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Old 03-26-2018, 02:02 PM
 
Location: equator
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I know we gotta do it; being in Rome for 6 days. Recently realized advance tickets are a must but there is such a plethora of companies and levels of service. Hours of waiting in line.


Does anyone have personal experience on how to approach this mandatory tourist site---best times/days or companies? Not really interested in spending hundreds on a private tour.....we will be in Rome end of April.....


It's completely overwhelming to even contemplate....
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Old 03-26-2018, 02:46 PM
 
Location: New Mexico
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I was disgusted and disappointed with the experience of seeing the Sistine Chapel. It was an unruly herd of cattle worming through the Vatican museum at a snail's pace. The mass of people included tour groups and the group leaders would stop periodically to try to do a mini lecture at some artifact. By the time we got to the chapel we were met by security guards screaming SILENCIO over the heads of the horde. We were in line for close to two hours and were able to spend maybe five minutes in the Sistine Chapel. We got a glimpse of the ceiling but not much else before ushered to the exit. This was in June so the crowd might have been larger than other times. Maybe others will have had a better experience.


People we know who took the basilica tour had a better experience.
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Old 03-26-2018, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
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I did not follow a tour....we just went very early in the day and then at our own pace.

Sistine Chapel is always busy but still.....so worth it. Some sit or even lie down to stare at it. If you study about it before you go, it will have more meaning for you. Study a map of the Vatican beforehand, so you can plan what you'd like to see and not waste time when you are there.

The Basilica is stunning...incredibly beautiful.

Don't forget to see some of the artwork owned by the Vatican...Michelangelo's Pieta is immediately to your right as you enter the Basilica. You could study the artwork online prior to the trip, if interested.
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Old 03-26-2018, 07:05 PM
 
Location: NoVa
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If you're not religious or into arts, skip Sistine Chapel. What a waste of time that was. My experience was exactly as described above by Sungrins, and I went in Oct and was inside the Vatican by 8am.

To poster above, not sure how anyone can lie down on the floor of Sistine Chapel without getting stepped on. I couldn't even turn my head without hitting someone's head in the process. It was that packed.

Basilica was beautiful and less claustrophobic due to its immense size. If you really want to see arts, I suggest going to Villa Borghese instead.
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Old 03-26-2018, 07:20 PM
 
Location: NW Indiana
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The Vatican and St. Peters are a "must see" in my book, combining great history, culture and art.

I would suggest making reservations for the Scavi tour, which goes underneath St. Peters. I thought it was one of the best short tours I have ever been one.

The comments about the Sistine Chapel have some validity in terms of slow moving masses of people. There is a lot to see and I found that a significant amount of the visitors on the day I visited were a bit elderly.

I did not encounter any shouting or even loud talking. The ceiling in the Sistine Chapel is very memorable. It is a lot higher than I had imagined and looks great. People tend to stand and stare, but the security staff were very politely effective at getting people to move when needed. There are a few chairs along the walls for the elderly or people having trouble standing.
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Old 03-26-2018, 09:01 PM
 
Location: NYC
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Except for the Sistine Chapel it is very sane, must see & doable without tickets, the pope usually addresses the crowd outdoors weekly from the balcony. We just perused the basilica at our leisure afterwards, you could probably schedule that for another time & early in the day for less crowds, but St Peter's is so big I don't have any memories of it being too crowded then.

I would definitely advise to read a bit about the history of the Basilica & perhaps have a decent, pocket guide with you, but wandering around in awe is pretty good too. A good tour guide would be an asset for sure.
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Old 03-27-2018, 09:05 AM
 
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The Sistine Chapel is not very big and everybody wants to see it. Even people who have no interest in art or history and just want to be able to say they have been there. So it is destined to always be a crowd scene.

Now if there was a required pre-read...and you had to pass a quiz to get in...then the experience would be much improved.

While I was glad to get in...and to spend some time in the Vatican museum also...(because I do have an interest in art)...the highlight for me was climbing the dome.
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Old 03-27-2018, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Nantahala National Forest, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graceC View Post
If you're not religious or into arts, skip Sistine Chapel. What a waste of time that was. My experience was exactly as described above by Sungrins, and I went in Oct and was inside the Vatican by 8am.

To poster above, not sure how anyone can lie down on the floor of Sistine Chapel without getting stepped on. I couldn't even turn my head without hitting someone's head in the process. It was that packed.

Basilica was beautiful and less claustrophobic due to its immense size. If you really want to see arts, I suggest going to Villa Borghese instead.


I went in March to stay away from summer crowds.

It's true...if you aren't into art and history in any way, you might want to skip it. Leave more room for those thrilled to be there.

But what are you going to Rome for, if not new and educational experiences???
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Old 03-27-2018, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
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I'll second the suggestion of visiting the Borghese Gallery (whether you decide to see the Vatican Museum or not). Tickets MUST be purchased in advance, and you are assigned a time window for your visit - but this insures that the museum is never overcrowded, and you can get close enough to the work and stand in front of it long enough to truly appreciate it.

With a full six days in Rome, you will have time to see a lot. Don't forget the sights outside Vatican City! The Colosseum, the Forum, and the Pantheon are also must-sees. (Book a Colosseum tour that also takes you to the underground parts of the great arena.) And the remains of the Emperor Nero's great palace, the Dominus Aurea, just recently were re-opened for public viewing: https://www.tickitaly.com/galleries/...aurea-rome.php

Have a marvelous time on your trip!
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Old 03-27-2018, 09:56 AM
 
Location: NYC
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BTW I always tell folks going to the Eternal City to visit the Capuchin Crypt, not quite a major attraction but probably you have never seen anything like it.
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