Rome Newsroom, Nov 10, 2023 / 09:23 am (CNA).
The Vatican Museums have announced a series of novelties beginning both this month and after the new year, in anticipation of the 2025 Jubilee Year.
Beginning Nov. 17, the Vatican Museums will open an additional entrance every Friday and Saturday for those who wish to only visit the Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis, the ruins of an ancient Roman burial ground located on Vatican property.
The entrance to the archeological site will be the St. Rose Gate of the Vatican, which is located off of Risorgimento Square, about halfway between St. Peter’s Square and the main entrance to the Vatican Museums off of “Viale Vaticano.”
The museums will now also offer a guided tour of only the Necropolis, which can also, as before, be visited in combination with the Vatican Museums or Vatican Gardens.
In light of the increase in tourism after the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vatican Museums will also introduce extended hours in an effort to accommodate high visitor demand and overcrowding.
From Jan. 1, 2024, the opening hours on Monday through Saturday will be extended by two hours, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The current opening hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the last entrance allowed one hour before closing.
For the high tourist season in spring and summer, beginning March 2024, the museums will also extend their opening hours on Fridays and Saturdays to 8 p.m.
The museums said guided tours will be limited to a maximum of 20 people and they are adding additional air conditioning throughout the exhibition rooms.
Additionally, the Vatican Museums will introduce measures to combat a challenge faced by many tourist sites in Rome: secondary ticketing, or the unauthorized resale of tickets.
The automatic purchase of tickets, including through bots, will now be impeded with the introduction of nominative tickets and ID checks.
The price of a ticket to visit the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel will also increase from 17 to 20 euros (approximately $18 to $21) beginning Jan. 1, 2024.
An additional online reservation fee of 5 euros ($5) will not change.
In a press release last month, the Vatican Museums explained that the raise in ticket price was due to a “general increase in costs.”
“The new fee will make it possible to ensure the management of the museum complex and the care of the artistic, historical, and cultural heritage more effectively and in keeping with current needs,” it said.
“The ultimate goal,” it continued, “remains, as always, to offer a better service, closer to the needs of visitors, with particular regard to the faithful who wish to approach the experience that only the greatest collection of Christian artworks is able to offer.”