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Visiting the Vatican Museums

Please remember that entrance to the Vatican and Vatican museums is permitted only to visitors dressed appropriately (no sleeveless blouses, no miniskirts, no shorts, no hats allowed). Information Telephone Number: (+39)06.698.8333. The Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel are open Monday to Saturday: the Ticket Office is open from 9:00 AM AM to 4:00 PM. The Museums close at 6 PM. NOTE: The Museums are CLOSED: Sundays (except the last Sunday of every month, free entrance from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM; with mseum closing at 2 PM. However please be forewarned that it is very crowded that day. Other days of closure are January 1, 6, February 11, March 19, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, May 1, June 29, August 15, December 8, 25, 26.

For much of the tourist season – about 10 months a year – the lines to get into the museum are indescribably long and the wait can take a great portion of your day. Now you can buy your tickets online for a specific entry date and time. Visit the Vatican website at click on English and go to “Book Online and Skip the Queue”. There you can get to the Vatican Museum’s online ticket office. The reserved ticket must be printed out and it allows you to enter at the time you have elected through a short security line Guided tours may also be booked online. There separate short lines for peple with tickets.

In the Vatican, wheelchairs can be reserved by booking the day before by sending an email to: or by making a request at the “Permessi Speciali” kiosk in the entrance to the museum. There is no charge for this rental but one must present a valid identity document.

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 plus 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 months 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 or send an email to Please do not telephone this office from the United States. When you send and email or fax, be sure to include the full names of all people, the dates you are available, the language in which you are requesting the tour to be conducted, and the name and phone number of your hotel in Rome. Failure to include any of this information, may cause your application to be turned down! You may or may not receive a response from the Scavi Office (check your SPAM filter). When you arrive in Rome, you can then visit in person or have your hotel call after you arrive to see if your reservation was accepted. See their website:


There are two tours offered of the Vatican Gardens, one a guided tour on foot (approximately two hours), available working days except Wednesday and Sunday, as well as an open bus tour (40 minutes) with an audio-guide available Monday to Saturday, from 8:15 AM to 12:45 PM. The open bus tour is NOT available to children under the age of six nor is it yet available for wheelchair users.

To book these tours go to the Vatican website listed above ( Booking obligatory and you must follow the directions for purchasing on-line. For information on many other available guided tours you can email: or phone (01139) 06.6988.3145/6 or fax:


In the past few years many new and exciting tours and events are now on offer from the Vatican. From September 1st one can now visit the Pontifical Villas of Castel Gandolfo for example, or one can also visit the Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis, an archeological site within the Vatican. All of the information is available on the Vatican website: – you can follow the instructions in the guided tour section and, of course, any of these tours must be booked in advance.

The latest edition of As Romans Do is still available. This 144 page guide to Rome and Santa Susanna is a real treasure. It 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 ( 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. The next edition, focusing on the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, will be availble beginning November 1, 2015.