1 December 2008
We receive numerous questions what visitors can and cannot do/bring into the Vatican. Below you will find a list of our Vatican City Frequently Asked Questions. Enjoy!
What is the dress code inside the Vatican buildings?
Both St. Peter’s and the Museums are considered holy places. Men should wear slacks, and women should wear slacks or skirts below the knee. Shoulders must also be covered. If you are intent on wearing spaghetti straps or a halter-top, bring a shawl and expect to keep it around you. Shorts are not allowed on anyone, including children. These rules may seem unduly strict, but remember, you are a guest in the Vatican.
What are the best days/times to visit the Vatican?
The best times to visit the Vatican Museums are the late afternoon, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday. That’s not to say you couldn’t go other days, these just happen to be the times when we’ve found the lines to be shorter and therefore, the crowds inside the museums are also thinner. (The Museums are closed on Sundays.)
I would like to attend the Papal audience. How do I go about arranging this?
The Pope addresses a general audience every Wednesday at 10 am. You can make reservations through us by looking under Concierge Services on our website, or call the Vatican prefetura directly at +39 06.69883017. Be forewarned that the Papal address creates a very large crowd. It’s not the intimate engagement that people may expect, as hundreds of pilgrims are in attendance within St. Peter’s square.
Why don’t you offer any of your Vatican small group walks on Wednesdays?
Since the Papal Audience takes place every Wednesday morning, St. Peter’s Basilica is closed until about 1 pm. Because of this, we don’t schedule anything in the morning. We also stay away from Wednesday afternoons because so many people who attend the audience in the morning go straight to the museums, making it unusually crowded inside. We can schedule something privately on Wednesday afternoon, but suggest you pick another day for your comfort and enjoyment.
How large a bag can I take with me into the Vatican Museum?
The only bags you’re required to check are larger backpacks, like the camping kind. Ordinary ones for everyday use are fine. Carry-on bags are no problem, just nothing like a suitcase. Our advice is to check anything cumbersome or anything that may knock something over.
Is photography allowed inside Vatican buildings?
Photography is allowed without flash in all areas except for the Sistine Chapel. There is no photography allowed in the Sistine Chapel. If you see photos others have taken, it’s due to the fact that they’ve ignored the guards and taken photos. We do not recommend this, as we believe in adhering to the rules. (It’s also worth noting that the Chapel is well staffed, and if officials do catch you, they will ask you to leave.)
It is possible to enter into the Sistine Chapel without going through the entire museum?
This seems to be a popular belief, but is in fact untrue. One must follow through the entire route of the museums before entering the Sistine, which is located at the very end.
What about wheelchairs?
You may use your own wheelchair, or the Vatican can provide one for you. Please keep in mind that there are several areas of the Vatican Museums that are inaccessible with a wheelchair. There is a special route for wheelchair users, complete with elevators, allowing access to about 70% of the museum. Note that St. Peter’s Basilica is run separately from the Vatican Museums and does not provide wheelchair rental, so any wheelchair rented from the museums, must stay within that building.
Can I bring a stroller into the museums?
Yes, light weight collapsable strollers can be brought into the museums and are highly recommended for small children due to the lack of seating in the Vatican.