Vatican Museums

Are you looking for the best way to get your Vatican museum tickets? Find out everything you need to know, how much the tickets cost, how to skip the line, how to get discounts, unique combos including other attractions and more!

How much do Vatican museum tickets cost?

The cost of the basic ticket is 17 €.

You can purchase an audio-guide for an additional 7 €. Total price: 24 €.

The price for children aged between 6 and 18 is 8 €. Kids below 6 years old enter for free and do not need ticket reservations.

The cost of the online reservation (which would have been € 4) is canceled for the entire period following the reopening after the closure for the Coronavirus pandemic.

Can you buy Vatican tickets at the door?

Usually, yes, you can buy Vatican Museum tickets at the entrance. The price for the standard ticket is 17 €.

Currently, as a result of the provisions against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is only possible to book tickets online. There is no sale at the entrance booth.

On a normal day before the COVID, there were about 30,000 people visiting the Vatican Museum daily. Therefore, the queue to buy tickets at the door was definitely long and it was worth buying a ticket in advance to avoid spending hours in line.

Typical line at the entrance of the Vatican Museums during a peak day in 2019

Today, the capacity of the Vatican Museum is about 10% of the previous one. Therefore, you’ll get the chance to see all the masterpieces without crowds. It’s probably the best time in history to visit the museums!

Where to buy Vatican Museum tickets in advance? 

You can buy tickets in advance online. The main reason to buy the tickets online is that you will be able to skip the line of the ticket office. There is still a line for security check, but it can’t be avoided and it is much faster.

Buying the ticket online, you will select a time slot and you will just need to show up at the correct time at the entrance of the Vatican Museums.

You can book the tickets online on the official website. During the peak seasons or in specific time slots, the tickets can be sold out. Therefore, there are two options to visit the Vatican Museums:

  1. Book your ticket through an online travel agency. There are several of them that sell the tickets for different prices. You can easily compare all of them through TourScanner.
  2. Book a tour. The price of the tours varies depending on the inclusions. You can read below about the main special accesses available (only with a tour) our read our specific guide about Vatican museum tours. To compare many websites selling guided tours, you can quickly check TourScanner.

Is the Sistine Chapel included in the Vatican Museum ticket?

Sistine chapel - Vatican museum tickets
Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement

The Sistine Chapel is always included in your ticket.

There is exclusive access available for the Sistine Chapel if you want to visit it when it is almost empty. In fact, you can book tickets for the first time slot of the regular opening hours or you can reserve an Early Access tour. Early access tours have the feature to give you access to the Sistine Chapel before the opening hours. Therefore, you will see if when it is empty. Moreover, with a regular visit (both ticket and tours) you will arrive in the Sistine Chapel after visiting all the museums, while with the Early Access tours, you will be led directly to the Sistine Chapel at the beginning of the guided visit.

Early Access tours start from 45€, with the guided visit included.

Is St. Peter’s Basilica included in the Vatican Museum ticket?

St. Peter's Basilica - Vatican tickets
St. Peter’s Basilica

No, St. Peter’s Basilica is not included in the Vatican Museum ticket.

The Basilica is free to enter. However, you will have to queue to get in and pass through the security check. Even if you have visited the Vatican Museum before, you will need to exit the complex, go to the main entrance of St. Peter and queue for the security check.

There are tours which include the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. Guided tours are the only way to avoid queuing again. The guide will lead you through a door connecting the Sistine Chapel directly to St. Peter’s Basilica after the visit to the museums.

Are the Vatican Gardens included in the Vatican Museum ticket?

The basic ticket does not give access to the gardens. However, there are special tickets that include the ticket to the Vatican Gardens as well. The price for the combined ticket starts from 38 €.

Avoid the crowd – What is the best time to visit the Vatican museum?

The Vatican Museums are one of Rome’s busiest attractions. If you wish to enjoy your visit without huge crowds of tourists around you, you can opt to visit the Vatican Museums either in the early morning or in the evening. There are tickets and guided tours designed for those specific time slots, some including breakfast or dinner in option.

