Trying to find the entrance to the Vatican Museums? The good news is that Vatican City is fairly small so you WILL find it, but most people make the mistake of thinking the way in is near St. Peter’s Basilica. Here’s how to get where you are really trying to go:
The easiest landmark to identify at the Vatican is St. Peter’s Square. This large open space surrounded by colonnades is basically the entrance into Vatican City with the enormous St. Peter’s Basilica right in the center, directly in front of you.
Many first time visitors assume that once they get to St. Peter’s Square they can enter the vast Vatican Museums, the Raphael Rooms, and the Sistine Chapel by simply standing in line on St. Peters Square. Or, at the very least that they will be able to see the entrance to the Vatican Museums from here. But unfortunately, this is not the case. Although the church is spectacular in itself you will miss the Vatican Museums and Michelangelo’s fresco paintings of the Sistine Chapel if you only stay here.
How to Get From St Peter’s Square to the Vatican Museum Entrance
Vatican City is a separate country from Italy. Being its own country means that the Vatican has its own border which is a large 2-mile long (3.2 km) brick wall surrounding the entirety of the country. This very wall will help you find the Vatican Museums from St Peter’s Basilica.
It takes 15-20 minutes to reach the entrance of the Vatican Museums from St. Peter’s Square. Facing St Peter’s Basilica at the front of St. Peters Square you must turn right and walk through or around the colonnades. Once you walk through the columns, you will see the Vatican wall on your left.
At this point, the street you will be on is called Via di Porta Angelica. Keep walking along this street until you reach Piazza Del Risorgimento where you will turn left while continuing to follow the Vatican wall. Keep walking along the Vatican wall where the wall turns right onto Via Leone IV. Walk up this street until you reach your first left while continuing to walk along the Vatican wall. Turning left you will be on Viale Vaticano where you walk until you come to the entrance to the Vatican Museums.
It is worth taking note that on busy days during high season there is very often a large line to enter into the Vatican Museums. This line wraps around the wall you will be following to enter into the Vatican Museums so you will likely find the end of the line before you reach the entrance.
If you have already purchased tickets to skip the line, then you can keep walking past all the waiting people directly to the door where you will be allowed inside at the time stated on your tickets. If you are unable to purchase tickets in advance, here are the best times to visit the Vatican Museums.
If you are taking a tour, be sure to read the tour information carefully to know where to meet your guide. Some of the meeting places are close to the entrance, while others meet in the nearby neighborhood.
Address of the Vatican Museum Entrance
The Vatican Museums are located in Vatican City but the closest address in Rome to the entrance is Viale Vaticano, 100, Roma 00192. You will see a sign for Musei Vaticani across the small street from this address.
GPS coordinates for the Vatican Museums are: 41.906752, 12.452772