Vatican Landmarks and National Parks
The Vatican Museum
One of the greatest art galleries in the world, the museum is most famous for its spiral staircase, the Raphael Rooms and the exquisitely decorated Sistine Chapel famous for Michelangelo's frescos. It's organized so you follow a one-way route. Price: ˆ15 for visitors, ˆ8.00 for concessions. Open Monday to Saturday 9:00AM-6:00PM, closed Sunday except last Sunday of the month, when its free, crowded, and open 9:00AM-2:00PM. Last entry 120 (90 mins on open Sundays) minutes before closing time, Sistine Chapel closes before rest of museum does. The museum is closed for holidays on: January 1 & 6, February 11, March 19, April 4 & 5, May 1 , June 29, August 14 & 15, November 1, and December 8, 25, & 26.
The Museum is usually the most hot & crowded Saturday, Monday, the last Sunday of the month, rainy days, and days before or after a holiday. Dress code: no short shorts or bare shoulders. Telephone: +39 06 69884947. There are often lengthy queues from the entrance that stretch around the block in the early morning. Non-guided visitors should join the queue that is to the left as you are facing the entrance; the queue on the right is intended for guided group visitors. Two hour English tours cost ˆ31 and includes museum admission, and leave at 10:30AM, 12PM, & 2PM in summer, 10:30AM & 11:15AM in winter. To reserve, book online. Other contact details: for groups firstname.lastname@example.org, for individuals: email@example.com, tel. + 39 06 69883145 or +39 06 69884676, fax + 39 06 69873250.
With a booking you skip the queue and enter through the exit, next to entry, to go to the guided tours desk. There are also audio-guides available from the top of the escalator/ramp for ˆ7. Two people to share a single unit plugging in a standard set of earphones.
Accessing the Sistine Chapel requires walking through many other (spectacular) halls and buildings (including the Raphael's Rooms) and it takes about an hour. Note that although the Museum is quite large, no free map is available - you must bring your own, or purchase a guidebook in the shop for ˆ10 or more.
Also, be aware that it is not allowed to take pictures or talk loudly in the Sistine Chapel. While one may agree with this policy or not, the visit would be a much more pleasant one without the guards having to yell out Shh! or No foto e no video!! every two minutes. The bottom line is: respect the rules and let every visitor enjoy the best of the experience. If you try to sneak a picture (like most people do), you'll get a bad photograph and a screaming guard as your reward