  • Early Morning options

The Vatican tours with Early Access (our guide about Early Access Vatican Tours) are the best choice to avoid the crowds: you will be the first to see the Sistine Chapel!

You will be allowed to between 15 and 90 minutes before the regular opening hours. The guide will conduct you directly to the Sistine Chapel: you will see Michelangelo’s masterpiece Last Judgment being almost alone in the room. With all the other tours, the Sistine Chapel is visited at the end of the tours, after the other sections of the museums.

Early morning tours start very early; usually between 7.15 am and 8.45 am. Depending on the availability, you will be able to choose a single ticket or a tour (either a group tour, a semi-private or private ones).

  • Night options

Every Friday, the Vatican Museums remain open during the evening as well and it is possible to visit them with a night tour. The museums cannot be visited at night without a tour.

Night tours allow you to experience the stunning masterpieces in the museums after regular closing time. The evening tour is also the right choice if you are short in time to spend in Rome and you do not have much time during the day.

The price for the ticket plus the guided visit start from 36 €.

Is the Vatican Museums ticket included in any attractions city passes?

The Vatican Museums ticket is included in the Omnia Card.

Are there any combos available including the Vatican and other Rome attractions?

Yes, in particular Vatican Museums + Colosseum. This option is specially useful if you want to visit both attractions in one day.

Can the tickets be canceled / modified?

The tickets booked through the official website cannot be refunded for any reason. Instead, the date and time can be modified depending on the availability.

The tickets booked through the online travel agencies have different cancellation policies: some of them offer 100% refund if canceled up to 24 hours before the visit while others do not allow cancellations. Check in detail the conditions written in the description of the product before booking.

What are the Vatican museum opening hours?

Current opening days and times

Monday to Saturday: 09.00 a.m. – 06.00 p.m. (entry is allowed up to 04.00 p.m.)

Every last Sunday of the month: 09.00 a.m. – 02.00 p.m. (final entry 12.30 p.m.)
That excludes Easter Sunday, Sts. Peter and Paul at the end of June, Christmas Day and Feast of St. Stephen on 26th December.

The Museums are closed on a certain number of days per year. In 2019, they are closed on: 1st January, 11th February, 19th March, 22nd April, 1st May, 29th June, 14th and 15th August, 1st November, 25th and 26th December

What is included in the Vatican museum ticket? What will you see?

Raphael's School of Athens - Vatican museum
Raphael’s School of Athens – Credits: Wikipedia Commons

Your Vatican Museum ticket allows a single entry for the appropriate day. Once you leave, you may not return but once in you can stay as long as you want.

The Vatican Museums is one of the largest art collections in the world: to see everything, you will walk around 7.5 km!

Several famous masterpieces are on view and you should look out for those as you walk around. They include:

  • Michelangelo’s The Last Judgement depicting Jesus, the Virgin Mary and the Saints is in the Sistine Chapel.
  • Raphael’s School of Athens shows scholars discussing topics of the day, philosophy and science and is found in the Raphael’s Rooms.
  • Caravaggio’s The Entombment of Christ in the Pinacoteca Vaticana
  • Leonardo da Vinci’s St. Jerome in the Wilderness is located in the Pinacoteca Vaticana and it is unfinished. It was identified as a Da Vinci’s work only in the early 19th century.

These four artworks are just a fraction of the collections. The Vatican Museum is in fact made up of a number of museums (this is the reason why sometimes it is named in plural). All of these museums are accessible with your ticket:

  • Sistine Chapel
  • Raphael’s Rooms
  • Pinacoteca Vaticana
  • Gregorian Egyptian Museum
  • Gregorian Etruscan Museum
  • Pio-Clementino Museum
  • Chiaramonti Museum
  • Lapidary Gallery
  • New Wing
  • Gregoriano Profano Museum
  • Lapidario Profano ex Lateranense
  • Pio Cristiano Museum
  • Christian Lapidarium
  • Jewish Lapidarium
  • Ethnological Museum
  • Carriage Pavilion
  • Christian Museum
  • Profane Museum
  • Room of the Aldobrandini Wedding
  • Chapel of St. Peter Martyr
  • Collection of Contemporary Art
  • Borgia Apartment
  • Niccoline Chapel
  • Chapel of Urban VIII
  • Room of the Immaculate Conception
  • Room of the Chiaroscuri

There are also some special sections that are opened only for group tours, such as:

  • The Villa Barberini and its garden
  • The Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo
  • The Hidden Pontifical Villas
  • The Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis
  • The Carriage Pavilion

Who is eligible for discounts?

