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Vatican City

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Vatican City is the home of the Roman Catholic church and the smallest state in the world, located in the heart of Rome. Home to the Popes for centuries, its collections of art and sculpture are some of the finest in the world. Visit the Vatican Museums to see Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, or explore St Peter’s Basilica to see the seat of the Bishop of Rome.
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Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel

Skip the lines to enter the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel when you book a ticket in advance.
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Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Fast-Track Ticket Options
4.5starstarstarstarstar half(39781)
 
See priceless works of art from the Papal collections in the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Go on a stirring journey through centuries of art, admiring masterpieces from antiquity to Michelangelo’s legendary frescoes.
on 5 websites
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Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel & Saint Peter's Guided Tour
4.4starstarstarstarstar half(29837)
 
Discover one of the most beautiful sites in the world on this fantastic 3-hour tour of the Vatican with skip-the-line access. Explore the Vatican Museums, the exquisite Sistine Chapel and the dramatic St. Peter's Basilica.
on 3 websites
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Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica Tour
4.4starstarstarstarstar half(4232)
 
See all the most important sights of the Vatican City with a guide in your chosen language. Skip the long lines to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica to spend more time gazing at masterpieces of art.
getyourguide.com
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Vatican Museums, Sistine & St Peter: Skip-the-Line Tour
4.2starstarstarstarstar empty(6376)
 
Take a guided tour of Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. Enter through an exclusive privileged entry for Vatican Museums partners.
getyourguide.com
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St Peter’s Basilica

Take a tour of St Peter’s Basilica to learn more about the impressive religious architecture.
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Reserved Entrance: Saint Peter Basilica Self-Guided Tour
4.4starstarstarstarstar half(9705)
 
Benefit from immediate entry to St. Peter’s Basilica and enjoy the freedom to explore at your own pace. Using your own mobile phone or tablet, marvel at art by Michelangelo and more.
on 3 websites
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St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour: Reserved Entrance
4.6starstarstarstarstar half(2426)
 
Enjoy immediate entry and a hassle-free tour of Saint Peter's Basilica, one of Rome’s prime attractions! Delight in hidden wonders of the Renaissance in the most unique Vatican State experience. See Michelangelo's Pietà and the Bernini masterpieces.
on 4 websites
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St. Peter's Basilica: Fast Entry & Rome Digital Guided Tour
5.0starstarstarstarstar(1)
 
This audio tour is a great way to visit St. Peter's Basilica and avoid the crowds. Enjoy the self-guided tour with a city pass and a visit to Vatican City.
on 2 websites
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St. Peter's Basilica Tour with Dedicated Access
4.4starstarstarstarstar half(19)
 
klook.com
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St Peter’s Square

Discover the secrets of St Peter’s Square when you take a guided tour of the area.
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Castel Sant’ Angelo and St. Peter’s Square Tour
4.8starstarstarstarstar(242)
 
Explore 2 historic sites of Rome on a 3-hour walking tour of the Castel Sant’ Angelo and St. Peter’s Square. Learn the history of an ancient fortress, commissioned by Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum. Marvel at Bernini’s colonnades in the Vatican City.
on 2 websites
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Rome: Public Papal Audience with Transfer
3.7starstarstarstar halfstar empty(112)
 
Enjoy an audience with Pope Francis for a once-in-a-lifetime encounter at the Vatican City. Share a religious and multi-cultural experience with the Pope, while listening to the papal audience together with people from all over the world.
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Papal Audience with Pope Francis Experience
4.9starstarstarstarstar(15)
 
headout.com
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Rome: Papal Audience with Host and Pick-Up
3.5starstarstarstar halfstar empty(16)
 
Experience the sacred atmosphere of the Vatican City with a guaranteed entrance ticket to the Papal Audience on St. Peter's Square. Listen to Pope Francis address an adoring crowd during his weekly public prayer service.
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More Tickets & Tours

Browse even more products which include a trip to Vatican City.
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Skip-the-Line Vatican Tour, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's
4.9starstarstarstarstar(32435)
 
Spend more time inside when you skip the line at the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel through an official, priority entrance. On this comprehensive guided tour, you’ll experience the best of the Vatican in just 3 hours.
on 2 websites
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Vatican Gardens & Museums: Skip The Line
4.5starstarstarstarstar half(307)
 
VIP access to masterpieces and a secret garden
tiqets.com
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Omnia Card for Rome & Vatican City: Skip The Line
4.5starstarstarstarstar half(56)
 
All things Vatican, plus free transportation in Rome for 24 or 72 hours
tiqets.com
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St. Peter’s Basilica with Dome Climb and Crypt
4.6starstarstarstarstar half(538)
 
Access all areas of St. Peter's Basilica and immerse yourself in the history and architecture of one of the most important religious monuments in the world. Climb up 231 steps to the top of the dome for panoramic views of Rome.
getyourguide.com
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Top Tips

