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Vatican City Itinerary Exclusive: A Complete Vatican Travel Guide

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Vatican City Itinerary – A Complete Vatican Travel Guide.

Embark on a captivating journey through the spiritual and creative wonders of Vatican City with our carefully crafted Vatican Travel Guide! Nestled within the heart of Rome, Italy this independent city-state allows travelers to explore its sacred sites. Together we will explore Vatican Cities most iconic attractions, including St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Gardens, and more! Join us as we unravel the perfect curated guide, a complete Vatican City Itinerary exclusive; ensuring an enriching experience and covering all the major attractions of the Vatican in just one day!

Book Tickets Ahead of Time

First, be sure to book tickets to the Vatican City ahead of time! There are a multitude of ways to do this. You can either explore the major Vatican City Attractions with a Guided Walking Tour, or purchase individual tickets and explore on your own. Be aware that the Vatican Museum requires a purchased ticket, but to tour the Vatican Gardens a Guided Tour is required. While access to Saint Peters is free, access is not guaranteed due to crowd limitations.

There are 3 major attractions within Vatican City:

Book an independent ticket to the Vatican City Museums through the link above for a GREAT rate!

I personally preferred to book independently so I could explore the various Vatican City attractions at my own pace, as well as take breaks as needed. All plaques explaining the different creative pieces are translated in English, so no translation was required. However, we missed out on the Vatican Gardens because of this.

If you prefer a Guided Tour of the Vatican City Attractions:

9:00AM Vatican City Itinerary – Arrival Time at Vatican Museums

The Vatican museums will be the longest stop (and the most captivating) on our Vatican Travel Guide – so hit the museums first. Be prepared for a long wait at the gates of the museum. But to avoid the longest entry times get there right when they open. Typically this is 9:00 AM most days but be sure to check their website. 

Duration Time: 3-4 Hours

vatican museum in vatican city

Key Attractions to See Within the Museums Vatican City Itinerary:

Spiral Staircase

First, the spiral staircase in the Vatican Museums is one of the top attractions you’ll encounter in our Vatican City Itinerary. Designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932, this double helix staircase, known as the Bramante Staircase, is an elegant spiral of smooth, white stone that gracefully ascends in a helical pattern.

Tapestries Hall

While exploring for our Vatican Travel guide, we were in awe by the Tapestries Hall in the Vatican Museums. Housing the renowned Raphael Cartoons, these meticulously woven pieces showcase the artistry of renowned artists such as Raphael. The hall serves as a gallery of intricate textile art, with each tapestry telling a unique story.

vatican travel guide covers the tapestry hall

The Map Gallery

This captivating hall on our Vatican City Itinerary features a rich collection of ancient maps, atlases, and topographical pieces that span over centuries. Be transported through time as you explore the early map designs.

The Paintings Gallery

This ones for you, art enthusiasts! Explore iconic works of renowned artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Caravaggio, and Michelangelo. The gallery offers a chronological journey through art history, with each painting telling a unique story of creativity, skill, and cultural influence. 

Nero’s Bathtub

The bathtub was a part of Nero’s extravagant palace complex, known for its lavish decorations and innovative design, now housed in the Vatican Museums. The structure features a large, sunken bathtub adorned with intricate mosaics, reflecting the luxury and grandeur associated with Nero’s reign.

nero's bathtub in our vatican city itinerary
“Emperor Nero’s bathtub, in the Vatican Museums” by Robert Nyman is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Egyptian Collection

The Egyptian Collection houses a variety of art and artifacts from various cultures and historical Egyptian periods. Everything from mummies, artifacts, and statues reside within this extravagant collection.

Egyptian collection vatican city museums
Egyptian collection vatican city itinerary museums
Egyptian collection vatican city museums

The Last Judgement

The Last Judgment is a monumental fresco painted by Michelangelo on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. Created between 1536 and 1541, Michelangelo’s masterpiece portrays Christ, surrounded by angels, saints, and the souls of the departed.

*Photo’s Are Prohibited Within the Sistine Chapel*

statues in vatican museum
No Photography of the Last Judgement as it’s prohibited – but there is so much to see in Vatican Museums!

Sistine Chapel

An essential part of our Vatican travel guide, the Sistine Chapel is most famous for its ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. The ceiling paintings depict scenes from the Book of Genesis, including the iconic “Creation of Adam.” The chapel also features Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment” on its altar wall.

