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Visit to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum:

Capilla Sixtina

  • Brief description: you cannot leave Rome without seeing the famous Sistine Chapel, in which Michelangelo painted in such a masterful way "The Creation". It is in the interior of the Vatican Museum and it is well worth putting up with the long queues in order to get in. As well as the Sistine Chapel the museum contains numerous exhibitions and works of art, which will keep you fascinated for a whole day, so go at your own pace! The best things to see are the Raphael rooms, the Etruscan Museum and the Museum of Pio Clementino.
  • Length of visit: minimum 2-3h
  • Opening times: Monday to Saturday from 09.00-18.00 (last entry at 16.00). Open the last Sunday of every month from 9.00-14.00 (last entry at 12.30). Closed the rest of Sundays and public holidays. 
  • Cost: €17 (€8 children) but the queues are endless, especially on Saturdays. That is why it is always better to buy the ticket online. On the official website of the Vatican, the additional fee is only €4 but they sell out in seconds (they leave 60 days in advance). The agency bots buy all the tickets in an instant and there are none left for the general public. That is why the only alternative is to go with an agency, even if it costs you much more. In the next section we explain the best way to get tickets.
  • Where to buy tickets: the cheapest option is with Getyourguide (€37, although initially it says €29). When buying the ticket through their website they will give you a voucher that you will have to exchange at the box office but you will be able to skip the queue of those who do not have a ticket. When you arrive you will see that the long line runs along the Vatican wall. Go to the right (it looks like another queue but it goes faster) or directly along the other sidewalk (the one on the right) until you reach the front door. The biggest one that you will see in the center is actually the exit. The front door is smaller and is on the left. There, straight ahead, there is an entrance that is where the groups pass through. With your Getyourguide voucher you can also enter. Outside they will validate it with a scanner and once inside you will have to exchange the voucher for the final ticket. If there is a long line at the ticket offices on the ground floor, go upstairs as there is usually less. On that floor is where the lathes are to enter definitively.
  • Guided tour of the Vatican: if all this ticket hassle makes you lazy and/or you want to visit with a guide who will explain things to you, there are multiple agencies with which you can save all this. Our recommendation is to book it at Civitatis (€52 adults and €37 children). Attention, read the instructions calmly to get to the Meeting Point without problems. If this option is no longer available the day you travel, these are the 3 most popular websites where all these agencies are offered: Civitatis itself, Getyourguide and Viator (we always prefer the first ones: they pre-select the options and above all the difference between the published price and the final price is minimal while with the other two it can be double.
  • What to do if you have not bought the ticket beforehand and the queue is crazy: right there you will see that there are vendors with an identification hanging from their necks as if they were official guides. They will offer you tickets to skip the line. If you want to go directly, the two closest and with the most tickets are Tours About and Rome Tour Tickets (in our App you will have them geolocated). They will try to sell you the guided tour for €65 or more. If you only want the entrance, insist. The price is usually around €40 per adult, €35 for a child. But it is pure negotiation and you will have to pay in cash (they have an ATM inside if you need it). They will put an adhesive on your lapel and from here it will also take you a long time to wait. First to gather a group right there. When they are all you will go to the entrance of the Vatican. Second queue. Once inside, third queue waiting for the Agency to exchange their vouchers for the final tickets. Then they will finally give it to you and you can enter.
  • Attention: some tours will offer you a joint visit to the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica. They will argue that this way you will skip the very long line in San Pedro... but most of the time you will have to queue like any other son of a neighbor. Although it is true that on other occasions they are sneaky and manage to sneak in. The problem is that doing the two visits with a Guide is really exhausting because it becomes endless. We do not recommend it. In the part of the basilica we already explained how to do it so that the queue is as short as possible.
  • How to get there from the hotel: take the metro, Line A, towards Battistini. Get off at the Ottaviano-S station. Pietro or at the Musei Vaticani-Cipro (both 10 minutes from the Vatican). If you stay at our Hotel Smart Choice you are 15 min away by metro, take it in Spagna, it is only 3 stops. If you are staying in the piazza Navona area it can be a nice walk coming from the Il Castello bridge... but as here it is important to get there as soon as possible, if you are not close to any metro stop use a shared motorbike or scooter to go as fast as possible
  • How to get there from St. Peter's Basilica: looking at the dome, go to the right, always following the great wall of the Vatican. It has no loss.
    Where exactly is the entrance and the ticket offices: in our App you will have the exact point of the entrance geolocated. Those who go without a ticket have to queue to the left and they will be allowed to enter little by little. Those who go with a voucher will validate it for you to enter directly through the center. But in both cases, once inside it is where the ticket offices are to either buy the ticket or exchange the voucher.
Recommended tour inside the Vatican Museum: it is complicated to explain the path and they can always change the flow both for maintenance and to manage the large number of tourists that enter. Luckily, it is quite well signposted so if you get lost with some explanation, be sure to look at the signs that you will see at each fork. In general, it is planned so that it is a flow as if you were inside IKEA, but below we will tell you the parts that are worth paying attention to and which ones you can skip.

