.06.69884676 (with out +39 if you are already in Rome!!)
    If you are going to visit the museum on your own I suggest to check the official opening times and closed dates on the Vatican Museums web site. Here is the link:
    http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Info.html
    I have seen many wrong information on several guide books and other web sites.

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  • Lacristina's Profile Photo

    Tips on Visiting the Vatican Museums

    by Lacristina Updated May 8, 2008

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    Rafael's extraordinary School of Athens fresco

    Update, Apr '08. New extended entry times at the Vatican! Your guidebook is probably out of date. Even better news! Lines may become a thing of the past. Starting June 1, tickets for the Vatican Museums will be available for purchase online at www.vaticanstate.va. WOW! If this is true, I am delighted.

    The new hours: The museums are now open all year from 8:30 to 18:00 (6 pm) (last entry 16:00 (4 pm), including Saturdays!

    For now, if not booking a tour, best to go around noon (winter) or later (as early as late March), when the line is shorter. I've taken the Vatican's own tour, and although you skip some collections, the tour was good. You can go back to see whatever you missed after the tour. Book a tour or check the schedule here: http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Info.html

    The last Sunday of the month, it's free but packed! Mondays are crowded because most other museums are closed. See my tip here: Free Sundays at the Vatican.

    Helpful, but not necessary to rent an audio guide; many exhibits have English signs. The Sistine Chapel is a long way from the entrance. If you rent an audio guide, you'll have to go all the way back to return it & retrieve your ID. Otherwise, you can exit right onto St. Peter's.

    With your back to the altar in the Sistine Chapel, exit via the right hand door instead of the left.

    On the way to the Sistine Chapel, you can visit several museum collections (Egyptian, Etruscan, the Raphael Rooms, etc.) or you can skip them. It's up to you. But these collections are truly wonderful. Note that the Painting Gallery, the Pinacoteca, is the opposite direction at the museum entrance.

    The cafeteria has decent food at reasonable prices. Bathrooms are nearby and also near the Sistine Chapel.

    Do yourself a favor with a bit of research on the Sistine Chapel before you go. Otherwise it's so overwhelming you won't know what you're looking at. Buy or borrow a book, or try a website like: http://www.christusrex.org/www1/sistine/0-Tour.html

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  • jenn5179's Profile Photo

    What to see at the Holy See....

    by jenn5179 Written Jan 21, 2008

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    The Vatican is an entire day of sightseeing in itself -- they are not kidding when they say get there early... the line is around the block by 8 in the morning!

    If you can afford the 45euro or so per person, hop in with a tour group. The line is shorter and you get someone to walk you through and explain lots of the pieces in the museum.
    The tour we took went through the museum and ended in the Sistine Chape,l

    From there, we explored the Sistine Chapel, headed back inside for a bite to eat in the cafeteria, and then got in line to climb the dome of St Peter's Basilica.

    After that, get in line to go under to the catacombs and see the tombs of past popes.

    Once you get inside St Peter's, walk the perimeter so as not to miss anything - there are so many beautiful areas inside. Plus, you will see some of the popes that were cannonized (made a saint) Papal law says if a pope is up for sainthood, their remains must be brought up to the basilicia for public viewing. It sounds gross, but it is somewhat amazing.

    After St Peter's, walk out the main doors into the square.

    I highly recommend that one plans on spending at least 6-8 hours on the premises so they can stop and enjoy all that is around them.
    Don't forget your camera, you can take photos in most places on the grounds.

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  • Sandi-2004's Profile Photo

    The Sistene Chapel in St. Peter's

    by Sandi-2004 Written Sep 17, 2004

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    The ceiling painted by Michelangelo

    Built between 1475 and 1483, the Sistine Chapel is today the Pope's official private chapel in the Vatican and the place where cardinals from around the world assemble to elect new popes.

    The chapel is rectangular in shape and measures 40.93 meters long by 13.41 meters wide (the exact dimensions of the Temple of Solomon, as given in the Old Testament). It is 20.70 meters high and roofed by a flattened barrel vault.

    The Sistine Chapel's main attraction is its magnificent artwork, including Michelangelo's "The Last Judgment", a spectacular fresco covering thousands of square feet of the chapel's ceiling and wall and a "Genesis" ceiling fresco, also painted by Michelangelo, depicting God creating Adam. Botticelli's masterpiece "Temptations of Christ" can also be viewed in the chapel.

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  • WheninRome's Profile Photo

    Vatican Museum

    by WheninRome Updated Jan 24, 2009

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    Inside the Vatican Museum
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    Give yourself enough time for the Vatican Museum and Saint Peter's Basilica. We did not! We got there about 0900 on New Year's Eve and did not have enough time to see everything, especially since the sites closed early that day.

