Save a full day to visit Vatican City, as it is, in fact, its own city with plenty to see. From St. Peter’s Basilica to the Vatican Museums, your family will be in awe of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the Vatican. It is free to enter St. Peter’s, but lines extend throughout Vatican City and can take more than an hour, and once inside, there is a fee and another line to climb to the top of its dome. Instead, pre-purchase a ticket into the Vatican Museums (again, to bypass the long lines) and visit the impressive collection that includes the awe-inspiring Sistine Chapel before releasing its crowds into St. Peter’s. During peak seasons, you may feel like cattle being herded through popular areas of the museum and into the chapel, and if you can visit first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon, your kids may not realize they need to thank you for making it so easy on them. Once through the chapel, you’ll be placed in a courtyard that connects to St. Peter’s without any additional lines (unless you’d like to go to the top of the dome). It is possible to see all of the museum and Vatican in a day, but it will be hurried, it will be tiresome and it will be a long day.
It is pricey to visit all the Vatican offers, and as a separate state, tickets to the Vatican are not included in the ROMA pass. The Vatican museums, of which there are 12 in total, are open daily from 8:30 a.m. (9 a.m. on Sundays) until 6 p.m., with the last entry at 4 p.m. St. Peter’s dome is priced under 10 Euros for both the elevator or the stairs, and while tickets may be purchased in advance, go early to miss the lines. The Basilica is open from 7 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m. daily, with the dome opening at 8 a.m. and closing earlier. The Vatican Gardens or Catacombs are special exhibits that require ticket reservations up to four months in advance. There is so much to see and so many crowds that young children may not be impressed with a day here, and tantrums are highly likely; be prepared and take many breaks!