Visit to Vatican

Hey as our trip to Vatican is getting closer we read millions of internet pages with information and honestly we have some confusions so i would like a little help for the guys that were already there if it is possible.
We will be there on a Wednesday when it is also a Papal Audience. However since we have only one day i would like to know if there is enough time for Audience and visiting the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s basilica and square in the same day. We would like very much to see the Holy Father but we also want to visit the Vatican.

There is also the problem with the tickets. Our plane gets there at 15:30 on Tuesday. If i book tickets for the Papal Audience i have to pick them up Tuesday evening
until 18:30 and i don’t know if we will make it. From Airport to hotel, and then to tickets. I’m thinking that if we book tickets and don’t make it then two other people could have went in our place.

What does the Audience mean? What happens and how long does it last?

The St. Peter Basilica is free or is there a fee?

Anyone who went there if you could give me more info about how your visit went and what did you visit first or any advice you could give me I would be grateful.

It will be hard to do all that in one day, but it is possible. I would recommend trying the museums (which includes the Sistine Chapel) in the morning, attending the audience and then visiting St. Peters after the audience.

For the museums, I would suggest joining a tour. You will get in much faster.
For the audience, get in line as early as possible because the seating is first come first serve. While it is a great thrill to be there, you probably don’t want to be in the middle of 30,000 people because you won’t be able to see much.
The line for St. Peters will be very long after the audience, but don’t worry, it is a huge building and you will be able to get in.

There is also the problem with the tickets. Our plane gets there at 15:30 on Tuesday. If i book tickets for the Papal Audience i have to pick them up Tuesday evening
until 18:30 and i don’t know if we will make it. From Airport to hotel, and then to tickets. I’m thinking that if we book tickets and don’t make it then two other people could have went in our place.

We got our tickets from one of the Swiss Guards. My son just asked one of them and they gave him 4 tickets. They are free and, like the seating, first come first served. Honestly, you might be able to get in without one, but I wouldn’t count on it. My wife and youngest son went real early and were first in line while my oldest son and I got there a couple of hours later. He and I just walked in - no one even looked at our ticket.

What does the Audience mean? What happens and how long does it last?

The Holy Father will read a statement in numerous languages. He will greet every one. Best of all, at the start of the audience, he circles the crowd in the popemobile so that everyone can see him. It lasts about 3 hours as I recall.

The St. Peter Basilica is free or is there a fee?

It is free, but there is a dress code and it IS enforced.

Anyone who went there if you could give me more info about how your visit went and what did you visit first or any advice you could give me I would be grateful.

It has been several years, but we had 5 days in Rome and visited the Vatican every day. We were lucky enough to be able to attend a Papal Mass where 4 saints were canonized, attend a Papal Audience where I got this photo:

and the museums. St. Peters is breathtaking and I wish you had more time there because, speaking for myself, I could spend many days just sitting there and soaking in the atmosphere of the basilica.



Totally off-topic, but that is a fantastic picture of Pope Benedict XVI. Much better than most of the press pics. :thumbsup:

Thank you! It is one of my favorite photos.



I visited the Vatican in May 1996… at 8a.m. in the morning. I was able to walk around everywhere. My main regret is that I didn’t go to confession at the church. I thought it would be nice to go to confession at the church and it was available on that day which was on a Wednesday morning. Pope John Paul II was ill that day.

Santa Suzanna is the parish for Americans in Rome, their website is very helpful definitely get advance tickets whenever possible as lines are long. You may be able to contact your hotel and ask them to pick up the tickets for you, many in Rome are very helpful that way.

IMHO, no.

Ask your hotel concierge to pick up your tickets.

The Pope gives an address either in the square or in the Pope Paul VI hall. He will welcome groups of pilgrims by name in some cases. His audience address is usually an on-going teaching on some aspect of the faith. It is not that long, but he repeats it in several languages. He will give blessings, you can bring holy objects like rosaries etc and he will bless them (not individually, you hold them up for his blessing).

The audience as a whole lasts several hours. You have to get there early, go through security, etc.

There is no entrance fee to the church. There are some special collection rooms inside the church for which you have to pay for entrance, and you have to pay to go up the tower, etc. The museum is completely separate, and there is an entrance fee for that.

How many days will you be in Rome? What else do you want to see besides the Vatican?

Thanks for the advices. We will be only for 3 days: we want to see the Colloseum and the Trevi Fountain. Also we would like to just walk on the streets, maybe a market place or some Churches.

The picture is great. However we decided that we will not go to the Audience. We don’t have the time and we want more to just visit.

I would answer no. To get decent seats at the audience, you need to be there early. The audience, IIRC, will end up taking half the day. The lines to the papal museem will be very long by that time. On top of that, you need to give yourself 2 or 3 hours just for St Peters.

Why only 1 day? I strongly suggest to change your plans. You may not get this opportunity again. Don’t rush some of the most important stuff. You want to see the audience, you want to spend lots of time in St Peter’s (and the other 3 Bascillica’s), the Vatican museems are also nice and the only way to get into the Sistine Chapel, which is also a must.

St Peter’s is free, but you must be dressed properly. You will not get in. No shorts, no sleeveless shirts for women.

If I may, I would suggest you prioritizing as follows

  1. St Peters
  2. Papal Audience, if I remember correctly it is over by noon, there is more time
  3. Catacombs
  4. Other three major basilicas
  5. Sistine Chapel, go to the museums and rush through most of them
  6. Colloseum, assuming you vist St Peter’s in Chains while there, its close by, Trevi Fountain

You can easily do all of this in three days. Do not limit yourself to one day at the Vatican.

