A Visitor’s Handbook to Vatican Museum Rules & Regulations!

Visiting the Vatican Museums promises a unique and unforgettable experience, rich in history and art. 

To ensure the preservation of its collections and the comfort of all visitors, the museum authorities have established a set of rules and regulations. 

It’s important for every visitor to be familiar with these guidelines, which cover everything from dress codes and photography to smoking policies and more. 

In this article, we’ve compiled all the essential information about the Vatican’s rules and guidelines you need to know to make your visit as enjoyable and smooth as possible.

Vatican Museum Clothing Rules: What can I wear?

Vatican Museum Clothing Rules: What can I wear?
Image: Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

Visitors should wear modest and semi-formal clothing on a visit to the Museum. 

Men should wear full-length trousers and a formal shirt, or a t-shirt with no offensive slogans on a Vatican Museum visit. 

Women should wear dresses or skirts that go below the knee, and their blouses should cover the shoulders. 

Short pants, ripped jeans, and hats are prohibited in the Vatican Museum. 

Read the Vatican Dress code to know more about the clothing attire before visiting the museum! 

If you plan to visit the Sistine Chapel, we recommend that you check out our Sistine Chapel clothing rules article to prepare in advance. 

No Flash Photography Inside Vatican Museums

Photography is Prohibited inside the Sistine Chapel.
Image: DanFLCreativo

Visitors can take photographs of the artwork in the Vatican Museum for personal use or to post on social media.

Avoid using flash in all Vatican Museum rooms, as this is prohibited.

Professional photography equipment like cameras, tripod stands, drones, etc, are not allowed inside the Vatican Museum space. 

Visitors carrying cameras might have to leave since the cloakroom does not allow you to store any such devices. 

If you bring selfie sticks to the Museum, they will be confiscated as well.

Sharp objects, suitcases, and large umbrellas are prohibited in the Vatican Museum. 

Not to bring
Image: Pantheon – Rome, Italy, 2022 Stock photos by Vecteezy

The Vatican Museum follows some strict guidelines as to what can be brought into the Museums and what must be kept out.

You have to get through a metal detector before entering any area in the museum. 

To get through security quickly, you should not carry these items: 

  • No medium or large hockey-stick umbrellas
  • Knives or other sharp objects 
  • Household items like scissors 
  • Metal tools, like screwdrivers, pliers, etc. 
  • Huge suitcases 
  • Bags bigger than 40 x 35 x 15cm will not be allowed inside. 
  • Firearms, even if you have a license 
  • Laser pointers

If you have an umbrella, knives, or other objects mentioned above on hand, you can leave them behind in the Cloakroom. 

It is free to keep your items here, and you can collect them before leaving. 

You cannot store coats, jackets, and other valuable items, like jewelry, cash, mobiles, etc, in the cloakroom. 

We recommend you do this before going through the metal detector to save time and avoid holding up the entry queue. 

If you forget to leave them out before standing in line, please inform the staff so they can assist you with such items. 

Please note: Firearms and other dangerous weapons cannot be stored in the cloakroom. Visitors holding such items will be denied entry. 

Munching on Snacks or Sipping Drinks is not allowed in the Vatican Museum. 

Munching on food items or having a cold drink while walking around the Vatican Museums is prohibited. 

You must leave behind all food items and beverages in the cloakroom, and you can collect them after exploring. 

Visitors are allowed to carry plastic bottles with water in the Museum.

You will find vending machines around the Vatican Museum if you want to have a snack.

If you don’t want to use the vending machines or want to have a proper meal, you can choose to visit  Vatican Museum restaurants! 

Maintain Silence in the Vatican Museum

Visitors must not make loud noises in all the Vatican Museums to ensure that others can have a fun experience.

Visitors should keep their mobile phones on silent in the Vatican Museum.

The Museum recommends avoiding using phones, but you can use them to click pictures. 

Using microphones is not allowed in the Vatican Museum to ensure everyone can enjoy a calming visit.

You will have to use a radio headset system if you are on a Vatican Museum guided tour

Touching Paintings & Sculptures is Prohibited in the Vatican Museum

You must not touch any sculptures or paintings on display in the museum. 

All museum spaces have security cameras and alarms, which will start ringing if you touch them.

If you get caught, you might have to pay a fine. 

The Vatican Museum is a No Smoking & No Drinking Zone

No Smoking & No Drinking Zone
Image: Villa Borghese – Rome, Italy, 2022 Stock photos by Vecteezy

Alcoholic beverages are not allowed inside the Vatican Museum and can be left in the cloakroom.

You cannot smoke in the Vatican Museum either.

Cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, and other tobacco products will be taken away if found. 

Accessibility Instructions 

The Vatican Museum is an accessible space for all visitors, including those with disabilities.

You will be given a traditional wheelchair if needed, which is available at the entrance for free.

Check out our Vatican Museum map article to find the locations of ramps and elevators reserved for visitors with disabilities for a smooth experience! 

