The Vatican or official Vatican City State is the smallest state in the world by its surface and population. It has a population of fewer than 1000 people and covers an area of only 44 hectares, located in the heart of Rome. The Vatican’s independence was formalized on February 11, 1929.
As a tourist in the Vatican, you can visit 2 major objectives, namely: Vatican museums and St. Peter’s Basilica.
Where to get the tickets
St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most important attractions in Rome. It is free to visit, you only need to wait in a (big enough) queue to pass security. But every minute “lost” in the queue gives you the opportunity to admire the inner square (St. Peter’s Square) and once you get to the basilica, you forget everything, it’s so beautiful. In order to enjoy a spectacular view, you must climb the cathedral dome. From here you can admire the Vatican and Rome from above.
Dome Entry Ticket (Cash Only!):
- 10 euros/person – includes the elevator after which you have 320 steps more.
- 8 euros/person – you have to climb 551 steps
We chose to be sporty.
Dome Visit Program:
- 01 October – 31 March: 07.30 – 17.00
- April 1st – September 31st: 07.30 – 18:00
If you want to visit the Vatican Museums (and of course you want to do this, details below) it is advisable to purchase your tickets from the official website. When we were looking to buy tickets we found a lot of sites that sell such tickets but the price was never constant. Until we found the official site it took a while. If you do not buy your ticket online, then a huge queue awaits you where you can wait even a few hours to enter.
Tickets for Vatican museums can be purchased online, but if you also purchase a student ticket, then you must pick them up at the entrance. Here you will present if the student ID. We purchased the cheapest tickets for the Vatican, respectively: for a whole ticket 17 euros, for students only 8 euros. Besides the ticket, we had to pay a tax of 4 euros for the online purchase (official pre-sales fee). The fee is worth every penny because you do not stand in line to enter.
How was the Vatican visit
We stayed in the Vatican for almost a whole day and we could definitely stay longer. If you visit both objectives, then surely you will not feel when the time passes.
Although we prefer to wander the streets and enjoy the city vibe, not to spend time in museums, we can say that the Vatican museums were special. They offer you 3 routes to follow and no matter which one you choose, you will surely be amazed. Statues, paintings and attention to detail are extraordinary, without words. Here are some pictures to give you an idea.
In the Sistine Chapel, you are not allowed to take pictures, and we have followed the rules. We can only say that we liked it, but the opinions are divided. As in any museum, the earlier you get, the better, because there will be fewer people and you can enjoy it better.
Lunchtime got us in the Vatican museums, so we had lunch in their food court. We ate a few slices of pizza so we could recover our strength for St. Peter’s Basilica. The pizza we ate didn’t impress us and it wasn’t cheap, but we were very hungry and preferred to eat directly there because all the cafes and restaurants around the Vatican have “special” prices.
St. Peter’s Basilica
We spent the next few hours in the basilica. After staying almost an hour in the queue for the security check, we enjoyed this architectural wonder. The moment you enter you are left speechless. Below are some pictures that try to do it justice, but it is best to go and visit it for yourself.
The decision to climb the dome was made on the spot, especially since we were not sure if the weather would allow us to do so. If it was raining or misty, then we would not have a view. Climbing was slow and this was due to people taking breaks very often, so arm yourself with patience.
The day ended in Rome, at a very good osteria, where we ate freshly made pasta. But more details about Rome and food you can read in the dedicated blog.