I made a mistake on the last line, I meant to say it would not be easy to do this in three days. I think the Colesuum is rather over-rated myself, but then I like to look at Churches.

I think you can easily see the papal audience and st peter’s in one day. One day should be enough for the Sistine Chapel and some of the other Bascillica’s, but transportation moght be an issue. I just think the catacombs are a must see also.

But the papall audience is a really cool event for any Catholic. To see the enthusiasm of the crowd for the pope, and people in the crowd yelling “Viva la papa”.

Here’s what I would do:

Buy tickets to the Vatican Museum online and in advance, that way you can skip the queue to buy tickets and go in. Don’t stand in the long line, go up to the front and show your ticket.

Day 1: Central Rome

Colosseum, Roman Forum, Arch of Titus, Palatine Hill, Circus Maximus, and the following churches: St. Peter in Chains (St Pietro in Vincoli), St Mary Major, St John Latern. Visit the Trevi Fountain

Day 2: Vatican

Morning- St Peter’s: see the square, church, towers, gardens (go early as you have to go through security and the line gets long)

Lunch near Piazza del Risorgemento, gelato at Old Bridge gelateria on the way to the Vatican museum,

Afternoon Vatican Museum

Dinner out near Piazza Navona or the Spanish Steps

Day 3: Outskirts of Rome

Morning- Catacomb tour at Via Appia Antica, go early at 9 am. Then go the church of St Paul outside the Walls

Afternoon - pick out a couple of other churches, piazzas, or other sites that interest you

The metro in Rome is a very good way to cover a lot of ground quickly, and in the city center I also suggest taxis, which are surprisingly cheap. If you don’t have a lot of time, plan your route and your transportation, buy what tickets you can ahead and skip the lines.

Also look into a “rome by night” bus tour and see if it appeals to you. They light up many of the monuments and fountains at night, so perhaps revisiting a few on a night tour would be fun.

I spent a week in Rome a few years ago. I found the Metro to be not user friendly and would suggest using taxis if you can do so. Don;t remember the audience with the Pope being 3 hours. I went on a tour and from the Papal audience we went to the Collesum and the ruins, also some churchs. Went back a couple different times to tour St Peters and the museums. The Catacombs are a must see.

We don’t have more time. This is the time that we have. I can’t change my plans.
What do you mean I might not get this opportunity again? Rome will still be there. Vatican will still be there. The Holy Father will continue to do Audiences. I can visit any time i want. What would stop us from doing this trip again some other time? Right now this is the time that we have and i want to make the best out ot it.

We are tired. We are taking a break from work. We want to rest, we want one day just to calmly walk on the streets of Rome, have a nice dinner, do some shopping. We don’t want to make a 3 day maraton between monuments. And we do not want to spend all 3 days in the Vatican. Honestly our pririties are St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel (museum included but most of all the Chapel). If i will be able to see these 2 things and make some pictures in the St. Peter’s square, buy some souvenirs I will be satisfied.
We will come some other time when we have a longer vacation, maybe in the summer, maybe next year. We are young we have all the time in the world.
Again I don’t understand “You may not get this opportunity again.” Nobody is giving us this opportunity. We just decided to take a break from work. Where will go. Let’s check Rome. It will be nice to visit the Vatican. We like to travel. We know how to find a cheap flight and a cheap hotel for a few days.

This program is good. but more simpliefied in Day 1 and 3 so we can calmy visit and rest :slight_smile:

I think that is a wise decision.

We walked everywhere in Rome. For a major city, the sights are not that far apart. You can take your time and see many, if not most, sights that you want to see.

Just remember 2 things:

  1. You must eat gelatto at least 3 times a day!:wink:
  2. Water from the public water fountains is very, very good. Carry a water bottle with you and re-fill as needed.



Well, I did not know your situation. My wife and I went to Rome in 1997, had a great time, spent 6 days there. About 5 years ago, her mom and my parents wanted to go. Someone had to stay home, she graciously agreed to do so, I took our parents and three oldest kids for a trip. Once more, a wonderful time. She missed out, but she and I intended to go again. Alas, was not to be. So one just never knows.
You just never know. And seeing the pope is a big deal, IMO. As to being relxed walking around Rome, that is definiely possible when seeing some of the Bascillicas.
I am just saying, the Papal audience is a very special experience. If I had to choose between that and the colleseum, I would choos that.
But I will say that 1ke’s iternerary does seem very sensible to me, except that you miss the audience.
Have a great trip. And don’t forget, it is really easy to find a place to go to mass each day.

Listed above is a good general itinery. I was in Rome for 3 days and got to see all of aformentioned things except the catacombs, but I also went to many many more churches, went to the Castel Sant’Angelo, saw a Roma soccer game, toured Villa bourghese, and so forth.

My recommendations for the Vatican is to get the earliest time slot you can for tickets to the Sistine Chapel. I got up prior to sunrise and arrived and was close to the first person in line to get in. I spent about 30 mins in the Sistine Chapel on a weekday with only a handful of other people before it started to get crowded. I then got to see the other rooms and art work while everyone else was in the Sistine Chapel. I then went to the basilica, attended mass, spent a lot of time walking around, taking pictures. Had some pizza and gelato for lunch and still had a good portion of the afternoon to do other things.

There are lots of shops along Via Del Corso to pick up things and do shopping.

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