Two Tips to Save You Hours at the Vatican

Millions of tourists visit the Vatican every year, and for good reason. It is the center of one of the world's largest religions, contains some of the world's greatest historical treasures, and is located in the center of Rome, one of the greatest cities in the history of the world. All of these reasons put it at the top of most bucket lists, but also make it a headache to navigate through the hordes that flood its churches and museums each year. Long lines for entry to the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica can each take hours to wait through. No one wants to queue for hours, and when you have limited vacation from work your time is even more precious. Thankfully, you don't have to waste half of a day waiting. Follow these two tips and you will navigate the Vatican sites like a professional tour guide.

  1. Make reservations to the Vatican Museums - this seems like common sense, but the line for entry to the Vatican Museums for people without reservations nearly always wraps around the city and comes with a multiple hour wait. Make your reservation for a specific day and time online, and well in advance of your trip, and you can simply walk up to the entrance at your reserved time. No waiting. In pays to be prepared.

  2. Take the secret exit out of the Sistine Chapel to go straight into St. Peter's Basilica - The conclusion of the Vatican Museums is the Sistine Chapel, one of Michelangelo's most famous works. At this point of your tour through the museums, if you take the general exit out of the chapel you will emerge outside of the museums and be required to wait in a long line to get into St. Peter's Basilica, if you so desire. What most people don't know is that there is a second exit out of the Sistine Chapel that will take you directly to St. Peter's Basilica, and skip the additional line. When standing inside the Sistine Chapel, with your back to the alter and the Last Judgement painting, the general exit is to the back left. However, to the back right of the chapel is a second exit. This second exit typically has a sign that says "Tour Groups Only." Do your best to "walk casually" and blend in with a tour group passing through that door, and you will emerge at the entrance to St. Peter's!

There you have it. Two simple tips that will save you hours of time, and certain frustration, so you can explore the mysteries of the Roman Catholic Church.