    We went to the Vatican Museum first. Two very important tips 1) either buy your tickets ahead or purchase a tour and 2) Do not check your bags if you don't have to. We had a backpack and would not have had to check it, but we did anyway and that was a big mistake - one that probably cost us seeing the inside of St. Peter's Basilica. Be careful about purchasing a tour, we had pre-purchased tickets (which we had to purchase a month in advance because they sell out quickly) from the Vatican website, but would have purchased a tour through a reputable company like Romewalks (recommended by Rick Steves) otherwise. If you wait in line to buy a ticket expect a 2+ hour wait!

    You have to go through security before entering. They didn't make us check our backpack, but we did anyway. The museum is huge and probably impossible to see all in 1 day. We started our tour with the tapesty and map gallery rooms. The map gallery was one of my favorites, though the room was extremely crowded and the large tour groups very annoying as they shoved their way through. We went through many more rooms decorated from top to bottom with breathtaking artwork including even modern art.

    We missed the Ancient World galleries including the Egyptian Room and Greek sculptures. Oh well, something to see next time!

    One of the last rooms we toured was the Sistine Chapel. No pictures allowed. Words cannot due it justice, you must see for yourself.

    The reason why checking the backpack was a mistake - there is an open door to the right at the end of the Sistine Chapel that will take you into St. Peter's Basilica. The door is marked "tours only", but according to Rick Steves you won't get stopped if you use it, which appeared to be correct. However, we had to go back to the entrance and get the backpack.

    We purchased a couple trinkets for family members in the gift shop, got our backpack, and walked around the outside of Vatican City to get to the square and St. Peter's.

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  • Paul2001's Profile Photo

    The Vatican Museums

    by Paul2001 Written Mar 24, 2004

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    Map Room, The Vatican Museums
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    The Vatican Museums is the home of the of greatest and largest collections of art in the world. It is so large that a thorough visit of all the treasures that he serious of museums have to offer, is a very daunting task. For this reason the museums offer for colour coded itineraries. Each is suppose to take a certain amount of time for a tour and is geared to what your interest might be. As the collections are highly varied in interest it is almost certain that most visitors will find that some of the galleries are not for them, so decide before hand which galleries you are most interested in seeing and then choice from the map at the museums entrance which tour will go through these galleries. I took the yellow coded itinerary during my tour and think this covered a fair amount of ground. No matter which itinerary you choice, all of them visit the Sistine Chapel, the most famous room in all of the museums.
    Other rooms that you should consider are the Raphael Rooms which of course feature some of the greatest works of Raphael. The Borgia Apartments which were designed for Pope Alexander VI. The Pio Clementino Museum which has an excellect collection of Greek and Roman sculpture. The Pinacoteca features some of the finest works by major Renaissance and Baroque artist as Raphael and Caravaggio. The Collection of Modern Religious Art has religious works by such notables as Chagall, Picasso and most important Rouault whom there is an entire room dedicated to. The Egyptian-Gregorian Museum has a decent collection of ancient Egyptian pieces including mummies
    The museums are open from 8:45am to 3:45pm Monday to Friday. On Saturday they are open until 1:45pm. The museums are only open on Sunday on the last Sunday of the month from 8:45am to 1:45pm. Admission is 10 Euros.

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  • zadunajska8's Profile Photo

    Vatican Museums - Amazingly Commercial!

    by zadunajska8 Written Oct 23, 2011

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    Courtyard in the Vatican Museums
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    The exhibits within the Vatican Museums are simply amazing and so because of these it would be impossible for me to rate the place as any less than very good. It is a "must visit" place at least once. In fact it's not just the exhibits, but also the building itself which are worth seeing.
    We visited on the day before the monthly "free" day (last Sunday of the month is free admission) becuase it was our last day in Rome. This may have explained the absence of the queue to get in as most tourist were probably waiting to go in free on the next day. The extent of the queue barriers did give us an idea of just how long the queues might get at times! We paid 15 euros to get in each and 7 euros each for the audio guide. You do need the audio guide as there are little if any descriptions of the items on display as you go around the museum. The audioguide was probably the best we had in Rome.
    Clearly the key attraction bringing most people is the Sistine chapel and the presence of the large and noisy tour groups pushing quickly forward to reach that goal does ruin much of the rest of the museum for others. Most of these people don't even seem to be looking around them as they march onwards. That is their loss. It does mean however that some of the 'side' exhibitions which are not on the direct path from entrance to sistine chapel are much more relaxed places to visit, such as the Etruscan section.
    The sistine chapel is one of those places most people want to go and see in their lives but it is suprising how small and dark it is after what you see on TV. Impressive all the same. It was a little amusing to see the signs as you go into the chapel telling people that it is a sacred place and asking for silence as the tours groups and their guides totally ignore this and so the Vatican has people who walk around the chapel saying "shhhh" all day. It doesn't work of course, which is a shame as the experience would undoubtedly be better if it were peaceful in there.
    The Rafael rooms were, in my opinion, just as impressive as the Sistine Chapel and there is a very interesting display of modern art in the Bogia apartments.
    What I had not been expecting was just how commercial the place is! Every few rooms you seem to be deposited into another gift shop. Some of the stuff seemed very tacky to me (Golden statues of the pope etc) but I suppose some people must like it or they wouldn't sell it.
    The caffeteria is very noisy but not any more over priced than most of central Rome. The staff here did seem particularly grumpy and disinterested in their jobs though, although this did start to become a theme as we went round the museum.
    During the last 2 hours of the day the tour groups start to disappear and so it becomes much easier to properly view and enjoy the exhibits so don't leave until you've made good use of this time.