The Vatican Museum also has free guided tours for visitors with hearing problems using Italian Sign Language. 

Partially blind or blind visitors can participate in a free tactile and sensory tour of the Vatican Museum! 

To know more details about these reserved tours, we recommend checking out the Accessibility section on the official Vatican Museums website. 

Pets, except Guide Dogs, are Not Allowed in the Vatican Museum 

Pets of all sizes are not allowed in the Vatican Museum. 

Guide dogs to help the blind or partially sighted or those with other issues are allowed in the Vatican Museum.

You must always keep them on a leash and wearing a muzzle to create a safe atmosphere for other visitors. 

Visitors bringing along their guide dogs must inform the museum through email at least a day in advance. 

Rules for Parents Traveling with Kids in Vatican Museum

The Vatican Museum has many facilities to ensure that parents traveling with children have a comfortable experience.

You can bring along strollers inside the Vatican Museum. 

The Museum staff will direct you to the best routes to avoid the crowd with your stroller.

Parents can also find washrooms with baby-changing tables all over the first floor of the Vatican Museum. 

You can also ask the staff for directions to private nursing rooms in the museum. 

Highchairs are available in all Vatican Museum restaurants and cafes. 

The Vatican Museum is a massive space and can be difficult to explore with kids for a whole day. 

You should check out our How to Explore the Vatican Museum in 2 Hours article to ensure your kids don’t get bored. 

Seating Areas Can be Found in the Vatican Museum Courtyards 

You can find relaxing areas in all the courtyards of the Vatican Museum.

The Vatican Museum has four courtyards:

  • Pinecone Courtyard
  • Courtyard of the Cuirasses
  • Courtyard of the Pinacoteca
  • And the Square Garden 

It is a great spot for parents to take a break and allow their children to run around and explore after walking around the museum for hours. 

Where can I find Dustbins in the Vatican Museum? 

It is important to avoid littering the Vatican Museums and courtyards so all visitors can enjoy the beauty of the space.

You will find dustbins to dispose of trash:

  • Near the Museum Entrance area
  • In the Courtyards
  • In the Refreshment areas
  • In the washrooms. 

Please do not throw plastic bottles, cans, or paper in other museum spaces or you might have to pay a fine. 

How do I find a lost item in the Vatican Museum?

Inform the nearest security point if you lose any precious item on your Vatican Museum trip.

Enjoy your day and collect the item from the security checkpoints before leaving the museum.

If you forget to collect your lost item on the same day, you can collect it later from the Gendarmerie Corps. 

Visitors who realize their item is lost after reaching home should contact the Vatican Museum by sending an email to accoglienza.musei@scv.va

If your item is not found even after this search process, the Vatican Museum holds no responsibility for it. 

Sistine Chapel Vatican Museum Rules

You cannot click photographs of the Sistine Chapel ceiling and walls, unlike in the other Vatican Museums.

Visitors must maintain pin-drop silence in the Sistine Chapel, as it is a holy space of the Papal Conclave.

You must refer to totem-like touch screens and headsets if you take a guided tour at the Sistine Chapel to ensure silence is maintained. 

Visitors wanting to know more about the Chapel can find exclusive details on information panels in the Square Garden and Pinecone Courtyard. 

Check out our Sistine Chapel rules article to know more before visiting! 

FAQs for Vatican Museum Rules and Regulations 

What is not allowed in the Vatican Museum?

Knives, food items, alcohol and cigarettes, firearms, and other metal items are not allowed in the Vatican Museum. Do not bring bags that are bigger than 40 x 35 x 15cm. 

Can you wear jeans to the Vatican Museum?

Yes, you can wear jeans to the Vatican Museum. Do not wear ripped jeans. 

Is there a dress code for the Vatican?

Men and women must not wear clothes that reveal their knees and shoulders. No hats are allowed in the Vatican. 

Can I bring a backpack to the Vatican Museum?

Yes, you can carry a small backpack in the Vatican Museum. It should not be bigger than 40 x 35 x 15cm. 

Can I bring a water bottle to the Vatican Museum?

Yes, you can bring a plastic bottle of water to the Vatican Museum. Steel bottles are not allowed. 

Can you take pictures inside the Vatican Museum?

You can take pictures without flash in the Vatican Museum. You cannot click photographs in the Sistine Chapel. 

What is the Vatican Museum ticket price?

The standard Vatican Museum ticket, with access to the Sistine Chapel, costs €31. Children between the ages of 6 and 17 years can visit for a discounted price of €20. Infants 5 years and below can visit the museum for free!

Are there toilets in the Vatican Museum?

Yes, there are toilets in the Vatican Museum. You can also find toilets accessible for disabilities and diaper-changing tables. 

Do you need an ID for the Vatican Museum? 

You might have to show Identification proof if you apply for any free or discounted ticket. We recommend you carry it along when visiting the museum. 

Featured Image: Getyourguide.com

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