At 112 acres of land, Vatican City is officially the smallest country in the world. Like all countries, there are some rules and regulations on what you are and are not allowed to bring in. Although you do not have to bring your passport to cross the border to the Vatican (many people often do in hopes to get their passport stamped by the Vatican) there are things that you should bring and things you are not allowed to bring.
Here is a list of items you can not bring inside the Vatican:
Strollers inside Saint Peter’s Basilica
Although strollers are allowed inside the Vatican Museums they are not allowed inside Saint Peter’s Basilica. Just before you enter Saint Peter’s Basilica there is a cloakroom/locker room where you can leave the stroller before entering the church. Hopefully, your toddlers are up for a bit of a walk around. Carriers for small babies are fine.
When planning your day at the Vatican Museums, it is important to bring water – especially in the summer! However you are not allowed to drink anything among the galleries, there are courtyards where you can fill up your water bottles at the fountains where the water is fresh and where you can quench your thirst. You can bring water from a plastic bottle. Glass bottles will be taken off you or you may be allowed to leave them in the cloakroom if the bottle is important to you.
Drinking your own alcohol is completely forbidden in the Vatican. However, if you have come directly from a flight and have purchased alcohol from the duty-free shop in the airport, you can leave your alcohol in the cloakroom after entering the Vatican Museums. You can retrieve your items just before you exit the Vatican Museums. Even though you cannot bring booze with you, there are a number of places in the Vatican Museums to get refreshments and small beers or glasses of wine are for sale. Keep in mind the fact that you can only drink them at the refreshment area where you purchased them.
With the many hours of walking through some of the most incredible artworks in the world, it is strongly advised to come to the Vatican with a full stomach. A good lunch before entering in the afternoon or a big breakfast before entering in the morning is important. However, you are not allowed to bring your own food inside the Vatican and it will be taken away from you. There are a number of places inside the Vatican to get small snacks or a fairly average lunch, but it is best to eat well before you arrive.
Tripods and professional photo or art equipment
Taking photos in the Vatican is allowed (except the Sistine Chapel) but for pretty much the whole of the Vatican Museums you will have to turn off your flash. Taking photos on your phone is fine but making calls on your phone is not. Using equipment like tripods is forbidden unless you get permission from the Director of the Museums. This also includes making sketches of the artwork – which, again, you can only do with permission from the Director.
Umbrellas or dangerous objects
There are a few reasons why you will need an umbrella in Rome. Rome can have some intense thunderstorms and an umbrella in the heat of the summer is also not a bad idea. BUT bringing an umbrella, especially with a pointy top, is not allowed due to the value of the artwork. Don’t worry, the umbrella will not be thrown away, but you will have to check it in at the cloakroom that is right after you enter the Vatican Museums. You can retrieve it just before you exit the Vatican museums. This also includes Swiss army knives or any other objects that can be considered dangerous.
Smoking is completely forbidden throughout the Vatican. This also includes E-Cigarettes. Although there are courtyards in the Vatican and places to relax, you won’t be allowed to light up so it is best to not bring anything that you can smoke.
It is not uncommon for people to come directly off a flight and head straight to the Vatican. This might happen if their hotel has a late check-in and they have time to kill, or their Vatican reservation was booked the day they arrive or depart. Going to the Vatican with large bags of luggage is fine but you will be asked to check them at the cloakroom. Checking in luggage is free of charge and you can retrieve your luggage just before you exit the Vatican Museums. Do not leave the Museums before reclaiming your luggage. If you have any problems finding where you have to get your possessions back there are plenty of security guards around who are happy to help you.
Ok – that is enough of what you CANNOT bring. Wondering how to prepare for the best day possible at the Vatican? Here is the full list of what you SHOULD bring to the Vatican.