Please note: Vatican’s museums are closed on Sundays except on the last Sunday of the month. More about the working times, follow the link.
Before I start, the most important thing to say about Vatican is that I advise wholeheartedly, reserve the tickets beforehand, otherwise you will be stuck in endless queue for the museums and Sistine Chapel for hours. Tickets can be found here.
Another advice before you leave is that Vatican requires a certain dress-code, meaning that no shorts, miniskirts or sleeveless shirts are allowed, otherwise you might be asked to leave or to change.
St. Peter’s Basilica
We left our apartment quite early in the morning and went there by foot, since it is not that far away from where we stayed and we could enjoy views while walking. Vatican is a theocratic state located within Rome, protected by walls, with a population of a bit more than 800 people, rest of whom you will see will be tourists.
We started our trip here by going to see Vatican Museums, which hold impressive treasures acquired from around the world, ancient Rome artefacts and all of that is basically Pope’s property. I found it impossible to see everything in there just within one afternoon, taking in mind the queues (which can take ages to get through), fatigue and the extent of what there is to see. Since we had reserved the tickets in advance, we skipped the line; be aware that you will be stopped by a lot of people, who will try to sell guided tours or whatnot, it is up to you whether you will choose to buy, but in all honesty, it wore me down trying to evade all of it.
You will be given a short plan with how to navigate the area, somehow I lost mine and I cannot upload on here. We followed the crowd and went through different rooms and galleries of ancient statues and art, and made our way towards Raphael Rooms, where you could take pictures and take a short moment to admire the works of a great Renaissance auteur.
The School of Athens (1509) by Raphael
Going further, we found our way to Sistine Chapel and the ceiling painted by Michelangelo, the highlight of Vatican. No pictures or talking is allowed, which would be very appreciated by the staff in there, who were shouting on people without catching a breath while some lady took one picture followed by big ass flash-light straight to their faces. Thus, I did not take any pictures out of respect and took my moment to appreciate the magnitude of Michelangelo’s legacy.
Being tired and barely walking, we sat down in an inner garden of the museums to have some coffee, which was surprisingly not that expensive and quite good! So look out for a coffee bar.
The Gallery of Maps
Inside St. Peter’s Basilica
Next after the museums, we went on to join a queue for St Peter’s Basilica. One of the main Christian religious sites, a symbol for Italian Renaissance that took over 100 years to be completed. While I am not religious myself, being in the presence of this magnificent church took my breath away, and I am sure I was emotional, because the beauty and the size of this building is hard to describe by words. You will find Michelangelo’s “Pieta” straight on the righten side when you enter, surrounded by people. You are allowed to take pictures in the church, so go for it. We ended our journey with taking last pictures of Vatican and Swiss guards near the basilica, I loved their costumes!