1. Climb the cupola of St Peter’s for an amazing view of St Peter’s Square and the rest of Rome! You can either climb the first 320 steps or take the elevator (which costs a little extra). Then there are an additional 231 steps to the very top of the dome, for a total of 551 total stairs.
Vatican City | Photo: Flickr, Dennis Sylvester Hurd - CC BY 2.0
2. The Vatican Gardens are stunning and can only be visited with a guided tour. Book at least a day in advance to avoid disappointment.
Vatican Gardens | Photo: Flickr, tacowitte - CC BY 2.0
3. Vatican City is the smallest state in the world! In addition to having a flag and a national anthem, it has its own postal service, pharmacy, radio station, and television center, and you can even walk past tiny embassies from other nations! If you’re interested in exploring, you can visit and use both the post office and pharmacy.
4. Decide if you want to see just St Peter’s or the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums and St Peters. If you want to do everything then see the museums first, then you’ll be able to take the short corridor to the basilica when you exit the museums. The other way around, you risk ending up in super long queues for the museums.
5. While inside St Peter’s Basilica make sure to visit the Popes’ tombs in the Vatican Grottoes. You’ll notice that Pope John Paul II’s tomb isn’t there - after he was canonized in 2014 his body was moved to the chapel of St Sebastian in the upper part of the basilica.
6. The most exclusive tour in Vatican City is a Scavi tour, which visits the excavations of the necropolis below St Peter’s Basilica and takes visitors to see the bones of St Peter. Only 250 people are allowed to visit every day with a guided tour and the spots can sell out months in advance. You can try to get tickets by emailing scavi@fsp.va.
7. Papal audiences usually begin at 10 am when the Pope is in Rome - to get a good spot, some people arrive at 8 am and you should definitely consider coming early if you require a seat. You can book free tickets in advance, and there’s a reserved seating area for those with tickets. Tickets are unlimited but there are a fixed number of seats, so you’ll still need to arrive early. Everyone is welcome, so St Peter’s Square is usually extremely full. An audience takes 1.5 to 2 hours, so bring sunscreen and hats if it’s hot out, and wrap up warm if it’s cold.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it called the Vatican?

The site where modern-day Vatican City stands is named after the Vatican Hill on which it stands. The word “vatican” is taken from an ancient Etruscan settlement which was called Vatica or Vaticum, which meant garden, and the ancient Romans referred to it as vaticanus ager, or “vatican territory”. Agrippina the Elder, mother of Emperor Caligula, did build gardens on the site, before her son decided to built a circus for charioteers there instead. His project was completed by Emperor Nero, which is why it was named the Circus of Nero. It was in this circus that many early Christians were martyred, including, according to tradition, St Peter himself. The first basilica was built on the supposed site of St Peter’s tomb in 326 CE and the Vatican has been associated with Christianity ever since.

Who are the Swiss Guard?

The Papal Swiss Guard are responsible for the safety and security of the Pope and palaces of Vatican City. The guards are all Swiss Catholic men aged between 19 and 30 who have completed basic training with the Swiss army. The guard was founded in 1506, and their modern dress uniform (which is stripy and multicolored) reflects the way the guards were reported to have dressed in the 16th century, and on formal occassions they also carry halberds, their traditional weapons. Today, their day uniform is a plain blue, with a white collar, brown belt, and black beret, and they’re trained to use the same rifles and pistols as the modern-day Swiss army. They have ceremonial roles as well as being in charge of security, and they’ve also recently undergone extra training in case of terrorism.

Can we visit the Vatican for free?

You can visit parts of the Vatican without a ticket. St Peter’s Square is open to the public from 7 am to 11 pm and there’s plenty of architectural gems in the square alone. You can also visit St Peter’s Basilica for free, though lines can get pretty long during peak hours of the day. Papal audiences and the Sunday Angelus can also be attended free of charge.

Will we meet the Pope?

It’s extremely unlikely that you’ll be able to have a private chat with Pope Francis, but it’s usually quite easy to see him from a distance! You can attend a papal audience at 10 am on most Wednesdays, which is a 1.5 to 2 hour service where the Pope preaches and gives blessings to the congregation in St Peter’s Square, or you can be in the square for the Sunday Angelus, where the Pope appears on a balcony and prays with the assembled crowd for about 15 to 20 minutes. Just make sure you’re in the right place at the right time, it’s free to attend either service and you don’t need a ticket.

Can you only visit the Sistine Chapel?

No, you can only visit the Sistine Chapel with a ticket to the Vatican Museums.

Do we need our passports to get into Vatican City? And do they use another currency?

Vatican City has an open border agreement with Italy, so if you’re in Italy you can enter Vatican City state without worrying about a visa or border controls. It also uses euros, so if you’ve changed money for the rest of your trip to Rome then you’re all set for a day in the Vatican.

General Information

Opening Hours:

The gates to St Peter’s Square are open daily from 7 am to 11 pm. Each museum or church in Vatican City has its own opening times which may vary depending on the day of the week or the season, check their websites for details.

Tickets:

You don’t need a ticket to visit St Peter’s Square or St Peter’s Basilica. Tickets to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel vary in price depending on whether you would like to hire an audio guide or take a guided tour, or if you want to visit before or after hours. A ticket to climb the cupola of St Peter’s Basilica costs €8 if you take the stairs and €10 if you take the elevator.

Address:

Vatican City
00120 Vatican City

Security:

There is no security or border control at the entrance to St Peter’s Square. However, bag searches and security checks will take place prior to visitors entering the Vatican Museums or St Peter’s Basilica.

How to get there:

Vatican City can be reached via Rome’s Metro system, just take line A to Ottaviano-S. Pietro station. You can also reach it by taking the number 19 tram, or bus numbers 40, 62, 64, or 81. Vatican City is also a 15 to 20 minute walk from other major sites in Rome, including Piazza Navona and the Spanish Steps.

Accessibility:

Vatican City is, in general, accessible to wheelchair users. St Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel are all accessible to wheelchair users, with the exception of the Necropolis (Scavi) tours and the upper level of the dome of St Peter’s Basilica. The Vatican Gardens are also not recommended for wheelchair users as there are many slopes and difficult terrain. There are spaces reserved for wheelchair users and their companions during papal audiences, visitors are encouraged to book these in advance.
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