The FAQ most often asked by tourists about to visit the Vatican City in Rome are the following. Is there a dress code for the church and/or the museums? If so, what is it? Do we need to take our passport to the Vatican City? Is it possible to avoid the queue at the Vatican Museums? If I don’t want to pay extra for a reservation, when is the best time to go (avoiding the queues). How can I get an audience with the Pope?
FAQ Vatican City
1. Is there a dress code for the Vatican City? If so, what is it?
Yes, there is a dress code for Saint Peter’s Basilica (and for all other churches and basilicas in Rome). Both men and women have to have their shoulders and knees covered. Sandals are allowed. Since Franciscus is Pope they have become a lot more lenient, however.
2. Do we need to take our passport to the Vatican City?
You do not need to show your passport at the Vatican City, though theoretically you are entering a different country. However, in Italy the law obliges you to always have a valid ID with you, so you will have to bring a passport or (for European citizens only) driving licence or ID card with you. Additionally, if you book the Vatican Museums in advance, you will need a valid ID to show with your voucher.
3. How can I avoid the queue at the Vatican Museums?
For an extra fee of 4 Euros per person on top of the 17 Euros entrance fee, you can make a reservation. You can do this through the official website of the Holy See. There are countless other sites offering reservations, but these are all a lot more expensive.
4. If I don’t want to pay extra for a reservation, when is the best time to go?
(The following does not apply during the Covid-crisis. Reservations are mandatory now and you can only enter at the specific time indicated on your voucher!)
Most guide books recommend that you visit the Vatican Museums early, in order to avoid the queues. As a result, the lines are longest in the mornings. Generally speaking, there tend to be fewer people around lunchtime (though this is not always the case). Keep in mind that new visitors are let in in groups at the time, so even when the queue is very long, once it is moving you might get in a lot quicker than you expect. (Note that the touts trying to sell you tours of the Vatican Museums, telling you that you will get in quicker and what not, work on commission and are willing to stretch the truth to breaking point to get that commission.)
5. How can I get an audience with the Pope?
To get an audience with the Pope you can either write to the Vatican City or to the Church of Santa Susanna in Rome. Detailed information can be found elsewhere on this site.