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Vatican Opening Times

The spectacular visit to the Vatican is probably one of the main reasons that bring you to the Eternal City. Take note of its opening hours to organize your visit.

Carmen Navarro

Carmen Navarro

3 min read

Vatican Opening Times

Inside the Vatican Museums | Corey Buckley

The Vatican is on the "Travel Wishlist" of many visitors to Rome and no wonder. The Sistine Chapel, the amount of art in its museums and its monumental St. Peter's Basilica are just some of the jewels that await you in the Vatican City.

The first thing to do is to buy your ticket to the Vatican in advance or book a guided tour of the Vatican with an expert guide. Second, check the opening hours to organize your visit to the religious capital of Christianity.

Vatican Museums opening hours

Map Room, Vatican Museums| ©Berto Macario
Map Room, Vatican Museums| ©Berto Macario
  • Monday to Thursday: 8:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. (last access to the Museums at 4:30 p.m.)
  • Fridays and Saturdays: 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. (last access to the Museums at 8:30 p.m.)
  • Sundays: closed

Sistine Chapel opening hours

Sistine Chapel Ceiling| ©Calvin Craig
Sistine Chapel Ceiling| ©Calvin Craig

The Sistine Chapel is located inside the Vatican Museums, so in principle it will remain open as long as the Museums are open. If you want to visit the Sistine Chapel, this is the opening hours:

  • Monday to Thursday: 8:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. (last access to the Museums at 4:30 p.m.).
  • Fridays and Saturdays: 8:30 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. (last access to the Museums at 8:30 p.m.)
  • Sundays: closed

Hours of St. Peter's Basilica

Inside St. Peter's Basilica| ©iam_os
Inside St. Peter's Basilica| ©iam_os

To visit St. Peter's Basilica, take note of its opening hours:

  • Summer hours, from April to September: open every day from Monday to Friday, between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm.
  • Winter opening hours, from October to March: open every day from Monday to Friday between 7:00 am and 6:00 pm.

Timetables for the ascent to the Dome of St. Peter's Basilica

Climb the dome| ©Clay Banks
Climb the dome| ©Clay Banks

St. Peter's Dome is inside St. Peter's Basilica and is normally accessible as long as the Basilica is open. These are the schedules for ascents:

  • Winter hours (from October to March): every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
  • Summer hours (from April to September): from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Schedule of the Papal Audience on Wednesdays and the Angelus on Sundays

Pope Francis during the Angelus| ©raffaele sergi
Pope Francis during the Angelus| ©raffaele sergi
  • Wednesday: 10:30 am. Access opens at 8 a.m. It is recommended to go early in order to reserve a seat.
  • Sundays: 12 noon (provided the Pope is in Rome that week). It is also recommended to arrive early to guarantee access to St. Peter's Square.

Here is a link to this article in case you would like more details on how to attend the Papal Audience to see the Pope at the Vatican.

Schedules of the Vatican Masses

Eucharist at St. Peter's Basilica| ©Josh Cherian
Eucharist at St. Peter's Basilica| ©Josh Cherian
  • During the week: 9:00 / 10:00 / 11:00 / 12:00 / 17:00
  • On feast days: 9:00 / 10:30 / 11:30 / 11:30 / 12:15 / 13:00 / 16:00 / 17:30

When the Vatican closes

St. Peter's Square and Basilica| ©Gabriella Clare Marino
St. Peter's Square and Basilica| ©Gabriella Clare Marino

Please note that both the Basilica and the Sistine Chapel are still places of worship in use, so they may be closed if during a religious holiday, special dates such as Christmas or if a specific event happens and a mass is to be celebrated inside.

In such cases, access to St. Peter's Square may also be restricted for security reasons. Normally, these are the dates when the Vatican is closed:

  • January 1
  • January 6th
  • June 29th
  • August 15 or 16 (depending on the calendar)
  • December 25th and 26th
  • Also consult the annual calendar for the dates of Holy Week (especially Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday).