Vatican Museum

Vatican City Travel Blog

 › entry 24 of 26 › view all entries
Our museum tickets were booked for 10 a.m. so we were out of the hotel by 9 and made our way to Termini Station.   We stopped at the McDonalds for some coffee, the boys had muffins but they were out of the croissants.   Fortunately across from McDonalds was an Asian fast food place that did a lively business in the morning selling commuters croissants and espresso.  We came back here the next day for a quick breakfast before making the long march under the station to the A Line tracks.

We got off at Cipro station and when we finally came to the museum entrance were dismayed to see a long line.  I was hoping that this wasn't the line for reserved ticket holders.  Fortunately the line was for those queuing to buy tickets and we were able to go in directly and pick up our tickets.

The Vatican Museum was amazing but the crowds and tour groups were relentless.   The museum must have more or the same amount of visitors as the Louvre but there are many bottle necks between rooms and it is invariably in these bottle necks that a tour guide will choose to give a speech while his group blocks the way.    It was kind of like traveling down a freeway where all the cars travel in groups and a driver may try and position himself in the relatively clear space between two groups of cars and trucks, all trying to overtake and pass each other, hurdling down the freeway in the same direction.   The museum was well worth it and I'm glad we went but would like to return in the future maybe in the winter time when it is just crowded and not a zoo.   

We eventually arrived at the Sistine Chapel but unfortunately the atmosphere wasn't pleasant and it was hard to concentrate on Michaelangelo's masterpieces.
Spanish Stairs
  Again, I'm glad we saw the Chapel but there was just too many people in there to be comfortable.    Our introduction to the chapel was two guards telling a tourist not to take pictures and the tourist arguing about the prohibition.  The guards started raising their voices and shouting and eventually the tourist backed down.   The level of conversation in the chapel would build and the guards would start with the "sssssshhhh" one hears all over the popular cathedrals in Italy.  The "sssssssshhh" wouldn't work so a loud recording was played in multiple languages asking folks to respect the religious chapel.   The recording would work for about 2 to 3 minutes and then the level of conversation would grow louder and louder and the cycle would repeat itself.
Trevi Fountain
  I think we stayed for 4 or 5 noise/ssshh/recording cycles before we stopped trying to convince ourselves that we should be enjoying the art no matter how irritating the atmosphere.  The Vatican is so popular that I don't see how this can be helped unless they started to charge exorbitant fees to visit the chapel.  

After the Vatican we found a restaurant nearby and enjoyed a good lunch.  By this time I had stopped taking notes in my book and forgot the restaurant's name and information.  In fact I noticed that the tenor of my last two to three posts have been more irritable when I wrote about our hotel in Florence or my little rant about American tipping practices.
   I'll leave all this in the blog because I think this fits our attitude around this time of the trip.   We were still enjoying the vacation but I think we were getting tired and as June was ending the increasing crowds and heat were starting to take a toll.    The nearest we came to "rest days" were during our time in Umbria and we still spent all day exploring.  If we had a little more time and a lot more money I think the best thing before visiting Florence and Rome would have been 2 - 3 days of doing nothing.

After lunch we walked to St. Peter's Square but on the way we saw the line of folks waiting in the ticket line for the museum.  No exaggeration it was at least a half a kilometer long and it was very hot.  The line extended from the entrance along the wall until it followed Via Barletta to the south for a little.  When we saw the line for the security checkpoint for St. Peter's extending all the way around to the far side of the forum we quickly decided we would wake up early the next morning instead of waiting in that line in the heat.

From here we went to see the Spanish Stairs, had a drink nearby then made our way to the Trevi Fountain.  

More later as I dig through the receipts so I can post about our dinner and the other places we saw that day.

coles says:
We are all glad we saw it but hopefully a little less insane in the winter. I guess there is never an off season for the Vatican (Christmas, Easter, summer, etc, etc)
Posted on: Aug 03, 2010
ladyluck13and7 says:
My dad when he came back from working overseas, told me the Vatican Museum is always insane lol in regards to the volume of people there
Posted on: Aug 03, 2010
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Spanish Stairs
Spanish Stairs
Trevi Fountain
Trevi Fountain
Vatican City
photo by: maryanntravel