I seriously love Rome! I've been there twice now, and it still remains one of my absolute favorite cities abroad! One super cool area to explore in Rome is the Vatican and Vatican City. I've visited the Vatican twice as well (mostly because the Vatican is that cool to visit I had to go again!)
So, I decided to whip together a little post about some of my tips for exploring the Vatican and Vatican City! Read on for my Top 5 Tips for Exploring Vatican City!
1. Dress Appropriately!
One thing not many people realize is that there is a dress code for the Vatican. Men and women both need to have there knees covered and there shoulders covered. Men should also avoid wearing hats.
I got lucky and went in March both times, so keeping everything covered was pretty easy! A good rule of thumb for clothes for visiting the Vatican is to just wear what you would normally wear to church, which is super handy since the Basilica is a church!
2. Be Patient!
The odds are you will end up waiting in a line at some point! There are so may people coming to see Vatican City and all its sites that you are most likely going to end up waiting to see something. Whether you're waiting your turn to get into the Sistine Chapel, up the stairs of the Duomo, or to rub Jesus's feet in the Bascilica, just be kind and patient since you will eventually get to do and see everyting!
If you are able to book a tour, or get a Roma Pass (which I super recommend getting!) you should be able to cut down on some of your wait times!
3. Plan to Spend the Whole Day There!
Vatican City has 5 different "areas" to explore: Saint Peter's Square and the Obelisk (pictured in my Be Patient tip!), The Vatican Museum and Gardens, The Sistine Chapel, Saint Peter's Basilica, and The Duomo. There is so much to see and do that you really need to plan on spending most, if not all, of a day there! It's completely free to go into St. Peter's Square and see the Obelisk, but seeing any other areas of Vatican City will need a ticket.
And I would recommend doing it all if you can! Some people skip the Vatican Museum, assuming it is only religious artifacts, but it is honestly one of the best curated museums I've been too! The Hall of Tapestries is phenomenal! Plus, the Museum ends with the Sistine Chapel, and that is something you don't want to miss! (PS. They will yell at you in Italian if you try to take pics in the Sistine Chapel. So, put your camera away and just drink the spectacle!)
And then you get into the Basilica itself, and it's gigantic! There are so many little hidden niches and chapels that you'll want to explore every inch of it! Plus, the you could spend hours just ogling the architecture in there! It honestly takes a whole day to do Vatican City the justice it deserves!
4. Wear Comfy Shoes!
Like I said, Vatican City is huge! And you will be doing a ton of walking! So, do yourself a favor and wear comfy shoes! Especially if you plan on hiking to the top of the Duomo, the dome on top of Saint Peter's Basilica. That's where you can get gorgeous shot of Rome like this one! It's only 320 stairs to the top, but it'll give you a real good workout! And you'll be able to enjoy the view much more without sore feet!
5. If you can, visit on a Sunday!
Not just any Sunday, but the last Sunday of the month! Entrance to the Vatican Museum is free, and you are much more likely to see the Pope (although you will need to get a ticket if you want to get his blessing!) Be warned though; these are often the busiest days, and the lines can be a little crazy! If you plan on taking advantage of the free admission, get there early and expect to wait in line!
If you can't make it on the last Sunday of the month, try to go on a Tuesday or Thursday, as there are fewer people visiting on those days!
By taking advantage of these tips, hopefully you'll be able to get the most out of one of the most gorgeous spots to visit in Rome! Were there any tips you heard before your visit that you thought were helpful? Drop them in the comments!
And be sure to tune back in on Monday for my weekly book review!