It’s All About queueing at St. Peter’s Basilica

December 23, 2019Niry Fidelis
queueing at St. Peter's Basilica

Few months ago, I went to St. Peter’s Basilica with my father. Since we come from a very strict Catholic family, this obligation is duly renewed once in a while as it is the holiest site of Catholicism. Something different went on this time: we reached Vatican City at 1 pm and there were plenty of people queueing at St. Peter’s Basilica. There were more than 6 long lines long down the street.

There was a main queue and 5 branches. We unconsciously took the main one but later I realized that it had been a bad idea because it went on absorbing the side-lines as well. Since there was nobody to guide the public, the queues were springing up everywhere. This is the reason why the main one went so slowly and the people who came after us found themselves ahead of us. Let’s not even mention the ones who plugged into the line like everything was ok.

How long is a queue for St. Peter’s Basilica inVatican City

queueing at St. Peter's Basilica

It took more than 2 hours for us to reach the front side of the Basilica but since we had no other plans, it wasn’t a big deal for us. The whole queuing experience at St. Peter’s Basilica lasted 2 hours and 20 minutes and honestly, for me it wasn’t that bad. I spent most of my time taking photos as we (my father) moved along the queue.

My father and I were talking about how the situation has changed since his first visit to St. Peter’s Basilica. Almost 30 years ago, just a few people were visiting the Basilica. Now, due to some changes regarding travelers and travelings, plenty of tourists are coming to the Vatican City. In fact, it is a lifetime experience. Such a change of mentality will for sure take more and more travelers to this place. He also said that once you could feel the holiness which seemed to have disappeared now. For a man of faith like him, it was really very disappointing.

Private guides at St. Peter’s Basilica

While the line was moving slowly ahead, some private guides approached the tourists offering their services by saying that there will be no need to wait in line for hours. So I realized that it had become a matter of business now. You are not paying the entrance fee to the basilica because it is a church but if you pay the guide you skip the line and save time. This is a great way to earn money because most of the tourists have a lack of time and this sounds really cool to their ears. In fact, some of those in line near us left but we decided to stay because we were getting close to the entrance.

Pre-book your entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica and skip the line

Queue in Vatican City

Metal detectors at St. Peter’s Basilica

Another reason why the queue at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City moved so slowly was because of the metal detectors. You need to go through them one by one before getting into the Basilica. There were eight or nine metal detectors but not all of them were operating.

When we were at that point we saw the special entrance for guided tours., Many people got into the basilica that way without a guide and the security didn’t seem to care. Because of this, some bypassed the queue. So this shortcut which was supposed to be for visitors with guides became for the “clever” ones. When we finally got inside we were really happy. I was so excited to see my father had done it once again. If it hadn’t been for St. Peter’s Church, I know that he would never have been willing to wait such a long time under the hot sun.

Anyways in case you don’t have enough money don’t be intimated by the queue at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, just do it. Words cannot express or describe what is waiting for you there inside. Even if you are not religious at all, you will still appreciate it.

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Tips for visiting Vatican City

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When planning your visit to Vatican City, try to avoid Wednesday mornings because it’s the day of the Papal audience, so it’s closed for visitors until 12:00 or even later. Therefore it is more crowded in the evening.

Be also aware that the Pope can decide at any time to have the Basilica for himself and it’s not uncommon. When that happens, it will be closed for tourists. Therefore don’t plan your visit for the last day of your stay.

Make sure you are dressed appropriately – keep your shoulders and thighs covered. If you don’t, when finally you reach the check-in point they can send you back. Believe me, if it happens you ‘ll be ready to kill the person next to you! The Vatican dress code is really very strict (as it should be).

When possible avoid important religious days because they attract tourists so it will be even more crowded.

Visiting Rome soon? Then here are some Rome Travel Tips that you may want to check before you go!!!

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Comments (16)

  • Preet@thevelvetlife

    November 4, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    This is such an amazing experience. I have been to St Peters Basilica, Vatican City 5 years back and still remember how peaceful and beautiful experience it is.

  • Preet@thevelvetlife

    November 4, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    And great tips, I do remember the time and hassle waiting in the queue, and now when I visit it again next year with kids, these tips are going to be very handy.

  • Rémy Nguyen Binh

    November 4, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Amazing. I always wanted to go to Rome. Thanks for the tips. It's very helpful.

  • Anonymous

    November 4, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    I love your gorgeous and beautiful photographs!!! My son was blessed to study here for a semester and it was an amazing experience for him. Shell

  • Aditi

    November 4, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Great pictures! Good to know about the wait times for when we make a trip to the beautiful city!

  • Shub B

    November 5, 2017 at 3:08 am

    Wow St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City is so amazing and beautiful place. This place is one of the tourist spot in the world. Great tips and photos.

  • Jack Bransson

    November 5, 2017 at 5:19 am

    This is amazing place and the queue is so long, i really wish to visit this place one day and experience it.

  • Elizabeth O

    November 5, 2017 at 8:38 am

    I have been their before, and that is one of my greatest and memorable experience I have ever been. That place is so beautiful and breathtaking architecture.

  • AnnMarie John

    November 6, 2017 at 12:54 am

    It's truly breathtaking, even from the outside. I can imagine why people would line up for hours just to go see what's waiting for them inside. I'd love to see it one day!

  • Amy Dong

    November 6, 2017 at 2:24 am

    Thanks for all the great tidbits and advice. It's so helpful to know which days to go/not to go, what to wear, what to expect… those are all things to be prepared for.

  • Cheichei Va

    November 6, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    Sounds amazing. I would like to see and visit Rome. Uhmm thanks for sharing these wonderful pics.

  • Nicole Flint

    November 6, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    It would be a great experience to visit one day! I can definetly understand why people would line up for hours! The Vatican is beautiful!

  • laara

    November 29, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    Beautiful images and place looks great and long queue shows it's importance.

  • Krystianna

    December 27, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    Woah, that’s crazy that the line took that long! I visited last May and the line was that long but I only actually had to wait about 30 minutes. Thank you for sharing! 🙂
    Krystianna @ Volumes and Voyages

  • Katy Liang

    January 2, 2020 at 12:49 am

    Wow, what a line! The queue is part of the experience, right? 😛 Nonetheless, this is something I would definitely want to do when I go visit!

  • 4 Days in Rome Itinerary: Travel & Sightseeing Guide – PlacesofJuma

    January 31, 2020 at 10:03 am

    […] us one of the most popular Roman attractions. Plan your visit very early in the morning to avoid queueing at St. Peter’s Basilica and start your sightseeing day with the St. Peters Basilica! The Basilica opens at 7.00, be there […]

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