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Italy Ports Capri, Florence, Genoa, Naples, Palermo, portofino, Rome, Sardinia, Sorrento, Taormina, Venice

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  #1  
Old June 18th, 2013, 05:06 AM
cdnishk cdnishk is offline
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Default Vatican - all or nothing?

Hi,
We'll be in Rome for a day on Thursday July 11. I've heard of the terrifying crowds for the Vatican. I've suggested to our tour agents that after seeing the other city main sites, we may want to drive to the Vatican after lunch and let our three teenagers walk around in the area. The tour agents suggest we do the St Peter Basilica but not the museums and sistine chapel. I am confused what tour of the Vatican can include. Could someone help clarify for me?
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  #2  
Old June 18th, 2013, 05:29 AM
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I think it is great advice to skip the Vatican Museums (which includes the Sistine Chapel) if you only have one day in Rome due to the huge crowds. That still leaves St Peter's Basilica and Square/piazza which are amazing. You can walk into the Square on a Thursday and see the colonnade and the outside of the Basilica without waiting in any lines. To me, that is a must do if you're in Rome. There is a security line to get into the Basilica and the wait time varies depending on the size of the line. Once you've gone through security you can wander around the Basilica without a tour.

Be aware that if you must be dressed appropriately to go through the security line. That means knees/shoulders/cleavage covered on everyone. But you can go into just the square/piazza in shorts.

Have fun!

Last edited by D4; June 18th, 2013 at 05:32 AM.
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  #3  
Old June 18th, 2013, 06:43 AM
kuldalai kuldalai is offline
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To explain more specifically .
1. You can walk in to St Peters Basilica and the huge public forecourt in front at any time free.

2. The Vatican Museums require an entry ticket . Here the admission includes many galleries and concludes with the Sistine Chapel. To avoid the long queues for VM Admission tickets you can pre-book and pay for admission tickets at a set time on day of your visit. To do this visit the VM website around 2 months in advance of your visit . You print out a voucher at home. . Then walk to the head of the queue at the VM entry and you will be directed to a special cassa (cashier) where your voucher will be exchanged for tickets and you are straight in .

Best do the VM in the morning and allow 2 -3 hours, then walk around to St Peters Bsilica allowing another couple of hours. So with pre-bookings for the VM you can do both in 4 - 5 hours .
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  #4  
Old June 18th, 2013, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdnishk View Post
Hi,
We'll be in Rome for a day on Thursday July 11. I've heard of the terrifying crowds for the Vatican. I've suggested to our tour agents that after seeing the other city main sites, we may want to drive to the Vatican after lunch and let our three teenagers walk around in the area. The tour agents suggest we do the St Peter Basilica but not the museums and sistine chapel. I am confused what tour of the Vatican can include. Could someone help clarify for me?
Having experienced an "all in one day" Rome tour, I understand your hesitation.

We visited in May with RomeInLimo. We spent the morning seeing the other Rome highlights with a 2 pm Vatican reservation. This was our first visit to Rome. It was beautiful, breathtaking, and put me into sensory overload. Proof in the pudding as they say... I shot over 1,000 photos on this vacation. Zero were inside the Vatican. By the time we started our part of the human tidal wave, I gladly let my husband take over the photography while I swam with the constantly moving stream of people. We were with a group of eight and staying together was mandatory. If we'd lost anyone, I don't know how we would have found them again until possibly the very end.

If I were able to re-plan the day, I would have skipped the Vatican. It was beautiful, full of history, and I missed most of it. If I'm ever fortunate enough to return, I'll spend the majority of my day revisiting the Vatican - knowing I either need to pay for a tour guide or plan on visiting with just my husband so we can slow down and enjoy the beauty.

~ Sheryl
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  #5  
Old June 18th, 2013, 10:14 AM
CathyCruises CathyCruises is offline
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The museums can take half a day; a visit to the basilica, free as noted, can be done in an hour or less and is a must-see in my opinion. Go in the afternoon on your way out of town.

I would not recommend a tour of the Vatican Museums on a one-day port stop unless that was the main focus of your day. I love to be outside enjoying the city rather than cooped up inside for such a long time. . .but that's just me.
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  #6  
Old June 18th, 2013, 11:34 AM
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Thank you all for all the wonderful advice. The reassurance is much needed and appreciated.
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  #7  
Old June 18th, 2013, 11:44 AM
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As you have active teens, one fun Vatican activity for them would be to climb the dome/cupola of St. Peter's Basilica--either before or after the visit to the basilica itself. I'd allocate at least 45-60 minutes for this however.
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  #8  
Old June 18th, 2013, 08:02 PM
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As you have active teens, one fun Vatican activity for them would be to climb the dome/cupola of St. Peter's Basilica--either before or after the visit to the basilica itself. I'd allocate at least 45-60 minutes for this however.
That is a lot of fun. I didn't mention it because they have a tight timeframe. I would estimate well over an hour in line to buy tickets to the dome and another hour to go up and down from the dome.
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Old June 21st, 2013, 11:24 AM
cdnishk cdnishk is offline
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Default Reassurance again, please

hi, i am back with more question.
Now our plan is to see St Peter'ss Basilica first thing in the morning. Then do the colossum underground tour at 12:21.

