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Vatican Museums - Guided tour or go solo?

Chandler, AZ
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Vatican Museums - Guided tour or go solo?

My husband and I will be in Rome at the end of this month and would like to see the Vatican museum, Sistine Chapel, & St. Peter's Basilica. At the very least, we plan to purchase our tickets online and reserve an entry time to avoid the lines as much as possible, but my question is if it's worth it to sign up for one of the guided group tours through the Vatican website? Or is it preferable to just go through the museum ourselves?

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Miami Beach, Florida
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1. Re: Vatican Museums - Guided tour or go solo?

I liked going through myself better. Just rent an audio guide after you enter. This way you can stop and get information for whatever strikes you. Most are numbered and correspond on the audio.

pittsburgh
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2. Re: Vatican Museums - Guided tour or go solo?

It's really a personal choice. I like to do it myself or with an audio guide. Some people prefer live guides. It's really what makes you the most comfortable.

Donna

Chandler, AZ
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3. Re: Vatican Museums - Guided tour or go solo?

Thanks for the quick replies! For an audio guide, and I may have read this somewhere but can't recall at the moment, is this something you can rent at the Vatican, or would it be better/easier to download prior to arrival?

The only other question is how entrance into St. Peter's works if you go solo. I know the guided option notes that you get direct entrance, but if you go on your own, do you have to wait in the general line?

Los Gatos, CA...
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4. Re: Vatican Museums - Guided tour or go solo?

Purchase the tickets ahead of time via the Vaticani website for an afternoon time. When we went in June (last month), there were so many tour buses. After 12 p.m., hardly anyone is around.

Remember to purchase the tickets to skip a line. You will need to get to the Museum entrance and stay to the right. There' no line.

If you don't purchase tickets ahead, you will have to wait in a LONG line on the left.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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5. Re: Vatican Museums - Guided tour or go solo?

You rent the audio guides at the Vatican Museum once you are through the ticket line. IMO the audio guide droned on and on in some spots. The Museum is huge so you can spend a lot of time there. If you want to limit the amount of time you spend, take a guided tour that will allow you to see the highlights and be done in 2-3 hours. If you like a lot of detail and have the time, the audioguide may be a good choice for you.

maryland
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6. Re: Vatican Museums - Guided tour or go solo?

Definitely, personal choice. We were just there on the 6th. We booked thru 7 Hills. We enjoyed it and learned a lot. Lasted 3 hours. If you want to spend more time at the museum do it yourself. Tour ended in St Peters so you could stay there as long as you wanted. Just couldn't go back to museum or Sistine

pittsburgh
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7. Re: Vatican Museums - Guided tour or go solo?

For the audio guide you can either rent there or download something from online. I hear Rick Steves has a pretty good one.

If you don't book a tour of the museums you don't get to use the bypass door into the basilica. It's for tours only and just last week they were checking the tickets for everyone. I did a Friday night and also a Saturday in the museums and they checked every person (not on the Friday night because the basilica was closed) to be sure they were on a tour. You'll need to wait in the line to get into the basilica. It is on the left side of the basilica under the colonnade as you face the basilica. In the morning the line was huge but in the afternoon it was smaller and moved quickly.

Donna

Eaton Rapids...
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8. Re: Vatican Museums - Guided tour or go solo?

I was there at around 2:00pm and had zero wait to get in and got to hang out in the Sistine chapel for about 45 minutes at the end of my self guided tour. I prefer buying the Vatican museum guidebook to renting an audio guide. You read into more what interests you and skip what you don't like. The St Peter's line moves very quickly. Have fun!!

Edited: 10 July 2013, 01:01
9. Re: Vatican Museums - Guided tour or go solo?

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