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  • Paisleypaul's Profile Photo

    Vatican Museum

    by Paisleypaul Updated Jun 19, 2005

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    Number 1 in Heaven ?

    Little to say about the art collection in the Vatican Museum on the way in to the Capella Sistina not already put so eloquently elsewhere, other than maybe... .... miraculous ? ...... Did any other Guns 'n' Roses fans spot this on the wall? (cf. Use Your Illusion I & II (Geffen, 1991))

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  • ruki's Profile Photo

    Vatican Museums

    by ruki Written Sep 6, 2005

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    It's all here in abundance, the best of the best, in the elongated complex known as the Vatican Museums, which also provides access to the famous Raphael rooms and Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. During high season, I suggest that you go in the afternoon, when the crowds are much lighter, and if possible, to avoid Saturday entirely!
    Open Mon-Fri 8:45am-3:45pm (admission until 2.20pm ) April-Oct; Mon-Fri 8.45am-1.45pm (admission until 12.20pm ) Nov-Mar. Open Sat 8.45am-1.45pm (admission until 12.20pm ) year-round. Open and free on the last Sunday of the month, same hours as Sat. Closed Catholic holidays. € 12; reduced € 8 (26 or under with ISIC card).

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  • rcsparty's Profile Photo

    Vatican Museum

    by rcsparty Updated Jan 10, 2007

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    GET HERE EARLY!!! The lines that form outside this museum are as breathtaking as the exhibits inside. That said, no matter how long the wait, it's worth it. There are 8 museums and 5 galleries, along with the Sistine Chapel inside. The roof of the Sistine Chapel was painted by Michaelangelo. If you get to the museum early, go to the Sistine Chapel right away, as it fills up quickly and tends to be the place that people linger. You can always go back to other exhibits.

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  • sylvie-uk's Profile Photo

    fresco in the vatican museum

    by sylvie-uk Written Jun 13, 2004

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    fresco in the vatican museum

    i m going to be very honest , i dont know the name of this fresco and what scene it represents, because first it was too crowded the day i went and couldnt get to the explanation of it and second i dont think i could remember the names of all these scenes.

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  • AlexDJ's Profile Photo

    Vatican Museum

    by AlexDJ Written May 19, 2006

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    The Vatican Museums are one of the most famous and renowned cultural institutions of the Vatican State. They are known everywhere because of the masterpieces which are collected and preserved here during the ages. The Vatican Museums include the most important and artistically significant rooms of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, such as the “Cappella Niccolina” with paintings by Beato Angelico, the “Appartamento Borgia” with decorations by Pinturicchio, the “Stanze” painted by Raphael and, of course, the Sistine Chapel with frescoes by Michelangelo as well as the most important 15th century masters from Umbria and Tuscany.
    Prepare yourself to wait for a long time before reaching the entrance, because normally people queue up to 1Km! The last sunday of each month the entrance is free of charge.

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  • stevemt's Profile Photo

    The Vatican Museum's and The Sistine Chapel

    by stevemt Updated Sep 2, 2008

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    A Ceiling
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    First thing to do is get up really early, have breakfast, and get to the entry point as early as you can. The queue's for so fast and when our group arrived 1/2 hour befor opening the queue was already like 1/2 mile long.

    The vatican museum's are incredible. They are extremly well set out, and quite easy to follow the map. A guided tour is good as you get the benefit of the guides local knowledge of the exhibits. There are mile and milre of corridors and you get to see only a fraction of them. I want to gop back some day and get to see some of the ones that I didnt' see.

    Some of the ones that come to mind are the Map Gallery, The Tapestry Gallery and so it goes on and on and on.

    The Sistine Chapel is the highlite of the tour and is kind of mind blowing. There is supposed to be silence there (very very hard to control) and no photography (which they try to control)

    Its well worth seeing

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  • jmhenry1123's Profile Photo

    Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

    by jmhenry1123 Written Sep 28, 2004

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    Musei Vaticani Entrance

    You can easily spend your entire vacation in the Vatican Museum due to their expansive collection.

    Try to get a ticket reservation and go early in the morning to avoid long lines. Believe me, the extra money you spend on the reservation is worth avoiding 3 hours standing in line.

    Mondays are not the days to go to the Vatican Museum. All other museums are closed and it gives everyone the same brilliant idea of going to the Vatican museum.

    If you only see 2 things in the Vatican Museum it should be the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms. You will be blown away by the enormity of the chapel and will have an appreciation for the labor and passion Michelangelo put into his art. The Last Judgment panel is also very stunning. Look for Michelangelo's self-portrait in the skin of St. Bartholomew.

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