How to visit the Vatican Museum on your own
  • The entrance is on the upper floor. Right at the beginning is when you can rent the audio guides. If you go with children, take the Family Tour: they will give you a simplified map and an audio guide for children that is really good.
  • Just enter you can go straight to a patio and from there have a first view of the Vatican gardens.
  • On your right you have the Pinacoteca. You can skip it but just before entering there is a copy of Michelangelo's Pietà. No matter how copy it is here, you can enjoy it much better than not in San Pedro where the tourists pile up.
  • Go back towards the entrance, go straight and go up the stairs that you will see on the left: towards the Egyptian Museum and Pio Clementino (if you have never been to Egypt it is worth it, if you have already seen sarcophagi before you could skip it but it will be based on to go ahead of people (right at the start there is a shortcut to the right but there is usually a guard with a rope).
  • Go with the flow and after a small blue lintel there are several pieces from Mesopotamia, with a small but spectacular stone codex of Nebuchadnezzar.
  • You will come out to some stairs, go to the left and there is the entrance of the Pio Clementino museum with all the Roman works.
  • Upon entering the courtyard on the right hand side you have the wonderful sculpture of Perseus holding the severed head of Medusa. On the left is that of Apollo, and on the other side on the left is Laoconte. All three are worth looking at calmly.
  • Leaving the patio you will be in the Animal Room, in case you go with children but there is nothing else.
  • Going straight at the end you will enter the Rotunda Room with its spectacular dome. Of all the sculptures, the statue of Hercules is the most prominent (entering on the right)
  • Leaving this room, turn around and look at the two Egyptian soldiers who act as columns framing the door. A marvel.
  • A little further you will have the opportunity, if the guard lets you pass, to skip the Gregorian Museum, which is absolutely dispensable (the day will be long, it is better to save energy). All this area is just to fluff the queue for the Sistine chapel if a lot of people have accumulated (that's why sometimes, when there are not so many visitors, the passage is open). You can also wait for a guide to come with a group. They usually open the cordon for them to pass and you can always sneak in.
  • In this way you will go straight in the direction of the Map Room through the famous and very long gallery. Do not forget to observe the impressive ceiling.
  • At the end of this gallery you will see on the right a short itinerary that will take you directly to the Sistine Chapel. But if you're strong enough, take the path to the right because it will take you to the Stanze di Raffaello, rooms with marvelous frescoes by the famous painter.
  • Whether you've gone the long way or the short way, it's time to enter the Sistine Chapel with the famous Creation and Last Judgment painting.
  • At first it may seem to you that it does not deserve so much fame but try to get a seat at the end, relax to forget about the crowd and think for a moment that you are not in a museum but in a chapel. Then you will understand the greatness of it. Compare it with other churches where you have been, all of them made of stone, with some painting or sculpture and also glass windows but none with all the walls absolutely painted like the Sistine Chapel. A preciousness.
  • If you go with children you can also play trying to locate Miguel Angel himself and also one of his worst critics, surrounded by demons of course!
  • It was certainly worth the two hours to get here. You have the exit on the other side of the chapel on the left. It will still be difficult for you to get to the street because they will make you pass through a lot of stalls and shops but follow the indications and you will succeed.