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What is the best day in the week to visit the Vatican?

by GracesTrips Online Now Feb 9, 2011 at 10:53 AM

I've read the VT tips and also went to the official site for the Vatican and I'm not finding much information. I'm thinking Sunday would be the best day to go because they will have a service. I don't know what time the service will take place and would also like to have the guided tour. If there is a service (besides Wednesday & Thursday) perhaps that may be better with possibly less people? Thanks, in advance, for your insight!

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: What is the best day in the week to visit the Vatican?

    by leics Online Now Feb 9, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    There are masses held several times every day in St Peter's Basilica, usually in one of the side-chapels. I have found the times for you here:

    vatican.usembassy.gov/Vatica...

    You can also find them on the official site here:

    vatican.va/various/basiliche...

    although not in English.

    From my own observations there is no specific time when it will be more or less crowded (the masses I have seen in process have not been especially crowded anyway).

    This page tells you when the Pope will officiate this year, and where:

    vatican.va/holy_father/bened...

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  • GracesTrips's Profile Photo

    Re: What is the best day in the week to visit the Vatican?

    by GracesTrips Online Now Feb 9, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    Thanks, Jane! Lots of good information!

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: What is the best day in the week to visit the Vatican?

    by leics Online Now Feb 9, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    I'm sure you will be able to find a mass time to suit you. :-)

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  • mccalpin's Profile Photo

    Re: What is the best day in the week to visit the Vatican?

    by mccalpin Online Now Feb 9, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    2 other places for research -
    vatican.va/various/prefettur...
    (this lists religious events like the Angelus and audiences)

    and
    santasusanna.org/popeVatican...
    which is the website of the American parish in Rome and often the source of good, up to date info on the Vatican. For example, leics gave you a webpage from the US Embassy (because the Vatican webpage was in Italian), but I would feel a little bit better about Santa Susanna's webpage with the same info on Masses
    santasusanna.org/popeVatican...
    because I know they update it frequently. And if they agree, so much the better! ;-)

    Oh, on the Santa Susanna Masses page, "the Altar of the Chair" I believe is the back altar (against the back wall of the basilica) under the giant stained glass window of the Holy Spirit as a dove as well as the giant bronze chair mounted on the wall that represents the Chair of St. Peter. Masses are not said from the main altar all that often - usually for special occasions...

    In any case, leics is correct that Masses in the side chapels are happening all the time. Why? Because every priest who comes to Rome wants to say Mass in St. Peter's (and, no, they don't get to use the big altar ;-) )

    leics, it's funny but that page in Italian used to be in English somewhere else, but I haven't found it yet...

    Oh, I forgot...the Vatican Museums are not open on Sunday, except for the last Sunday of the month where the entrance is free (and crowded). I've never taken a guided tour in either the basilica or the Museums, but there are guided tours available for the Museum, and guided tours are required to see the Necropolis (under the basilica) and the Gardens. Note that the Necropolis is actually the original Roman cemetery that the basilica was built on; the "Grotto" is where many Popes are buried. The Grotto is the floor immediately below the floor of the basilica and is open to the public (if you can find the stairway); the Necropolis is below that and is open only to limited guided tours.

    Bill

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Re: What is the best day in the week to visit the Vatican?

    by Beausoleil Online Now Feb 9, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_...

    http://www.vatican.va/phome_en.htm

    The second web site listed above may help you. Sunday Mass is more impressive than weekday Masses but the Museum is closed on Sunday so you can't do both that day. I'd go to the Sunday High Mass and then plan to visit the museum on a weekday. When visiting St. Peter's (free), ask one of the docents, nuns or priests wandering around if there are any special Masses coming up. We happened on a ceremony with the Pope beatifying 4 saints. It was a huge ceremony and the square was packed. If someone in St. Peter's hadn't told us, we would have missed it.

    Enjoy Rome.

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  • GracesTrips's Profile Photo

    Re: What is the best day in the week to visit the Vatican?

    by GracesTrips Online Now Feb 9, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    Thank you, Bill & Sally. The detailed information is very helpful with determining which day we may go. I may do as Sally suggested and do the museum tour on a separate day from seeing the Sunday mass. Thanks so much for your help!

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  • painterdave's Profile Photo

    Re: What is the best day in the week to visit the Vatican?

    by painterdave Online Now Feb 10, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    One thing to know. Many Italians work 6 days a week. Sundays everyone has a free day and they are out in droves.
    good luck.dave

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  • Beausoleil's Profile Photo

    Re: What is the best day in the week to visit the Vatican?

    by Beausoleil Online Now Feb 10, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    Yes, and because they are out in droves, there are some fun things to do. For instance the area between the coliseum and Pze. Venezia (via Dei Fori Imperiali) is pedestrianized on Sundays and it's like a street fair with vendors, performers and lots of pedestrians. Great fun!

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  • Re: What is the best day in the week to visit the Vatican?

    by durga_yoga Online Now Mar 10, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    If you're referring to the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel area of the Vatican then Thursdays & Fridays are the quietest days.

    There are always services going on inside St. Peter's Basilica---not necessarily in English---but still, it's rather cool to attend mass inside THE Catholic Church : )

    Here is St. Peter's Basilica Mass Schedule:

    Daily Mass Schedule: 9-10-11-12-17
    Sundays and Holiday Mass Schedule: 9-10.30-11.30-12.15-13-16-17.30

    (reference link: http://www.vatican.va/faq/index_en.htm)

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  • icunme's Profile Photo

    Re: What is the best day in the week to visit the Vatican?

    by icunme Online Now Apr 8, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    I live close to the Vatican and can tell you it depends entirely on what is happening at the time - such as the beatification ceremony taking place April 30 to May 2. Generally, it is better during the week - early mornings or late afternoon for St. Peter's. I keep up to date information on my Vatican City page with NEWS FLASHES of interest. Good information is always available on the Vatican City official pages - many missing details such as strollers for children are OK in Vatican Museum but NOT in St Peter's. ENJOY!

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