There are discounts available from the standard Vatican Museum Ticket price of 17 €. Children between 6 and 18 are eligible for entry at 8 € with an additional 4 € for online purchase. Priests and men and women in religious orders and positions who can present valid documents as proof get similar discount. One companion can also enjoy the discount.

Groups on a pilgrimage with an appropriate letter officially stamped can request discount which will also be granted to an accompanying priest. If a booking is being made online, you should give precise details of the whole party.  You should make the booking 60 days before the intended day of the visit. Although late changes to the booking are possible, there are no refunds on booking fees.

The fee for the guided tour must be paid in advance but the actual entry price can be paid on the day of the visit.

No discounts are available without the presentation of the necessary documents entitling them to discount.

University students up to the age of 25 and in a group can get a similar discount as long as they can present official stamped documents to prove their eligibility. Every student group of 10 or more will mean a teacher can get the same discount. Other visitors within a group will need to pay full price. The booking must be made 60 days in advance with appropriate fees due. Any guide fee is due immediately although entry tickets themselves can be bought on the day.

Individual students under 25 can get discount with proof of status.  For priority entry, there is an additional 4 € to pay.

Is it possible to visit the Vatican museum for free?

Some people can get free entry to the Vatican Museum. Perhaps you are in one of the categories that can get in for nothing?

  • Entry is free on the last Sunday of the month (please refer to the Calendar of museum openings/closures).
  • World Tourism Day on the 27th September this year.
  • All children under 6 years old.
  • Subject to proof of status, directors of museums, managing boards and similar bodies involved in the protection of archaeological, historic and artistic heritage.
  • Disabled visitors with appropriate proof of invalidity over 74%. Where the visitor involved requires help, the companion involved will be allowed in free as well. Tickets cannot be bought online in advance but only on arrival at the “Special Permits” and/or “Reception” Desks within the entrance hall of the Vatican Museums. The appropriate paperwork must be presented. Once tickets are bought, priority entry is included.
  • Journalists who are approved by the Directorate of the Museums and have registration with the Holy See Press Office, the Foreign Press Association in Italy and the National Order of Journalists (Italy).
  • Those who hold cards from the following institutions: Icom (International Council of Museums); Icomos (International Council on Monuments and Sites).
  • Those who are donators of works, financial supporters and members of the association Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums.
  • University tutors in the following subjects: Archaeology, Art History, Architecture and Ethnology. In addition, tutors from Rome-based academies. The purpose of the visit should be to hold occasional specialist lessons in the museum relating to their areas of expertise. Permission will be granted by writing to the Directorate of the Museums. If permission is given, it will be strictly for the site of the lesson and not to any other display area.

How is the booking process? What happens after the booking? 

The booking process can be slightly different depending on which website you are booking from.

The official website accepts Visa and Mastercard, while travel agencies accept a wider range of cards.

After the booking you will receive one email to confirm your email address and, after confirmation, you will receive a second email which includes the voucher. The voucher is what you will need to show at the entrance to skip the line and get it. You can print the voucher or show it on a smartphone or tablet. The bar code on the voucher must be readable.

On the day of the visit, go directly to the main entrance “fila prenotati and present your voucher to the security personnel. After the security control, which is mandatory, go straight to the counter “Cassa Online e Gruppi” where you will show your voucher, get your paper ticket and enter. You are in. 🙂

If the Vatican Museums are not enough for you, read our complete list of the 76 best things to do in Rome! You’ll find a lot of hidden gems!

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