As you plan your trip to Rome, a visit to the Vatican is likely high on your list – but are there rules for visiting the Vatican?
The short answer, like with most major attractions, is yes.
Let’s break down the Vatican visiting rules so you don’t get in trouble!
Vatican Visiting Rules
To make your visit to the Vatican as smooth and enjoyable as possible, here are 10 rules to keep in mind when visiting the Vatican:
- Dress appropriately: The Vatican is a religious site, and appropriate attire is required. When considering what to wear at the Vatican, Both men and women should ensure their shoulders and knees are covered. Avoid wearing shorts, skirts or dresses above the knee, sleeveless tops, and hats inside the Vatican.
- Follow security regulations: The Vatican has strict security measures in place. Be prepared to go through metal detectors and have your bags and belongings screened. Avoid bringing prohibited items such as weapons, large backpacks, or liquids exceeding the allowed limit.
- Respect religious practices: The Vatican is a sacred place for Catholics. Be mindful of those who are praying or attending religious ceremonies. Refrain from talking loudly, using flash photography, or touching artwork or sculptures.
- Stay in designated areas: The best things to see at the Vatican are spread over a massive complex with specific areas open to the public. Follow signs and instructions, and avoid venturing into restricted areas or climbing on statues or monuments.
- Keep a respectful attitude: Show respect to Vatican staff, security personnel, and fellow visitors. Refrain from engaging in disruptive behaviour, littering, or smoking within the Vatican premises.
- Be aware of photography restrictions: While photography is allowed in most areas of the Vatican, there are some restrictions. Flash photography is not allowed, and some areas (like the Sistine Chapel) may be off-limits for photography altogether. Always check for signage or ask staff for guidance.
- Plan for crowds: The Vatican can be crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. Be prepared for long lines and wait times, and make sure you buy skip-the-line Vatican tickets or book a Vatican guided tour to avoid queues and make the most of your visit.
- Be mindful of time: The Vatican is vast, and there is a lot to see. Plan your visit carefully, and allocate enough time to explore the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. Note that some areas may close earlier or have limited access hours.
- Stay hydrated and wear sunscreen: The Vatican can get hot during the summer months, and there are limited shaded areas. Stay hydrated by carrying a water bottle and wearing sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.
- Book the best time to visit: Due to massive crowds, knowing the best day to visit the Vatican is paramount. In general, you’ll want to avoid weekends if possible, and booking in the early morning or later in the evening is preferred.
Finally, I want to again stress the golden rule for visiting the Vatican: buy your tickets in advance.
Especially in summer and on weekends, you won’t want to be lining up for an hour just to visit.
In booking online with official vendor Tiqets you’ll skip the lines with instant smart phone tickets:
Guided tours can be booked the same way:
And one other thing! Make sure to stop and smell the flowers, that is – don’t get too caught up in taking pictures or chit chatting with your fellow visitors.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is look up and let the art and history envelop you.
Any More Rules For Visiting the Vatican?
Visiting the Vatican is an awe-inspiring experience, but I think I’m out of Vatican visit rules for now – if you’ve got any other tips yourself I’d like to here them.
With these guidelines in mind, you can make the most of your visit to this iconic destination and create cherished memories of your time at the Vatican.
🎟️ Looking to buy? Read my post: Where to Buy Tickets for the Vatican