St. Peter’s Basilica Is Closed Most Wednesday Mornings

DSC00740sigh. don’t be a dumdum like i was and try to go to St. Peter’s Basilica on Wednesday mornings. it’s often closed due to the Papal Audience. (yes, you too can see the pope and get something blessed.) most guidebooks say that the church is open from 7 AM but forget to mention that it’s closed on Wednesday mornings (or it’s buried in some fine print that yours truly didn’t read). check beforehand if the Pope will be granting an audience on the Wednesday you want to go — it seems to be more often than not.

i got to St. Peter’s Square before 8 AM and people were already starting to file in with their tickets to the Audience. i was able to go through the metal detectors and probably could have taken a seat with everyone else but i had no desire to see the Pope. this is, however, at least your chance to go around the square (as much as you can; there are tons of plastic chairs everywhere) and get your photos done. i asked a Swiss Guard herding the flock to their seats if i could get into the Basilica and he said it’d be closed until 2.

St. Peter's Square Panorama

From outside the fenced-off area. You can see the faithful already starting to get their seats. Note I was able to enter without a ticket using the entrance/security checkpoint at the 10 o’clock position. Your mileage may vary.


every cloud has a silver lining

on the bright side, i was able to get into the Vatican Museum well before opening — i had an online ticket for 9:30 and they let me in at 8:30. it was also ridiculously empty. i left after 11 AM and there was no line to get in. i should also note that you do NOT need a printout of your online order confirmation as long as you can show the barcode on your phone. they will scan it at the entrance to “online ticket” line outside the entrance and again inside at the online ticket counter where they will give you an actual ticket you use at the turnstiles upstairs to get in.

that really was a silver lining. i couldn’t believe how private feeling it was. in many rooms, i was either the only or one of a handful of visitors.

in case you’re wondering, the “secret” shortcut directly to the Basilica from the Sistine Chapel was closed as well.


It’s actually no photos inside the Sistine Chapel — I honestly thought it was still just no flash. I was shushed and admonished to put my camera away but not before I got in some decent shots.

i’ll have to decide if i really want to go back to the Basilica — i remember enough of it from my last visit that i don’t feel a burning desire to, but it may take precedence over some of the ruins in the city center. i’ll make an executive decision later this week.

5 Comments on "St. Peter’s Basilica Is Closed Most Wednesday Mornings"

  1. Giddy for Points | February 19, 2014 at 7:17 am | Reply

    Ill be in Rome this fall so excited to read all your posts about it 🙂

    • Yay! You’ll have a blast! I dunno if it’s just me but I’m even more on watch for pickpockets here than other cities. The subway even has a cartoon series they play starring a pickpocket O_o. Other than that, though, love love love it here!

    • LufthansaFlyer | February 19, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Reply

      you were in the Vatican and did not take the necropolis tour? you missed one of the big highlights. BTW, there are tons of signs about no photos in the sistine chapel….

      • Heh I truly did not see the signs, and I misread the book I had. I do normally follow photography rules, no matter how arbitrary they seem. Alas, no necropolis tour this time; my time around town is limited since I’m working as well while I’m here so I have to prioritize. I will definitely add that to my list for when I return, though (MAXXI is also on that list).

    • LufthansaFlyer | February 19, 2014 at 9:30 pm | Reply

      Let me know when your going, I’ve been there a few times and can point you in the right direction if you want to get tickets for the papal audience. Regardless of religion its amazing to be in a sea of people from all over the world that cheer him. I’m not religious by any stretch but the papal audiences I’ve gone to were amazing and rank among my favorite travel experiences.

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