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Omitting the Vatican Museum from my itinerary

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North Caroline
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Omitting the Vatican Museum from my itinerary

I'm working on an itinerary for my brief visit to Rome. I will arrive mid-afternoon on a Monday and leave Thursday morning. Not much time I know. Really only two days. I plan on spending one day exploring Ancient Rome (Colosseum and surrounding sights)and one day Sacred Rome (Vatican City and surrounding sights).

Thinking about not doing the Vatican Museum this trip. Would that be similar to going to Paris and leaving out the Louvre? I do want to see the Sistine Chapel. Are the two sights connected or can I see one without the other?

Any thoughts. I'm wanting a slower pace on this trip...not so hurried.

Montreal
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1. Re: Omitting the Vatican Museum from my itinerary

You can't see the Sistine Chapel without going through the Vatican Museums.

pittsburgh
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2. Re: Omitting the Vatican Museum from my itinerary

If you really want to see the chapel I would suggest booking tickets for 8 A.M. entrance and heading straight to it. It will take about half an hour of brisk walking but if you get it done first thing in the morning you will have the rest of the day to take your time seeing the others sites you wish to see. The only way to see the chapel is to go through the museums.

Donna

Ravenna, Italy
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3. Re: Omitting the Vatican Museum from my itinerary

There is so much to Rome other than the Sistine Chapel. Save it for another trip when you can devote a long time seeing the museum and then the chapel. Donna has give you excellet advice go when it opens...othrrwise you will think you are in a hot subway train and not enjoy the visit.

Just skip it this time...

Le Marche, Italy
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4. Re: Omitting the Vatican Museum from my itinerary

I always advise friends and relatives who are visiting Rome for less than three full days to skip the Vatican Museums unless they are really dying to see some particular thing there, such as the Sistine Chapel. A lot of people feel embarrassed to say that they went to Rome and didn't see the Sistine Chapel, or to Paris and didn't see the Louvre. However, there's no need to be embarrassed; experienced travelers always leave something for the next trip.

I have a daughter who has been to Rome a number of times and hasn't seen the Sistine Chapel yet. It's not that she doesn't care about art; she's a genuine lover of art, although perhaps her favorite art isn't that of the Italian Renaissance. The last time we were in Rome together, we spent three hours in the Capitoline Museums and loved every minute.

She will probably get to the Vatican Museums one day, but so far most of her visits are in the summer, and it's really a very tiring place to spend even part of a hot summer day. It's very crowded, not air-conditioned, and packed to the gills. Even in cool weather, a visit to the Vatican Museums pretty much finishes me off for any more sightseeing.

North Caroline
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5. Re: Omitting the Vatican Museum from my itinerary

I was almost afraid to post my question for fear I would get blasted :) Thanks for all your advice. I agree with you totally.

Seattle, Washington
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6. Re: Omitting the Vatican Museum from my itinerary

An alternative suggestion for your second day:

I recommend that instead of Vatican and Sistine Chapel, you include a walk through the street and squares of Rome instead. That will give you a flavor of the city and exposure to the innumerable works of art, fountains, churches...the best use of your time on a short visit.

I.e.: Start in Piazza Barberini, look at the Bernini fountain, take via Sistina, walk until you reach Trinità dei Monti and go down the Spanish steps. Enjoy the scenography and another of the Bernini fountains in piazza di Spagna. Then take via Condotti and stop for a coffee or aperitivo at the famous Caffè Greco, favorite spot of many artists and writers in the past.

You can then follow via del Corso and turn right on piazza Colonna, heading towards Pantheon and piazza Navona. Sant'Ivo alla Sapienza, on via Risorgimento, parallel to piazza Navona used to house the University of Rome, and it is a baroque masterpiece not to be missed.

If it helps with your guilt, you should know that there are plenty of Romans that have been at the Vatican Museums only once or twice in their entire lifetime.

Edited: 12:06 pm, May 12, 2010
Le Marche, Italy
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7. Re: Omitting the Vatican Museum from my itinerary

Of the many people in Italy who have been to the Vatican Museums only once in their lives, I would guess that the vast majority were there on a school trip.

Winchester...
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8. Re: Omitting the Vatican Museum from my itinerary

You can definitely visit the Sistine Chapel without wasting time in the Vatican Museums if you are disciplined and zip through the museums to get to the chapel.

I've told this story many times on the internet, and probably about a dozen times on Trip Advisor, but my wife and I once did a one-day zip tour of the entire city - she grew up there and I had spent time there before we had met, so we just wanted to check to make sure everything was still there. I'm now forgetting the details of our itinerary - I think we probably went to the Vatican to see the Sistine Chapel in the morning, racing through the map rooms to get there, then went to the Palatine (through the Forum) for a picnic lunch. I think we even had time during the day back in our hotel room for a nap. Crazy, busy day, but really one of the highlights of my life.

Missouri
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9. Re: Omitting the Vatican Museum from my itinerary

My complaint about the Sistine Chapel is in a thread for anyone to read. LOL! But we had seven days and I am glad I went to the museum and Chapel. Still, I agree with everyone who says it isn't a MUST. My Rick Steve's book said you can do the museum in 2 hours. I suppose that's possible, but it took us much longer, 4 or 5 at least. But then we spent 4 hours in the Capitoline Museum as well. I don't seem to be able to do anything but linger in museums!

There is so much to see in Rome you could be there two weeks without fitting it all in, so I wouldn't feel bad about skipping the museum unless you think it's the only time you will ever have the chance in your lifetime. I did feel that way, but that's a different story. There is much wonderful art to see in just the churches that you could get your fill of art without ever stepping inside the Vatican.

Enjoy your trip to Rome. Go where you want to go most. And don't worry about what anyone else may think of your choices! It's YOUR trip!

St Paul, MN
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10. Re: Omitting the Vatican Museum from my itinerary

I think there is no problem with not seeing the Vatican Museum/Sistine chapel. I went to Rome 4 times before getting into Vatican Museums/Sistine chapel. This was before you could purchase tickets online. In the winter last admission used to be a 1 pm and when we would arrive the line would be backed up practically to the Ottaviano Metro stop.

Actually, I find the rest of the Vatican Museums a better place to visit than the Sistine Chapel itself. It is stuffed with great art and artifacts and mostly except in the halls leading to the Ssitine Chapel one is not crowded into them like a sardine.