"Map of Vatican City" Vatican City Favorite Tip by mccalpin
Vatican City Favorites: 176 reviews and 186 photos
Favorite thing: Please open in a separate window this official map of Vatican City: (click here -->)Vatican City map
1. St. Peter's Square is the roundish thing on the lower left.
2. Immediately above the "square" is the Basilica, known as "St. Peter's".
3. The entrance to the Vatican Museums is on the far right at #34. (#34A is the original entrance but is now an exit).
4. The Vatican Museums are in a number of buildings:
...a. Museo Gregoriano-Profano (#35)
...b. Pinacoteca (#36)
...c. Museo Gregoriano Egizio (the Egyptian Museum) (#29)
...d. Museo Gregoriano Etrusco (the Etruscan Museum) (#29)
...e. Museo Pio-Clementino (#30)
5. From the cluster of buildings near the entrance, the Museums then stretch to the west - see #27 and #20, and #25 and #21. The areas inbetween (#26, #18, etc.) are indeed open courtyards, and in good weather, the windows of the Museums are opened to see them.
6. If you follow this line again to the left, you will see the Sistine Chapel (#15), having passed over the line of courtyards at #14, #13, and #12 on an upper floor.
7. Normally, the exit from the Museums is out the other door of the Sistine Chapel. This leaves you in the alley along side the Basilica, near the Scala Regia (#3). You should expect to see the Sistine Chapel last in the Museums, as you are discouraged from turning around and trying to go back from the Chapel into the Museums.
8. On the other side of the Basilica, there is the Audience Hall (#86), where you go for the General Audiences (Wednesdays) in case of bad weather.
9. Just above the Audience Hall is the Domus Sanctae Martae (Saint Martha's House) (#77b), which is a hotel of sorts where all the cardinal electors will reside during the conclave.
10. To the right from #77b against the wall of the Basilica is the Ufficio Scavi (#81), which is the office where you enter for the tour of the necropolis under the Basilica.
11. To get to the Ufficio Scavi, enter at the Ingresso del Petriano (#90), which is blocked by wooden barricades and manned by two Swiss Guards on the inside and by an Italian policeman on the outside near the colonnade (see the photo). Tell the Swiss Guards that you want to go to the Ufficio Scavi (or show them your reservation letter, if you don't speak Italian or German), and you can walk in...don't walk anyplace else.
12. When you leave the Scavi tour, the guide may let you off in the grotto underneath the Basilica (this is the floor above the necropolis but below the ground floor of the Basilica). If the guide takes you back to the Ufficio Scavi, then you can exit through the Arco delle Campane (#88), an archway where you walk right past a Swiss Guard with the halberd always on guard.
Fondest memory: During the conclave, the Sistine Chapel will be closed (of course), it is possible that the Museums' traffic will be routed back to the exit at #34a, so that you'll find yourself back outside the Walls.
The cardinal-electors will be staying at the Domus Sanctae Martae, but voting in the Sistine Chapel, twice in the morning and twice in the evening. Thus, the cardinals will be going back and forth, I am guessing, by walking behind the Basilica from #77b via #72 (Largo S. Stefano degli Abissini), and #70 (Via delle Fondamenta) to the Sistine Chapel (#15). If this is the path they take, then access to the Ufficio Scavi may be halted, since the cardinal-electors - who aren't supposed to be speaking to any one - would be easily visible from the front door of the Ufficio Scavi.
In addition to the photos below, please see the Travelogue for more photos taken inside the Vatican where visitors normally can't go.
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