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Visiting the Vatican: Tips on How to Get Around

St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City

One of the biggest things that draw people into Rome is the presence of the Vatican City. It is, of course, technically not part of Italy because it is the world’s smallest sovereign state, but historically, this seat of the Roman Catholic Church is part and parcel of the Eternal City.

A lot of our customers at Tour Italy ask us for tips on how to go to and around the Vatican, so we really hope this article does not disappoint.

Getting there

By metro – One of the easiest ways to get to the Vatican City is by taking the Metropolitana or the Rome metro. The two nearest stations to it are the Ottaviano Station along Via Ottaviano and the Cipro Station along the Valle Aurelia. The former is nearer Basilica di San Pietro (St. Peter’s Basilica), and the latter is also a good option to alight from if you are visiting the Musei Vaticani (Vatican Museums).

The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican CityBy bus – It’s a good idea to get yourself a bus route map so you can explore all the different bus lines that traverse Rome. For the Vatican City, the most popular bus routes include the lines 40, 64, 62, and 81. Confirm if you are on the right stop by asking the bus driver or one of the locals inside the bus. A simple “Vaticano?” would usually suffice. You can also get one of those offline GPS map apps to monitor your location as you move around the bus. Alight if you see from the map that the stop is already near the Vatican City.

By tram – Rome’s tram system is an alternative transportation you can take to go to the Vatican City. Tram number 19 stops at Piazza Risorgimento, which is very near the Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter’s Square) and the Basilica di San Pietro

Going around the city

Walking – Because the entire country is less than a mile long and wide, it is very easy to go around on foot within the Vatican City. Walking is also a great way for you to explore every nook and cranny of the city where visitors are allowed to go in.

Museum and church visits – Always assume that there will be long queues going into Vatican City’s tourist destinations. Make sure to research the latest ticket prices and book in advance if you’re going on a peak season, like during the summer holidays or when it’s the Christmas season.

Get licensed guides – If you are planning on getting a guide to tour you around the Vatican City, make sure that the guide you are getting is licensed. It is required by law.

Follow the dress codes – There are many places within the Vatican City (and Italy for that matter) where you can get turned away if you are not dressed properly. By “properly,” it usually means you have to have your shoulders and knees covered, whether you are male of female.

Watch out for thieves – Pickpockets are still a major problem in Italian tourist areas, so be extra careful when it comes to looking out for your valuables. Carry a small sling bag or satchel where you can put your wallet, credit cards, and mobile phone in. Never place your wallet in your pants’ back pockets, and avoid wearing unnecessary jewelry.

Bring water – It’s easy for visitors to get dehydrated in the Vatican City, what with the long lines and the few places where one can get water. Consider bringing your own bottles of water before getting in.

Saint Peter's Square

Check out our guide to the Vatican City to learn more about this fabled destination. You may also get in touch with our travel experts by calling 800.955.4418 or 203.803.42777.

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By Priscila Siano (265 Posts)

Priscila Siano is the Marketing Director of Tour Italy Now, an online tour operator specializing in Italy travel. She's a respected expert on making dream Italy vacations a reality for clients.

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