Visiting the Vatican Museum (Without buying tickets online)

OK, OK, you have heard me tell you this before. We are cheap thrifty. We are here in Europe for three and a half months and we need to be careful with our Euros! That is why, against all online advice, we decided to not pre-purchase our tickets for the Vatican Museum in Rome. In what seems to me to be a ridiculous money grab, if you purchase your tickets in advance to avoid the huge lines you have to pay an extra 4€ per ticket for an online ticketing fee. That is 16€ for our family of four so we decided to take our chances and wait in line onsite for our tickets.


Yes, there were long lines as you can see above but it wasn’t too big a deal for us. We decided to go after lunch so that our bellies would be full and there would be less of a rush to finish (visiting anywhere on an empty stomach is a recipe for disaster). We waited in line for almost exactly one hour. Or you could say we paid ourselves 16€ to stand around for an hour. Well worth our time in my books.

When standing in line for the Vatican Museum be aware that you will be accosted by touts as you enter the line. They want you to buy their tickets at a highly inflated price. You could do this if money is not an issue, but then you probably would have already bought your tickets online!


Was the Vatican Museum worth it? It was an AMAZING display of art. I read that if you line up all the art in the museum end-to-end you would have nine miles worth! It is a huge, huge, museum with statues, tapestries, paintings, and even some mummies from Egypt! The cost for our family of four was $75 CAD (about $50 USD). We did enjoy ourselves and are happy that we went.

One of the things I struggled with (and I hesitate to write about) was the sheer opulence of both the museum and the Basilica. Where did this art come from? How did the Catholic church amass all of this art? This especially hit home when we were in the Raphael rooms. The Raphael rooms are four rooms painted in beautiful frescos by the famous painter Raphael. The paintings were commissioned by the Pope at the time for his private residences. Pretty fancy paint job for a personal apartment.

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  • If you want to save time, buy tickets online. If you have more time than money (Hello!) wait in line.
  • Don’t fall for the touts who try to steer you clear of the ticket line.
  • If there is one tip I can give you it is this:
    • Once you get to the Sistine Chappel don’t take the marked exit on the left. Take the exit on the right that is marked for tour groups. This way takes you directly to St. Peter’s Basilica.  If you take the left exit you have to go the entire way around the Vatican, wait in a LONG line, and go through security again. No one checks you if you go through the exit on the right and it will save you at least an hour. Feel free to thank me later. 🙂



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