Looking for the best way to get your Vatican museum tickets? Find out everything you need to know, how much they cost, how to skip the line, how to get discounts, special combos including other attractions and more!
How much Vatican museum tickets cost?
When you decide to visit the main attractions in cities such as Rome, you have to accept that you are likely to face queues. That is unless you plan in advance and purchase tickets that give you priority entrance. I have never liked queues at all so I always buy my Vatican Museum Ticket online in advance. I download it for presentation when I arrive at the Museum. The basic cost of the Ticket is 17 euros but there is an additional 4 euros to pay for buying online. The audio guide that explains things as you walk around is 7 euros for adults and 5 euros for children between the ages of 6 and 12.
You may just want to see the Vatican Museum and nothing else. However, you can also choose from many different kinds of tours guiding you around the Vatican with priority entry.
- You can take for a 3-hour private tour of the Vatican and have an expert explaining everything to you.
- If you join a small group you will definitely have the opportunity to ask questions.
- If you have children, you should look at tours best suited to them.
- You can even do a night tour with dinner in the courtyard.
- Other tours include a full day which includes the Vatican with other attractions in Rome with a private driver and guide.
You can get some price comparisons online before your holiday in Rome and you may find some good deals if you take the time to look. I have certainly found discounts in the past.
Vatican museum tickets & tours
Who are eligible for discounts?
There are discounts available from the standard Vatican Museum Ticket price of 17 euros. Children between 6 and 18 are eligible for entry at 8 euros with an additional 4 euros for online purchase. Priests and men and women in religious orders and positions who can present valid documents as proof get similar discount. One companion can also enjoy the discount.
Groups on a pilgrimage with an appropriate letter officially stamped can request discount which will also be granted to an accompanying priest. If a booking is being made online, you should give precise details of the whole party. You should make the booking 60 days before the intended day of the visit. Although late changes to the booking are possible, there are no refunds on booking fees.
The fee for the guided tour must be paid in advance but the actual entry price can be paid on the day of the visit.
No discounts are available without the presentation of the necessary documents entitling them to discount.
University students up to the age of 25 and in a group can get a similar discount as long as they can present official stamped documents to prove their eligibility. Every student group of 10 or more will mean a teacher can get the same discount. Other visitors within a group will need to pay full price. The booking must be made 60 days in advance with appropriate fees due. Any guide fee is due immediately although entry tickets themselves can be bought on the day.
Individual students under 25 can get discount with proof of status. For priority entry, there is an additional 4 euros to pay.
Is it possible to visit the Vatican museum for free?
Some people can get free entry to the Vatican Museum. Perhaps you are in one of the categories that can get in for nothing?
- Entry is free on the last Sunday of the month (please refer to the Calendar of museum openings/closures).
- World Tourism Day on the 27th September this year.
- All children under 6 years old.
- Subject to proof of status, directors of museums, managing boards and similar bodies involved in the protection of archaeological, historic and artistic heritage.
- Disabled visitors with appropriate proof of invalidity over 74%. Where the visitor involved requires help, the companion involved will be allowed in free as well. Tickets cannot be bought online in advance but only on arrival at the “Special Permits” and/or “Reception” Desks within the entrance hall of the Vatican Museums. The appropriate paperwork must be presented. Once tickets are bought, priority entry is included.
- Journalists who are approved by the Directorate of the Museums and have registration with the Holy See Press Office, the Foreign Press Association in Italy and the National Order of Journalists (Italy).
- Those who hold cards from the following institutions: Icom (International Council of Museums);Icomos (International Council on Monuments and Sites).
- Those who are donators of works, financial supporters and members of the association Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.
- University tutors in the following subjects; Archaeology, Art History, Architecture and Ethnology. In addition, tutors from Rome-based academies. The purpose of the visit should be to hold occasional specialist lessons in the museum relating to their areas of expertise. Permission will be granted by writing to the Directorate of the Museums. If permission is given, it will be strictly for the site of the lesson and not to any other display area.
What is included in the Vatican museum ticket? What will you see?
Your Vatican Museum ticket permits a single entry for the appropriate day. Once you leave, you may not return but once in you can stay as long as you want. If you want an audio guide you must buy that separately.
One of the largest art collections in the world requires a great deal of space. To see everything, you will walk around 7.5 kms. I have been a few times and still see something new each time.
Several famous masterpieces are on view and you should look out for those as you walk around. They include:
- Michelangelo’s ‘’The Last Judgement’’ depicting Jesus, the Virgin Mary and the Saints is in the Sistine Chapel.
- Raphael’s ‘’School of Athens’’ shows scholars discussing topics of the day, philosophy and science and is found in the Raphael Rooms.
- Pinturicchio’s Annunciation in the Borgia Apartments shows the Virgin Mary dressed in blue greeting an angel.
- Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of St. Jerome in the Pinacoteca is unfinished and was only identified as da Vinci’s work in the early 19th
These four are just a fraction of classic art on display. You may have realised from these brief descriptions that in fact the Vatican Museum is in fact made up of a number of museums all of which are accessible on your ticket.