*Photo’s Are Prohibited Within the Sistine Chapel*

Entry to Sistine Chapel ahead

1:00 PM Vatican City Itinerary – Saint Peters Basilica

Next, as your tour ends you’ll be right outside Saint Peters Basilica. Take some time to eat a snack, because as you enter the Basilica, you’ll have another approx. 1.5 hours until you come out on the other side to visit the gardens.

The basilica is known for its grandeur and architectural excellence, featuring a massive dome designed by Michelangelo, intricate mosaics, and numerous sculptures. Inside you’ll see significant works of art, including Michelangelo’s “Pieta” and Bernini’s bronze canopy over the high altar.

Be sure to climb the Dome and take in the amazing views of Vatican City! However, be aware it’s approximately 500 steps to get to the top!

Duration: 1.5 Hours

dome saint peters in vatican city
The dome in Saint Peters Basilica!
wedding in front of saint peters basilica
We were lucky enough to get some wedding photos in front of Saint Peters Basilica

2:30PM – Rest, Eat, & Tour Vatican Gardens

Take a moment to rest after the miles of walking you just did on a bench in the gardens and bask in the extravagance of the gardens! The gardens are a serene escape from the outside city life of Rome.

vatican gardens - vatican travel guide

3:00PM Vatican City Itinerary – Tour Vatican Gardens

The Vatican Gardens is a carefully landscaped garden covering approximately 57 acres! Throughout your tour you’ll see a combination of lush greenery, vibrant flowers, and various artistic features. You’ll see a variation of English, French, and Italian influences throughout the gardens.

Duration: 2 Hours

vatican travel guide - vatican gardens

5:00PM – Book Transportation to Exit

Rome is an incredibly large city, so depending on the “Best Area of Rome” you have chosen to stay in during your visit, transportation will be required to get back! Be sure that you have arranged transportation out of Vatican City ahead of time to avoid being stuck as the gates close behind you. Book here through Viator to ensure you’re booking through a reputable source!

Bonus Stop: Attend a Papal Audience

If you happen to be near Vatican City on a Wednesday, don’t miss the opportunity to attend a Papal Audience. During the audience, the Pope may offer blessings, deliver a brief message, and interact with the crowd. Many people often come seeking spiritual guidance and the opportunity to receive the Pope’s blessing. 

Be sure to arrive at least 2 hours early to get a good seat! Starts at 9:00AM

Duration: 2 Hours

Papal Audience in Vatican City Itinerary

More FAQS and Tips for Your Vatican City Itinerary – Vatican Travel Guide:

  • Tuesdays & Thursdays are typically slower with less crowds
  • Museums are closed on major holidays
  • Be aware of the dress code for entry: Cover knees and shoulders, no low-cut dresses or short skirts
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Prepare transportation ahead of time
  • Book a Guided Tour if you want to tour the Vatican Gardens

In conclusion, with our Vatican City itinerary, journey through the heart of cultural, religious, and artistic treasures. From St. Peter’s Basilica to the masterpieces within the Vatican Museums, each step unveils a rich history of spirituality. The Sistine Chapel, the historical artifacts, and the beautifully landscaped Vatican Gardens all contribute to an immersive experience.

Don’t miss out on any of it with our complete Vatican City Itinerary – A Vatican Travel Guide.

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(10) Comments

  1. Your visit to the Vatican City looks inspiring. The architecture and the artwork alone are stunning. If we get the chance to go I would definitely want to see the gardens. Good tips!

  2. This brings back great memories of our visit to Vatican City. Wonderful photos!

  3. Joy says:

    Omg! I remember visiting Vatican City. I feel like our trip was too short to see it all. Your post makes me want to go back to revisit soon!

  4. Jennifer says:

    Great advice.. I always like to go to the busiest thing thing in the day and get there early! And booking tickets ahead of time helps to ward off disappointment if things sell out… would love to visit the Vatican someday.

  5. I accidentally went on a Wednesday and got caught in the Pope-watching crowds! 😂 We all just stood in the square and listened to him speak from the window though… you mentioned getting a good seat and now I’m wondering if I missed the chance to sit down with him?

    1. He usually just walks by and you have a quick second to ask for a blessing! But a really cool experience if you haven’t been!

  6. We visited the Vatican City so long ago we have nothing but a few memories. Your blog was a great reminder of why we need to plan to visit and see much more. Good tip about getting tickets in advance.

  7. You have some wonderful photos! There is so much to see there, I need to revisit soon.

  8. Woooah I have been to the Vatican before, but I honestly did not see and do everything you mentioned here – oops! I guess that means we need to go back. 😉 I had no idea there was even an Egyptian collection there!

    p.s. So nice that you saw a wedding there too!

  9. Don’t ever stop moving. Onward!

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