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
- Monday to Thursday: 8:30 am - 6:30 pm. (last access to the Museums at 16:30 h.)
- Fridays and Saturdays: 8:30 - 22:30 h. (the last access to the Museums is at 20:30 h.)
- Sundays: closed
Sistine Chapel Timetables
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 am - 6:30 pm. (last access to the Museums at 4:30 p.m.).
- Fridays and Saturdays: 8:30 am - 10:30 pm. (the last access to the Museums is at 20:30 h.)
- Sundays: closed
Schedules of St. Peter's Basilica
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 19:00.
- 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
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 of 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
- Wednesday: 10:30 am. Admission opens at 8:00 a.m. It is recommended to go early 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.
Vatican Mass Schedule
- During the week: 9:00 / 10:00 / 11:00 / 12:00 / 17:00
- On holidays: 9:00 / 10:30 / 11:30 / 11:30 / 12:15 / 13:00 / 16:00 / 17:30
When the Vatican closes
Keep in mind 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).