Here you’ll find information on booking and visiting the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, the gardens of the Vatican, the necropolis and the mosaic studios, as well as the summer residence of the Popes and the gardens in Castel Gandolfo.
With more than six million visitors per year, the Vatican Museums are ranked fifth in the world ranking list. Here you will find important information to avoid the long queues at the Vatican Museums and thus save valuable holiday time.
Popes have collected and commissioned works of art for centuries, worldwide, during two millennia, church men have missioned, researched, collected and reported to Rome.
The Vatican museums are one of the largest and most important collections in the world. Highlight of the visit of the Vatican museums is the Sistine Chapel. It can be visited only together with the Vatican museums.
There are several itineraries, which can take several hours or several days.
Vatican museums without queues
In front of the Vatican Museums is always a queue. You should therefore reserve your tickets in advance. The reserved tickets are valid for entry on a specific day and at a certain time. You can book these tickets directly on the website of the Vatican Museums.
The Vatican Museums are very large. It is impossible to see everything in one day. On this page you will find offers for guided tours, which show you the most important pieces of the museums in a few hours. Some tours also offer quick access from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s. This saves you additional time. If you do not want to book a guided tour, you can book the Vatican Museums tickets here too. If the system does not offer tickets for a specific day and time, these tickets are already sold out and online reservations are no longer possible. Admission is free for children up to 6 years of age, adolescents up to the age of 18 and students up to the age of 25 pay reduced admission.
For the exclusive early entry as well as visits in the evening you’ll find on our side a series of proposals. These visits are particularly enjoyable as the Vatican Museums are only accessible with these special tickets in the early morning and evening and there are not so many visitors. Especially the offers for the special opening in the evening are very fast sold out and you should book in time.
Early entry is advantageous so that you are among the first to visit the Sistine Chapel in the morning. During the day, the Sistine Chapel is very crowded and this detracts from the enjoyment of art. Even earlier, you can go to the Vatican Museums for breakfast.
The Vatican Gardens
Vatican gardens are located in the Vatican at St Peter’s Basilica and at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. The garden in Castel Gandolfo is called Giardino Barberini. You can visit both of the garden facilities on guided tours with ecological vehicles. The tour in Rome has a duration of 45 minutes and admission to the Vatican Museums is included. The tour at Giardino Barberini in Castel Gandolfo takes 60 minutes.
Opening hours of the Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums are open from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm with last admission at 4pm. From April 20 to October 26, 2018, they are also open on Friday from 7 pm to 11 pm with last admission at 9:30 pm. On the last Sunday of the month the museums are open from 9 am to 2 pm with last admission at 12:30 pm and the admission is free.
The Vatican Museums are always closed on the 1st + 6th January, 11th February, 19th March, Easter Sunday and Monday, May 1st, June 29th, 15th + 16th August, November 1st, 8th, 25th + 26th December.
How to get to the Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums are to the right of St. Peter’s Square, above Piazza del Risorgimento. From St. Peter’s Square it is a half mile walk to the entrance of the Vatican Museums.
Piazza del Risorgimento is the terminus of tram line no. 19, from there it is still a third mile to the entrance. The metro station Cipro of Metrolinie A. is about a quarter mile away.
Right in front of the entrance is the bus line 49, which comes from Piazza Cavour. The line also stops in Via Crescenzio corner Via Terenzio, near to Castel Sant’Angelo.
The Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo
The papal villa in Castel Gandolfo is the traditional summer residence of the Popes to escape the summer heat in Rome. Pope Francis has broken with this tradition and remains in Rome in the summer. He opened the Apostolic Palace in Castel Gandolfo for visitors.
Opening hours of the Apostolic Palace
The Apostolic Palace is open from Monday – Friday from 9 am – 2 pm with last admission at 1 pm, on Saturday from 9 am – 5:30 pm with last admission at 4:30 pm.
The Apostolic Palace is closed on: January 1 + 6, February 11, March 19, Easter Sunday and Monday, May 1, June 29, August 15+16, November 1, December 8+25+26.
In 2018, the Apostolic Palace is also open on Sundays from 8 April to the end of June, and in September and October from 10 am to 3 pm, with last admission at 2 pm.
By train to Castel Gandolfo
From May to the beginning of November there is an interesting tour on Saturday with an early entrance to the Vatican Museums and a ride from the Vatican’s train station to Castel Gandolfo with a visit to the Apostolic Palace and the Barberini Gardens.
Access for persons with disabilities
Persons with a certified disability of more than 74% have free entrance to the Vatican museums and to the Papal Villa at Castel Gandolfo. If they can not cope alone, a companion is also free.
The tickets can not be booked in advance, but must be collected in the lobby of the Vatican museums at the boxes “Permessi Speciali” or “Reception” against a disability certificate. The tickets grant privileged access “skip the line”.
In Castel Gandolfo, the tickets will be issued directly at the ticket counters.
Under Saint Peter there is an extensive necropolis, which dates back to the second century BC, at a depth between 3 and 11 meters below St. Peter’s. Here should be the tomb of St. Peter. In this area further excavations are in progress.
In order to not endanger the conservation status, the number of visitors is limited to not more than 250 per day, the minimum visitors age is 15 years.
If you would like to visit the necropolis, you must make a personal and special reservation. The guided tours are organized by Vox Mundi, the official organizer of the Vatican, and are mostly sold out in advance.
With your booking confirmation, you will gain access to the Necropolis at the Swiss Guard at the gate described above to the left of St. Peter’s.
Here, too, the dress code applies for sacred sites.