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Can we 'escape' from a Vatican Museum visit?

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New York City, New...
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Can we 'escape' from a Vatican Museum visit?

We will be visiting Rome next week with a group that has a Vatican Museum tour scheduled on March 12. I've read that the museums are very crowded and that you can't get out once you've started. My husband gets claustrophobic in such situations, so this doesn't sound good for us. Is it possible to enter the museum and see anything at all without joining the one-way no-exit route? Thanks for any advice!

Missouri
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1. Re: Can we 'escape' from a Vatican Museum visit?

Not really. There are set itineraries for viewing. The most crowded will be the ones that go to the Sistine Chapel (which probably will not be open in March). People on these boards have been musing that the Museum will not be quite as crowded in March, since the Sistine is "off the table". If it became too much for your husband, he would have to go back the way he came in.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Can we 'escape' from a Vatican Museum visit?

Oh my. Going back against the incoming tide sounds scary. Would it be possible just to visit say the Egyptian galleries or the Pinacoteca rooms, which look like they are near the entrance, and then leave the museum?

Missouri
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3. Re: Can we 'escape' from a Vatican Museum visit?

You should be able to do that. I tried to find images of the itineraries on line, but couldn't. There are 4 color-coded itineraries to follow; you could just pick the one that looks the least popular, therefore, the least crowded.

St Paul, MN
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4. Re: Can we 'escape' from a Vatican Museum visit?

The Etruscan gllaeries are similarly unvisited and empty.

Map of Vaticn musesumn via Google satelite

https://maps.google.com/maps/ms…

another map

planetware.com/map/vatican-museums-map-scv-v…

It is the galleries on the way to the Sstine Chapel that are packed. Sistine Cahpe is 25 on the Planetware map and the red flame on the google map

Kent, England
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5. Re: Can we 'escape' from a Vatican Museum visit?

The Pinoteca, or picture gallery, in the Vatican museums is fabulous, it contains masterpieces by Raphael, Caravaggio, Leonardo and just about any other great Italian artist you can think of. Well worth visiting, somewhat overshadowed by the Raphael Rooms and Sistine, I reckon.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Can we 'escape' from a Vatican Museum visit?

Thanks for the suggestions and the links to the excellent maps. I think I'm just being paranoid about the "one way" system -- for example, if we go to the Etruscan galleries on the second floor, can we go directly back downstairs and exit, without having to trek through the whole rest of the museum to get out?

Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: Can we 'escape' from a Vatican Museum visit?

So just out of curiosity, since everyone talks about how uncomfortably packed it can be in the Vatican Museum, are there emergency exits throughout? I mean if it were truly an emergency, are there accessible exits?

Someone on another thread asked about exiting the Sistine Chapel through the tour door (to carry on to St. Peter's), but someone in their party was using a wheelchair, and it would have taken an hour for someone in their group to go back to the start and return the wheelchair, and then back to meet them - so 30 minutes just directly walking each way. Clearly I'm not grasping just how huge this place must be.

And once you get to the Sistine Chapel, there is an exit there that anyone can use?

pittsburgh
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8. Re: Can we 'escape' from a Vatican Museum visit?

Yes, it's a brisk thirty minute walk from the front of the museums to the sistine chapel, and that's without waiting in the line up that occurs during the day. During the afternoon you can wait forever to get into the chapel.

There are two exits in the chapel. You can only use the tour door if taking an authorized tour. If not on a tour you go out the regular door.

I've never tried to exit out the entrance as the traffic is one way. I suppose you could try but don't be surprised if you feel like a salmon trying to swim upstream. The halls leading up to the chapel are wall to wall people.

Donna

Missouri
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9. Re: Can we 'escape' from a Vatican Museum visit?

I don't think it's against the rules to go back the way you came. I would go and start looking at things and see how it works out. In the summer, the galleries (halls) are literally filled with people, all shuffling forward. We went again last September and did the Friday night visit and it was way less crowded. The only downside was the place was rather dimly lit, so the photos didn't turn out very well.

PmmcTO, there might be some emergency exits, but I don't really recall. And I have used that "secret" door before, but have heard that the guards are cracking down on non-tour-group use. When you get to the Chapel, the exit is to the back and left. It takes you back to beginning of the Museum, but by a different route, so you see new stuff.

Le Marche, Italy
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10. Re: Can we 'escape' from a Vatican Museum visit?

I really don't think it takes 30 minutes to walk to the Sistine Chapel I can walk a kilometer in a little over 10 minutes, and I don't think that corridor is almost three kilometers long. Of course, when it's very crowded, it can't really be called walking.

I've often wondered how they would evacuate that place if there were a fire. I've never seen emergency exits, but even if there are, the crowds are so great, I don't think a few exit doors would be enough.