1. What time do you think we should leave the port? We will book Romeinlimo for the whole day.

2. Allowing the kids to climb the steps. DO you think we could comfortably get to our 12:21 Colossum tour?

3. The underground tour is said to last 90mins. but someone said on the post that the last 30 of this 90 mins is letting people take pics on the 3rd tier, and one can leave at this point without missing much. IF that's the case, we'd like to leave for the Forum at this point.

4. And for the Forum, since some of us have seen it before, so allowing 30mins for the kids should be enough?

5. After that we could relax for a late lunch around 2-2:30?

Would this plan work?
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Old June 21st, 2013, 12:16 PM
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You should leave the port the second you can get off the ship! The kids can always get back some of their lost sleep in the car on the way into Rome.

It takes about an hour to climb to the top of the dome, have a look around, and get back down. Maybe a little less if there's no one slow in front of you and you're a fast climber. If there's a line to get on the elevator you need to add that to your estimate as well.

By car it should take no more than 15 minutes from Piazza San Pietro (in front of the basilica) to the Colosseum.

As for the Colosseum, there's no reason you can't leave the tour when you want to.

Last edited by euro cruiser; June 21st, 2013 at 12:17 PM.
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Old June 21st, 2013, 12:21 PM
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Thanks!
But can we buy the tickets for the Dome access in advance? It takes a whole hr just to line up for the Dome tickets?
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Old June 21st, 2013, 12:30 PM
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No, you can't buy the dome tickets in advance. The climb itself takes an hour, waiting in line can be as fast as a minute or two or as long as a couple of hours, it depends on the day and the time of day.
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Old June 21st, 2013, 12:35 PM
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If the dome is something you really want to do, make haste by getting an EARLY start (early as you can) and head straight for St. Peters basilica. Climb the dome first -- hopefully that early the lines will be shorter, they often are.

If the line is very long, see the Basilica first (if you are planning to go inside). Then check the dome line again. If still long, you may have to give it up, given the rest of your schedule.
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Old June 21st, 2013, 12:43 PM
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Our climb took just 45 minutes from the moment of ticket purchase (no wait), climbing (crowd was moving pretty fast!), ~10 minutes for pictures on top, back down and exiting the front of the basilica. We did it after the Vatican Museums and after exiting the Sistine Chapel--sometime around 3 pm. Of course, as others have pointed out, your timing and experience can vary widely.

I think if you allow an hour for the climb, it should be enough. Also if you elect to do this, remember you finish your descent and exit inside St. Peter's basilica so a good plan might be:

1. First thing, get tickets for the cupola climb and if there is little to no wait, do it first. Then after it, tour the basilica with your remaining time.

2. If the cupola ticket line is too long, visit the basilica and walk the piazza in your time instead. Of if time permits, check back later (say in 20-30 minutes) for the climb.

Enjoy your time in Roma!
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Last edited by Terpnut; June 21st, 2013 at 12:45 PM.
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Old June 21st, 2013, 12:44 PM
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If the dome is something you really want to do, make haste by getting an EARLY start (early as you can) and head straight for St. Peters basilica. Climb the dome first -- hopefully that early the lines will be shorter, they often are.

If the line is very long, see the Basilica first (if you are planning to go inside). Then check the dome line again. If still long, you may have to give it up, given the rest of your schedule.
You beat me by a few minutes! LOL

I guess great minds think alike!
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  #16  
Old June 21st, 2013, 02:46 PM
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Vatican Museum and St Peters were breathtaking, but that was the only thing we really were able to do, and it was rushed and very crowded!!!! Glad we did it, but was sorry we missed the flavor of Rome! We didn't even climb the Dome! We did manage a quick walk PAST the colosseum though!
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Old June 23rd, 2013, 04:16 PM
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Rome is challenging, do you try and see a little of as much as you can or a little less and more of the less?

We went with the former, it included stops at what I think would be all the big things in the AM ( we were almost first off the boat, lots of complaints but we really were one of the first private vehicles to leave the dock ) when we got to the coliseum there was almost nobody as it was just opened, crowds built as the day went on.. we did late lunch then the whole afternoon at the Vatican before a crazy drive back to the boat.

Probably just me and my family but I wouldn't have given up the crazy fast walk thru the Museum and seing the Basilica and the Chapel, the are after all as famous and iconic as everything else there. Everytime we watch the pope there it has taken new signficance
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File Type: jpg 4020_Rome Sistine Chapel.jpg (33.1 KB, 12 views)
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Last edited by chipmaster; June 23rd, 2013 at 04:23 PM.
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Old June 24th, 2013, 07:02 AM
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Probably just me and my family but I wouldn't have given up the crazy fast walk thru the Museum and seing the Basilica and the Chapel, the are after all as famous and iconic as everything else there. Everytime we watch the pope there it has taken new signficance

Agree completely .... the Sistene Chapel, the museums, the Basilica, was/is one of the most amazing places I have ever been to....and as tired as I was at the end of that long day I wouldn't have missed it for the world.....it is simply magnificent...
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