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Am I Crazy to Skip the Vatican Museum?

Indianapolis...
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Am I Crazy to Skip the Vatican Museum?

I am spending four days in Rome in October and am greatly looking forward to surrounding myself in the great artwork and architecture - St. Peters Basilica and the Pieta, the Borghese, Il Gesu, Capitoline Museum, and so forth, not to mention spending time just getting lost wandering around the city. But given comments about the crowd / wait / expense of the Vatican Museums I am thinking about skipping it and just visit the Basilica given that 1) except for the Sistine Chapel, which it goes without saying absolutley is unique, there is great similar art work at other places that I don't want to miss, and 2) many people seem disappointed in the Sistine Chapel given the crowd and short time period you're actually there. So am I crazy to skip the Vatican Museum and spend my time elsewhere (in equally outstanding but less crowded sites)?

Rome, Italy
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1. Re: Am I Crazy to Skip the Vatican Museum?

Not crazy at all; practical.

I know people that only got around to seeing the Sistine on their 3rd trip to Rome. If you've only a few days it makes a lot of sense to enjoy the city, see lots of other great sights instead of letting the Vatican museums suck too much time from a limited schedule. Who knows, you may find yourselves free one late afternoon and simply walk over to the Vatican and head in with little wait. It is a lovely experience to amble over and head directly to the sistine at a leisurely pace, without cramming other Vatican museum sights into your visit.

Here
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2. Re: Am I Crazy to Skip the Vatican Museum?

Some people will tell you have to see the Sistine Chapel but I say you're paying for your vacation so you get to decide. I enjoyed St Peter's much more than Sistine Chapel and I enjoyed the Rafael rooms and the map rooms more than the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museum. You can request a tour direct from the Vatican which would allow you to skip the line. Not everyone gets in one the tour but it's worth a shot if the SC is of any interest to you. The older I get the less tolerance I have for crowds and lines. Do what works best for you. The Borghese Gallery is my favorite museum on the globe. I visit it every time I am in Rome but 2x in the SC in 8 years is enough for a lifetime.

Oak Hill, VA
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3. Re: Am I Crazy to Skip the Vatican Museum?

Go to the Vatican about 3:00 in the afternoon. Almost no line into the museum and the Bascillia was almost half full. Most people go there at 8:00 in the morning and the line is unbelievable. Even if you book in advance you wait 45 min to get on.

Paul

Philadelphia...
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4. Re: Am I Crazy to Skip the Vatican Museum?

We didn't see the Vatican Museum until our 3rd trip to Rome because we hadn't known about pre-booked tours and the lines intimidated us. When we finally did see the museum I was taken by much of the art there.

Here are some less crowded options:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187791-i22-k13246…

Here
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5. Re: Am I Crazy to Skip the Vatican Museum?

Some people will tell you have to see the Sistine Chapel but I say you're paying for your vacation so you get to decide. I enjoyed St Peter's much more than Sistine Chapel and I enjoyed the Rafael rooms and the map rooms more than the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican Museum. You can request a tour direct from the Vatican which would allow you to skip the line. Not everyone gets in one the tour but it's worth a shot if the SC is of any interest to you. The older I get the less tolerance I have for crowds and lines. Do what works best for you. The Borghese Gallery is my favorite museum on the globe. I visit it every time I am in Rome but 2x in the SC in 8 years is enough for a lifetime.

Dublin
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6. Re: Am I Crazy to Skip the Vatican Museum?

No, I don't think you're mad at all. I think the Sistine Chapel is over rated and I know I will be denounced from on high for saying such things but there you are. Do see St Peter's though, that to me is worth it. And as always I recommend begining down at the bottom left hand corner and working up and over so as to finish down at the bottom right hand side at the Pieta`. Stand back and admire.

Philadelphia...
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7. Re: Am I Crazy to Skip the Vatican Museum?

What... Roma'72??

And miss the Laocoön!!! Heresy!

:-)

You're absolutely right though, the Pieta is the crown jewel of Vatican City.

nashville
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8. Re: Am I Crazy to Skip the Vatican Museum?

yes I think you are crazy to skip it in particular because you indicate you actually are interested in art -- the Vatican Museum is IMHO far superior to the other Roman museums like the Capitoline -- which I found quite disappointing -- it is full of wonderful stuff -- and the Sistine is really not to be missed

don't go early -- we have usually not had long waits later in the day -- and in my two experiences of the Sistine Chapel we were not there a 'short' time period -- both times, I waited for a spot on the bench at the edges of the room, sat down and got a good long long look -- I think it is worth the wait

the other don't miss is San Pietro en Vincoli near the Colosseum -- where the other great masterpiece of Michelangelo resides -- the great Moses -- be sure to check times this place is open -- it closes down for a big hunk of the afternoon

Taylorsville, Utah
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9. Re: Am I Crazy to Skip the Vatican Museum?

The Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums were among my favorites, but we have to make choices. If you think you would like something else better, go for it. You can't see everything on a short vacation.

MA
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10. Re: Am I Crazy to Skip the Vatican Museum?

If you think you will return to Rome in this lifetime, then you can put the Vatican Museums off until another trip. If you think you may not be back for many years, if ever, then you must see the Vatican Museums, which culminate in the Sistine Chapel. Do as others have suggested and go in the afternoon when the lines are so much shorter.

Rome is full of some of the greatest art in the world. The museums are extraordinary and memorable. But the Vatican Museums are incomparable. They have so much more than "just" the Sistine Chapel. We spent two full weeks in "just" Rome in April and did not even scratch the surface of its marvels. You can't go wrong with either choice.