- Gregorian Egyptian Museum
- Gregorian Etruscan Museum
- Pro Clementino Museum
- Chiaramonti Museum
- Lapidary Museum
- New Wing
- Gregoriano Profano Museum
- Lapidario Profano ex Lateranense
- Plus-Christian Museum
- Christian Lapidarium
- Jewish Lapidarium
- Ethnological Museum
- Carriage Pavilion
- Christian Museum
- Profane Museum
- Room of the Aldobrandini Wedding
- Chapel of St. Peter Martyr
- Collection of Contemporary Art
- Sistine Chapel
- Raphael’s Rooms
- Borgia Apartment
- Niccoline Chapel
- Chapel of Urban VIII
- Room of the Immaculate Conception
- Room of the Chiaroscuri
- Gregorian Egyptian Museum
Is the Sistine Chapel included in the Vatican Museum ticket?
You can see from the list above that the Sistine Chapel is included in your ticket. Take your time and don’t become impatient because the Chapel is the last place you will reach. You cannot buy a ticket just for the Sistine Chapel. if you just want to see the Sistine Chapel then take a shortened visit. That shortened visit to the Museum including the Sistine Chapel is likely to take you 90 minutes.
Is St. Peter’s Basilica included in the Vatican Museum ticket?
St. Peter’s Basilica is not included in your ticket. The Church is free to enter though you will have to queue to get in and pass through security. If you have already been around the Museum you will already have passed through security. You can take a passage through a door on the right from the Sistine Chapel directly to St. Peter’s. I have never been stopped when I have done this.
Are the Vatican Gardens included in the Vatican Museum ticket?
I have occasionally bought the Vatican Gardens ticket because it gives me access to the Museum. A Museum ticket does not give access to the Gardens. You will avoid queues if you buy the Gardens ticket in advance.
Vatican museum & gardens tickets
How do you book Vatican Museum tickets in advance? How do you skip the line?
It is worth remembering that an average of 30,000 people visits the Vatican Museum daily. It therefore makes sense to buy a ticket in advance to avoid queues. The official Museum website as well as a number of travel agencies sell tickets online. You should check prices because there are offers occasionally. Each website constantly updates its information.
You should bear in mind that demand in high season is very high. The number of people that can see the Museum in a single day results in a restricted number of daily tickets. I always plan to buy a couple of days in advance in high season to avoid disappointment.
You should read through the website to see if you qualify in any of the discounted categories. Audio guides can be bought in advance although you can decide on an audio guide on the day. The guides are available in 10 different languages: Italian, English, German, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Russian.
Payment is accepted in Visa or Mastercard but the process can sometimes be difficult on the Vatican Museum website because of the security in place to combat fraud. I would advise you to persevere. Once your booking is made, you will get 2 emails, one being your receipt and the other important one, the voucher for your ticket. Print your voucher out for presentation on entry. You can forget about printing the pages of terms and conditions etc., because it is the single sheet voucher that you need.
You can walk past the queues when you arrive. I try not to have a smile on my face as I walk passed the queues. Try to be 15 minutes before the entrance time you have booked and present your voucher.
After you clear security go left to the ‘’cassa’’ and change your voucher for your actual ticket. A possible short wait is of minimal inconvenience. You then head up the stairs or take the elevator, through the turnstile and up a further large escalator. You’re in.
Vatican museum tickets & tours
Cancel/modify your Vatican Museums tickets?
Once you have pre-booked your Vatican Museum ticket through its own website, you cannot get a refund for any reason. Should you book with a travel agency, and then you need to cancel, any refunds will be subject to that agency’s terms and conditions.
What you can do is change the date of your visit subject to availability but you can do that only once. There is a facility on the Museum’s website to do this, choosing modify date and time from the menu. If you have bought from an agency, you need to contact that agency for the procedure.
Is the Vatican museum ticket included in the Rome Pass?
The Rome Pass does not include the Vatican museums but both the Omnia Pass and the Rome City Pass do.
What are the Vatican museum opening hours?
Current opening days and times
Monday to Saturday
09.00 a.m. – 06.00 p.m. (entry is allowed up to 04.00 p.m.)
Every last Sunday of the month
09.00 a.m. – 02.00 p.m. (final entry 12.30 p.m.) That excludes Easter Sunday, Sts. Peter and Paul at the end of June, Christmas Day and Feast of St. Stephen on 26th December.
The Museums are closed on a number of Sundays and visitors should check the current position.
Visitors should leave the halls 30 minutes before the Museum closes.
Avoid the crowd – What is the best time to visit the Vatican museum?
Even with priority entry, the Vatican Museum is very crowded. I sometimes try to avoid the crowds by getting there early. The alternative is to go late although then time in the Museum is limited.
Early morning tours are available with a guide and you can be picked up if you wish. The times are 08.30am and 11.00am with the latter only in English.
While the Vatican Museum closes to the public at 06.00pm, you can choose from a number of night tours lasting 2 hours. You will see a number of the highlights of the Museum, notably the Sistine Chapel, and you can even have dinner in the courtyard included. Have a look and see what best suits you. I can certainly recommend the tour with dinner because you can then forget rushing elsewhere to eat.
Morning Vatican museum tickets
Are there any combos available including Vatican museum tickets and other Rome attractions?
If you want to visit the Vatican Museum, you should take a look at tours that include it along with other city highlights such as the Colosseum.
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