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Need help planning day at Vatican around Necropolis Tour

Toronto
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Need help planning day at Vatican around Necropolis Tour

Help! I need some advice on how to plan our day at the Vatican. We’ll be in Rome in mid-October so I sent out an email yesterday asking about the tours of the Necropolis, never expecting I’d hear back (or, at least, not for a few weeks/months). Incredibly, I got a confirmation email in less than an hour indicating we’d gotten in on the day I specified. So, now I have to try to fit in everything else around it, and I’m not quite sure the best way to do it.

Our tour of the Necropolis is on a Friday, at 3:15pm. They estimate it’ll take about 1.5hrs, so we should get out around 4:45pm-ish.

I specifically asked for it to be on a Friday because I wanted to book an evening tour of the Sistine Chapel, etc. It’s still too early to book this (only goes up to August now), but I think it would be better to try to get the 7pm tour, to reduce the amount of waiting time in between the two tours.

Questions if I am able to book the night tour –

1) One of the reasons I wanted to book the night tour is my (perhaps wrong) assumption that it will be less crowded. Can anyone confirm if they let just as many people into the night tours as they do during the day, or if it will be less crowded because they restrict admittance?

2) I’m assuming the night tours are the same as the tours you would get if you booked during the day, but can someone confirm it’s not a shorter version and we might miss out on seeing some of the areas if we picked a night tour vs. going during the day.

3) Can tickets for the night tour be picked up from the same location as the tickets for the Necropolis tour, at the same time (i.e. 3:00pm ticket pickup for 7pm tour)? Or, do we have to stand in 2 different lines at two different times in order to get both sets of tickets?

4) The Necropolis tour should finish up around 4:45pm. Provided we’ve already been able to pick up the tickets and don’t have to wait in line again to pick up the night admission/tour tickets, we’ll have a little under 1.5 hours between the two tours. Is there anything to do inside the Vatican for that time that doesn’t require a timed ticket, or is it ok to leave the Vatican, grab a quick bite to eat, and come back closer to the second tour time?

In case we can’t get tickets for the night tour and have to go with a regular daytime admission –

1) It looks like tickets for the regular daytime admissions can also only be booked now through August, and I can’t find a schedule of the admission/tour times online, so I’m not sure what our daytime choices are. What time would you recommend we try to get tickets for so the first one ends around 2:45pm? (Necropolis confirmation email says tickets for that tour can only be picked up about 10mins prior to start, so we won’t have the option of getting both sets of tickets at the same time in the event of a daytime admission).

That’s all the questions I can think of right now. We don’t have a lot of time in Rome, and we’re staying in the San Lorenzo area, so to maximize time I really want to try to get all the Vatican stuff to fit together as well as possible so we can see it all in one trip and not waste too much time in between tours. Any advice you can give would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Richardson, Texas
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1. Re: Need help planning day at Vatican around Necropolis Tour

Hi!, We did the Scavi/Necropolis English Tour at the same time that you have been granted and I wanted to share with you that there were some people on the same tour with us that had done the Vatican/Sistine earlier that same day and they could barely stand up. They were struggling. So if you do get access to a night tour after the Scavi/Necropolis Tour, I would walk around to the Vatican Museum Entrance (approx. 20-30 min. walk depending on you) and rest at one of the café's or in one of the hotels across the street. Enjoy something refreshing in the bar or a snack until time. That may recharge you. It's all wonderful. Enjoy!

Edited: 19 June 2013, 21:48
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2. Re: Need help planning day at Vatican around Necropolis Tour

Tickets for the Vatican Museums cannot be picked up at the Scavi office so you'll need to do that separately.

The scavi tour ends in the grottoes under St. Peter's basilica, so you can spend some time after the tour exploring the basilica before heading over to the museums for your evening tour.

Glasgow, United...
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3. Re: Need help planning day at Vatican around Necropolis Tour

We done both the Necropolis Tour and the Vatican Under e Stars tour although on different days so I may be able to help a little. You collect your tickets for the Nexropolis tour from the Area near the Swiss guard (you will get instructions when you have paid), you are advised where to go and when to be there to begin the tour (I would say plan on getting there at least half an hour before so you aren't rushing about). We absolutely loved this tour but be warned as it is underground it can get quite warm and stuffy (a few people on our tour asked about air conditioning, this did not go down well with the guide). Afterwards you could perhaps stop at one of the cafes nearby for some rest and an early dinner/snack before your next tour. The queue for the night time tour of the museum is massive as the locals tend to visit at night but not to worry as you have pre booked you just go to the front of the queue at your allotted time slot and they let you into a much smaller queue with other people who have booked in advance. The entrance to the museums is outside the walls and at a completely different part from your first tour, you just get your tickets at the door by showing your confirmation of booking. There are some rooms which are closed during the night time tour however having already visited the museums twice during the day I never felt it was lacking in any way and if anything seeing it at night gave it a more magical feel. I hope this helps and you have a great time

Le Marche, Italy
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4. Re: Need help planning day at Vatican around Necropolis Tour

It would seem to me that you could tour the Basilica for a while before heading over to the Museums. The night tour is reportedly much less crowded. The visit can *only* be made by reservation, so I don't understand the comment about long lines of locals waiting to get in. Not all of the rooms are open for the evening visits, and the tour may not go to all the rooms that *are*open. (The day-time tours certainly don't visit all the rooms, either, as it would be impossible in two hours.) This page tells you the rooms that are open at night, but I can't find a page that tells which of them are visited by the tour.

