Visiting the Vatican Museums at Night

Vatican City is one of the most visited places in the world and has been written about extensively. I hadn’t been to the Vatican since the early 2000’s so I was quite eager to return.  A unique experience I stumbled upon online was a chance to visit the Vatican museums at night.

On Friday nights from April through October, the Vatican museums are opened to a limited number of visitors from 7pm to 11pm. I loved the thought of revisiting the Vatican museums without the notorious foot congestion. We bought our tickets online about a month before our visit and chose the open tour of the museums and Sistine chapel with happy hour, which included a buffet meal and drinks for 35 euro per person. You might ask why on earth we’d choose a buffet when thousands of delicious restaurants were located just beyond the Vatican city walls? Aside from the reduced crowds at the museums, I really liked the idea of drinking alcohol at the Vatican (as silly as that might seem).

 

When the doors opened, we were slowly let in after a thorough security check.  Not every ticket holder opted for a meal ticket so the evening crowd was thinned out even more. We found the happy hour location and were handed two drink tickets each to redeem for wine. As fate would have it, we found a couple of additional drink tickets on the floor and no one around us claimed them. (I may or may not have gotten a little buzzed up at the Vatican, which I find quite hilarious.) The food at the buffet wasn’t bad but also not good enough to recommend if you won’t be drinking. That said, the happy hour was a lovely way to enjoy each other’s company while listening to the live orchestra playing in the courtyard.

After our meal and drinks, we took our time wandering through the museums and the Sistine chapel. The lighting was a low throughout the halls but lit well enough to justify missing the daylight. Overall, the night experience at the Vatican is completely worth it, even if you have visited the Vatican museums before.

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