Top 10 Tips for Exploring the Vatican Museums in Rome

The Vatican Museums are a must-see destination for anyone visiting Italy. Home to some of the world’s most iconic works of art and architecture, it can be hard to know how best to maximize your visit. Exploring the Vatican Museums is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. With so much to see and do, it can be overwhelming to plan your visit. Following my tips will ensure that you make the most of your time in this iconic destination without missing out on any must-see attractions or works of art. Whether you’re visiting for an hour or spending all day exploring, I hope these suggestions help guide you through one of the world’s greatest museums. Enjoy!

St Peter's Basilica, Rome

Here are my top 10 tips for making the most out of your time at the Vatican Museums:

  1. Buy your tickets online. Long lines are a common sight at the Vatican Museums, so to avoid wasting time waiting in line, buy your tickets ahead of time via the Vatican website or one of the Vatican’s official ticket vendors. Note that there are different types of tickets available for different days and times, so make sure you pick the right one for your visit.
  2. Plan your visit carefully – The Vatican Museums are huge and can be overwhelming for first time visitors. Before you go, plan what you’d like to see, so that you don’t miss any of the highlights. To make the most of your Vatican visit, it’s worth investing in an audio guide or taking part in a guided tour. This will allow you to learn more about the museum’s history and artworks while still having time to explore independently. I personally like to go on guided visits as the guides can provide insight into Vatican history and culture that you wouldn’t otherwise get by touring on your own. Plus you have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have too.  Whether you prefer a tour in English, Italian or any other language, Vatican Museums offer a variety of guided tours. Check out the types of tours here
  3. There is more to the Vatican Museums than the Sistine Chapel! Don’t get me wrong, it is an amazing piece of artwork with Michelangelo having painted it whilst laying on his back. There is the Raphael’s Rooms, the Hall of Masks, the Niccoline Chapel, the Tapestries Hall plus much more.
  4. Time your Vatican visit carefully. Certain times of the year can be particularly crowded, like during major religious holidays and the summer months, so try to plan your Vatican Museum visit for a quieter time if possible. The Vatican Museums are usually open from Monday to Saturday, while they’re closed on Sundays except for the last Sunday of each month when admission is free (but with a limited number of visitors). It can get very hot in Rome in the summer months, so it’s best to schedule your Vatican Museum visit for the early morning or late afternoon.
  5. Wear comfortable shoes – The Vatican Museums stretch over four levels so it’s important to wear comfortable shoes if you want make sure that your feet don’t get sore during your visit!
  6. Dress appropriately – Vatican City is a holy place and visitors should dress modestly when visiting its museums and attractions, with shoulders and knees covered (no shorts or strappy tops).Make sure to wear long trousers or skirts and a shirt with sleeves (even in summer) if you want to get past the Vatican’s strict dress code. I have seen men having to wiggle their shorts down enough to cover their knees before being allowed in. It is also important not to show too much skin as this could lead to being refused entry into some areas or buildings.
  7. Take photos but don’t forget to look up. Check for signs as to where photography is allowed or not. Generally, photography is allowed in the Vatican Museums (except for flash photography which is not permitted inside galleries or chapels due to the delicate nature), but don’t get caught up in taking pictures and forget to actually enjoy the sights. Take a few photos of your favorite works of art and then put your camera/phone away to soak up the atmosphere of one of the world’s greatest museums.
  8. Don’t forget about non-art related attractions. While the Vatican’s art galleries are a must-see, don’t forget about the Vatican’s other attractions like St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Gardens. These can be just as fascinating as the museums themselves, so make sure to leave some time for them in your itinerary.
  9. Don’t forget water – It’s important stay hydrated while visiting Vatican City, so make sure you bring along a bottle of water with you as it can get hot during summer months and dehydration can set in quickly if not monitored closely! Additionally, many souvenir shops sell bottled water at reasonable prices if needed!
  10. Make sure to take breaks in between your Vatican Museum visits – Rome has lots of amazing attractions and sites to explore! Consider taking some time out to enjoy a gelato at one of the city’s many cafes and piazzas. Also, Vatican Museums have a number of cafes and restaurants, so you can take your time and enjoy a meal or snack while admiring the stunning architecture.

Exploring the Vatican Museums in Rome is an incredible experience that shouldn’t be missed by anyone visiting Italy’s capital city for vacation or business purposes alike! By following these tips, travellers will have everything they need for an enjoyable, educational experience during their visit without having any unnecessary stress during their stay! With its priceless works of art from centuries past, breathtaking architecture and stunning views from St Peter’s Basilica, any visitor should make sure they explore every nook and cranny within this iconic landmark before leaving Rome for good! So why not start planning your trip today? You won’t regret it!

Daiana Magalhaes
Based in Dianella, WA
Trading Hours
Monday - Friday 9-5 24/7 in case of emergencies

Make an enquiry

Subscribe to my e-newsletter for the latest travel offers:

My memberships, accreditations and accolades

Town Ambassador - Sonnino, Italy 2019 - Discover Places

Premier Aussie Specialist 2022 - 2023

Peace of Mind Peace of mind