…vatican.va/musei/tickets/do…

Maybe the tour follows the same route as the daytime tour, because it looks to me as though all the rooms are open that the daytime tour visits. The daytime tour doesn't go to the Egyptian Collection, as far as I know, and that's one of the greatest collections in the Museums. If you want to visit the most rooms possible, you should probably just get an entry ticket, and use a guide book or audio tour to get information.

If you want to stop at a bar before entering the Museums, be warned that there have been reports of gross overcharging by the Café Vaticano, just across from the museum entrance. People have reported paying 16 euros for a takeaway ice cream.

Toronto
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5. Re: Need help planning day at Vatican around Necropolis Tour

Thanks everyone, that's all going to be a great help!

Bvlenci... one clarification question. You mentioned it might be better just to get an entry ticket and tour the rooms on our own. That's only an option with daytime entry, correct? Or, do they allow you to wander if you get in on a Friday night, as long as you've booked the specific time of your visit?

Also, I did read the thread about the Cafe Vaticano... We will definitely make sure to avoid that cafe.

Louisville, KY
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6. Re: Need help planning day at Vatican around Necropolis Tour

You are so fortunate to have received the scavi tour! We tried for 3 days the beginning of October three weeks ago and could not get them.

NJ
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7. Re: Need help planning day at Vatican around Necropolis Tour

We just returned from Rome two weeks ago, and were privileged to have taken the Scavi tour. We also visited the Vatican Museums on a Friday night, June 7.

Since the Scavi tour ends in the grottoes beneath St. Peter's Basilica, it makes sense to combine that tour with a visit to the basilica. That way, you avoid the lines for entrance into the basilica, which as many before me have pointed out, are simply to pass security. But do spend at least a few minutes in the grottoes. Many tombs of popes and others (the Stuart pretenders I believe) are down there.

Our visit to the Vatican Museums went very well. We entered at the first available time, 7PM. Concentrations of people were greatest at the Raphael Stanzae and Sistine Chapel. However, in our view, they were quite manageable at these places. It was still easy to navigate the Raphael Stanzae, as they are for the most part on the ceilings and high on the walls - but don't neglect the interesting lower walls and even the floor decorations.

As would be expected, people tended to collect at the Sistine Chapel. It's the last place on the tour, and of course it's what everyone wants to see. But one still could walk about the chapel if one took care not to bump into fellow ceiling-gazers, and seating on the benches around the perimeter of the chapel was available, although if one desired to sit in a particular place, one might have to wait to get a seat there, as opposed to taking whatever else was available. We hired a private guide for the evening, and she told us that, in her experience, this was a very manageable crowd.

I would make two suggestions. First, bring binoculars! I brought a pair to Italy, and then forgot to bring them to the Sistine! Ouch! Second, the Scavi tour, St. Peter's, and the Vatican Museums make for a very long day if done all together. Try to separate them if possible - that is what we did. But if you can't at this point, certainly use the hour or two after you leave St. Peter's and before your entry into the Vatican Museums, to rest up and refresh. You will need it. It is a VERY long walk to the Sistine Chapel.

Edited: 20 June 2013, 20:21
Cape Cod, MA
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8. Re: Need help planning day at Vatican around Necropolis Tour

Derby city family, I emailed them yesterday and was given a time slot for oct 10, within 18 hours.. Perhaps try again? My question is, can you do the scavi tour and skip the museums, go directly to Sistine chapel?

Thanks in advance

NJ
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9. Re: Need help planning day at Vatican around Necropolis Tour

CapeCodKate30,

The Scavi tour and Vatican Museums (of which the Sistine Chapel is a part) are two separate sites. One cannot go directly from the Scavi tour to the Vatican Museums; rather, one would complete the Scavi tour and exit St. Peter's Basilica and then make the 20-30 minute walk around the outside of Vatican City to reach the entrance of the Vatican Museums.

Once at the museums, one has to go through the entire museum - although there are several routes, one of which is designed to allow the fastest travel to the chapel.

Edited: 21 June 2013, 04:08
Louisville, KY
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10. Re: Need help planning day at Vatican around Necropolis Tour

CapeCod Kate, I will try again right now Our dates are Set. 30, Oct 1, and Oct. 2...maybe something is going on....