View Full Version : Vatican on our own?

January 16th, 2005, 03:39 PM
We're interested in touring Vatican museum/St Peters on our own, without official guide. Have researched, read various guide books, including Rick Steeves.
Will go in afternoon, hopefully to avoid crowds.
Anybody have expereince doing this without a guide?

January 16th, 2005, 04:02 PM
We visited one day with guide and one day without. You can easily see everything you want to see on your own. The private guide was helpful, though, in bypassing the very long lines waiting for tickets. ;)

January 16th, 2005, 04:13 PM

January 17th, 2005, 11:26 AM
Is is true, as I think I have read on these posts, that the Vatican museum/Sistine Chapel is closed on Sundays? If so, we thought of doing "Rome on Your Own" with Celebrity excursion. I believe the excursion bus leaves you off near St. Peter's. Looking for "experienced" advice on this plan. Thanks in advance.

January 17th, 2005, 11:37 AM
the vatican itself has an excellent web site loaded with information and historical references that is a great source.

January 17th, 2005, 06:27 PM
I'm not experienced in Rome (started this thread re Rome), but have cruised with Celebrity twice and Princess four times.
As much as I like Celebrity (and Princess), in general, cruise excursions are over-priced and crowded.
We typically book tours on our own, or with another family.
There are many recs on this board re tour guides in Rome. Claudio at www.limoinrome.com is mentioned frequently. Rick Steves recs Scala Reale at www.scalareale.org . Best is to search for "Rome tours". You should find some other suggestions.
We booked a half day Rome tour with Claudio. Will give a review once we get back.
Good luck.

January 17th, 2005, 06:48 PM
The Vatican museums are closed every Sunday except the last Sunday of the month, when the admission is free. It's supposed to be very crowded on those days.

Robin G
January 18th, 2005, 11:48 AM
Does some have the official Vatican website? Thanks

January 18th, 2005, 12:13 PM
I think this may be it

Robin G
January 18th, 2005, 05:52 PM
Thank you very much!!

January 20th, 2005, 04:51 PM
I would recommend planning an entire day for the Vatican. The lines for the Vatican museum are much shorter in the afternoon, almost non-existent when we were there in Sept. So I would plan on going there in the afternoon.
I would also highly recomment taking the Scavi tour which goes under the Vatican to the ancient city, seeing St. Peter's tomb down there, etc. You must reserve/pay in advance, it's run by the Vatican. It was one of the highlights of our time in Europe. Here's a link to more info on it:

Mike Andrews
January 21st, 2005, 05:03 AM
For any stamp collectors,visit the Vatican Post Office for their unique stamps,it is also a good place to post your postcards,they'll get home quicker.

January 21st, 2005, 04:27 PM
So how do you book that tour of the excavation in advance? Do you have to call that number?

January 22nd, 2005, 05:16 PM
We emailed them using the email address on the link earlier posted. Be sure you follow exactly what they ask for on that web page.
They will email you back when they set up a tour, it may take a couple of weeks. We then payed by credit card, I think I faxed that info to them because they don't have a secure internet link. They emailed us back confirmation of receiving payment.
You must pay in advance. There was one couple there when we were that had made reservations, but never paid. They were out of luck.
To find the excavations office when you get to the Vatican: If you are in St. Peter's Square looking at St. Peter's Cathedral, on your left at the base of the steps is a large statue (I think it was Moses). Walk past the statue and you will see the Swiss Guards. The Swiss Guard will motion you forward when he is ready for you (only 1 at a time). Tell him you are going to the Scavi tour and we will allow you to pass(you might have to show your reservation). This was cool too, being allowed access into "non-public" areas of the Vatican.

February 2nd, 2005, 03:23 PM
Thanks a lot. That is very helpful. I'm almost definite my wife and I will do this as this is something that would definitely be the highlight of our trip.

Appreciate your help.