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Visiting the Vatican Museums

You can now buy tickets and set up guided tours for the Vatican Museums ON LINE: VATICAN MUSEUMS:

  • Information Telephone Number: 06. 698.8333
  • The hours for the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel have changed (February 2008):
  • Monday through Saturday:
  • The entrance is open from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM; the Museums close promptly at 6:00 PM.
  • There is no longer any difference between summer and winter hours. (This is a recent change due to the very long lines throughout the entire year.)
  • The Museums are closed on Sundays, with the exception of the Last Sunday of the Month:
  • On this day only, admission is free and the entrance is open from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM; the Museums close promptly at 2:00 PM.

(above) Detail from the Disposition
by Caravaggio, 1608, from the Vatican Museum

For full information about tours, times and hours, click here: VATICAN MUSEUMS

NOTE: The Museums are CLOSED:

  • All other Sundays
  • World Day of Peace (Jan 1)
  • Epiphany (Jan 6)
  • Vatican National Day (Feb 11)
  • Feast of St. Joseph (Mar 19)
  • Easter Sunday (March 23)
  • Easter Monday (March 24)
  • The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord (May 1)
  • The Feast of Corpus Christi (May 22)
  • The Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul (Jun 29)
  • The Feast of the Assumption (Aug 14-15)
  • The Feast of All Saints (Nov 1)
  • The Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Dec 8)
  • Christmas Day (Dec 25)
  • The Feast of St. Stephen (Dec 26)
  • These dates of closure change from year to year, depending on which days the particular feast day falls.

THE SCAVI (Tomb of Saint Peter):

One of the most interesting tours in Rome is a visit to the excavations in the Necropolis (City of the Dead) underneath Saint Peter's Basilica. It was there that Saint Peter was buried, after having been crucified in the Circus of Nero that sat nearby (where the Vatican Gardens are located). This 60 minute tour takes you in a specific language group through several excavated streets of the Necropolis and ends at the grave of Saint Peter. Tickets normally are reserved in advance as space is limited.

You can apply for the Scavi Tour in person by visiting the Office of the Scavi (go through the Vatican gate to the left of the Entrance to St. Peter's) or you can fax at 011.3906.698.85518. DO NOT TELEPHONE THIS OFFICE FROM THE UNITED STATES! If you fax, be sure to include the full names of all people, the language in which you request the tour to be conducted, and the name and phone number of your hotel in Rome. Failure to include any of this material, may cause your application to be turned down! You can then visit in person or have your hotel call after you arrive to see if your reservation was accepted. The Scavi also has a new email address at scavi@fsp.va which seems to be working.

Please note that it is VERY DIFFICULT now to get tickets to the Scavi Tour, and the Scavi Office is NOT always the most helpful. With the large amount of visitors to Rome in the past year and the increased publicity about this tour, it is harder and harder to get reservations. Please try, but don't be too disappointed if you are not successful. The earlier you try, the better, as long as you know for sure the exact days and times you will be available. They don't take it kindly if you ask for a different time after receiving a confirmed reservation.

Please know that some people are sent a response from the Scavi Office, but because of your SPAM filters, you never receive it. It is suggested that as soon as you arrive you personally visit the scavi office and see if you have a reservation. Often times you do, especially if you made the reservation months in advance. (dated August 8, 2006)

THE VATICAN GARDENS:

A 90 minute bus and walking tour of the Vatican Gardens is possible through the Office of Information for Pilgrims and Tourists at the Vatican. This tour of the Gardens is offered everyday at 10 AM except Wednesdays and Sundays, and originates at the office. Plan to be present 15 minutes prior at 9:45 AM. The new office is located in Saint Peter's Square near the Post Office. Ask a guard for directions. Tickets must be purchased in advance. You can reach them by telephone at 011.3906.698.84466 or by telefax at 011.3906.698.85100.

THE LATERAN PALACE MUSEUM:

A unique and small museum that includes the old residence of the popes at St. John Lateran. The present exhibit in the apartment explains the history and tradition of the papal court of Pope Pius IX.. A splendid and rare museum open only on Weekends. Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:45 AM to 1 PM. Enter the portico of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran and go to the RIGHT to the doors of the Papal Apartment. ADDITIONAL TIP BY A RECENT PILGRIM TO ROME: Entrance is free to this museum WITH any Vatican Museum or Vatican Tour ticket stub that you have used within a very recent time (mostly likely within 7 days!)

The newest edition of As Romans Do 2010-2012 has just been published. This 144 page guide to Rome and Santa Susanna is a real treasure. It is dedicated to the Alumni of Santa Susanna Church and is filled with historical photos from our archives, as well as current photos from the past three years. Not only is it a parish handbook, it is also an excellent guide to visitors, pilgrims and new residents coming to Rome. It makes all kinds of recommendations for what to see and do, and provides opening times and costs for various museums and other places of interest.  It also includes 8 pages of Tips on getting around the city while you are here. We would be happy to mail you a copy of this book. Please send Fr. Greg (frgreg@santasusanna.org) your name and address and we will mail you a copy as soon as possible. All we ask is that you consider sending us a donation to help us continue our ministry here at Santa Susanna.