The 15 Best Things To Do In Vatican City At Night - Updated 2021

things to do in Vatican City at night

Visiting the Vatican by night is a whole new experience and even more meaningful if you’ve already seen it during the day. The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel in the night are dramatic and this when the palaces are at their most serene state, creating an aura that is unbeatable. Few visitors are aware that the Vatican can be visited in the night throughout the summer months, when you can partake in viewing its galleries and apartments with only the other lucky few who are in the know. Here, we have listed the best things to do in Vatican City at night. So, read on for more information!

1. Open tour of the Vatican Museums at night

Inside Musei Vaticani (492480655)
Source: Photo by user edwin.11 used under CC BY 2.0

Enter the Vatican Museums, way after official closing time. Explore the museums in a relatively quiet and relaxed state, as you have beaten the outside heat of the day. Remember, that this evening tour is special and only available on limited dates. If you have already visited the Vatican Museums before, here is a chance for you to explore them in a new way.

For a limited time each year, from April through October and only on Fridays, the Vatican Museums open late to the public, giving access to roam its corridors and admire artworks at a relaxed pace and with a smaller crowd. Listen to the history of the Vatican, the Popes, and artists, all of whom lived and worked here. Learn also about Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, known famously as Raphael, whose frescoes are present in the four rooms of the Vatican and are the highlight of this night tour.

Open tour of the Vatican Museums at night

Address: Viale Vaticano, 00165 Roma RM, Italy

Hours: 7 PM to 11 PM (Final entry at 9:30 PM) (Fridays from April through October)

Website: Musei Vaticani

2. Open tour of the Sistine Chapel at night

Chapelle sixtine2
Source: Photo by user Antoine Taveneaux used under CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the best Vatican City places to visit at night is Sistine Chapel. Every Friday, from April to October, the Vatican Museums open their doors after sunset, from 7 to 11 PM, to permit visitors to appreciate the unusual nocturnal atmosphere. Your Vatican tour would not be complete without a look at the main attraction - the Sistine Chapel. When you enter the Sistine Chapel you will be able to locate Michelangelo’s self-portrait and spot portraits of his enemies among the heathen, creating a memorable experience on this tour.

Obviously, the crowd-puller is the ‘Creation of Adam’ by Michelangelo, found on the vaulted ceiling, which captures every visitor’s eyes. You’ll also be in the company of the intimidating 'Last Judgment’ by Michelangelo, covering the whole altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. This tour has tickets that range from 19 USD for the open tour without a guide to 40 USD for a guided tour. You can also select the exclusive guided tour of only 15 participants, that will set you back 350 USD per person.

Open tour of the Sistine Chapel at night

Address: Viale Vaticano, 00165 Roma RM, Italy

Hours: 7 PM to 11 PM (Final entry at 9:30 PM) (Fridays from April through October)

Website: Musei Vaticani

3. Attend a evocative concert in the Vatican Museums

Posted by Therese Marz on Friday, 30 June 2017

Those looking forward to enjoying Vatican City’s nightlife can consider attending a concert instead. There is nothing more astonishing than plunging into the beauty of the Vatican, illuminated by the moon that overlooks the dome of the Basilica of St. Peter. And emotions are even stronger when highlighted by music, heard in the courtyards and places that have been crossed over for centuries, by pontiffs and the greatest artists of history.

These concerts are an excellent remedy for the hot Roman summer and are made possible thanks to the opening of the museum in the evening, which the Pope has renewed for 2017. These concerts open the doors to the hearts of those who are in the Vatican and provide an unforgettable experience.

Concert in the Vatican Museums

Address: Viale Vaticano, 00165 Roma RM, Italy

Hours: 8:30 PM onwards

Website: Concert Programme 2017

4. Enjoy a sumptuous dinner in the magnificent setting of the Pinecone Courtyard (from 123.35 USD)

things to do in vatican city at night | enjoy a sumptuous dinner in the magnificent setting of the pinecone courtyard
Source: instagram

The Vatican opens on Friday evenings for select periods of time, each year and this tour has been specially created to offer a new nocturnal sensory experience to the public which, until recently, only select head of states and dignitaries could enjoy. This special tour includes admission into the Vatican Gardens before the regular evening entry time and where visitors are treated to an exclusive buffet dinner of local flavors and wine in the Vatican courtyard before starting their night tour.

The buffet is set in the beautiful surroundings of the Pinecone Courtyard, with its open patio overlooking the Vatican Gardens and it is a view you will cherish along with the sumptuous and indulgent dinner.

Vatican Museums night tour dinner

Price: from 123.35 USD

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)


5. Take a night walk along St. Peter's Square

St. Peter's Square, Vatican City | June 5, 2012
Source: Photo by Flickr user Fernando used under CC BY-SA 2.0

St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the world’s holiest Catholic shrines and is visited by thousands of pilgrims and tourists, every month. Built upon the tomb of St Peter, this splendid church is a magnificent must-see for visitors to Rome. However, with the huge crowd outside and the hot Roman weather, it can be difficult to take the time to visit this splendid edifice. There is so much to see and many photo opportunities, which is why taking a stroll in Vatican City at night makes for a pleasurable experience.

Start from the Ponte Sant'Angelo, along the grand approach to the Way of Conciliation. If you do some research about the area, many statues outside the basilica on the colonnades will make sense. Visit the Egyptian obelisk of Caligula in the center and start clockwise from the Prefecture of the Papal Household at one o'clock, pass the Bernini Fountain at three o'clock and walk all the way to St. Peter’s Twin Fountain at nine o'clock to complete your circle. It might be boring for some, but if you are a lover of history and art, you will definitely enjoy your walk amidst all the ancient figures looking down at you from their pedestals.

Walk along St. Peter's Square

Address: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City

Hours: 7:00 PM to 11 PM daily

Website: St. Peter’s Basilica

The following content is contributed by Trip101 writer, Priyanjali

6. Marvel at Leonardo da Vinci Exhibition's masterpieces (from USD 12.08)

things to do in vatican city at night | marvel at leonardo da vinci exhibition's masterpieces

Leonardo Da Vinci’s multi-faceted talents are not unknown to the world. While he was a jack of all trades – scientist, inventor, engineer, and architect – during his lifetime, it is his contribution to arts that has left an indelible mark on the world. The Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibition is one such excellent spot to admire his artistic genius. The exhibition showcases a reproduction of his most famous albeit controversial painting, The Last Supper, along with models of his engineering feats, including flying machines, architecture techniques (unsupported suspension bridge), and several other mechanisms that were much ahead of its time. Additionally, the Room of Mirrors throws light on Vinci’s understanding of light and photography. Not just Leonardo da Vinci’s works, but works of other prominent artists are also on display at this exhibition.

Rome: Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibition Ticket

358 reviews

7. Explore Necropoli di San Pietro (from USD 72.0)

While you’re admiring the magnificent St Peter’s Basilica, do visit Necropoli di San Pietro as well. Located in the basilica’s basement, it is said to house St. Peter the Apostle’s relics and several centuries-old tombs that go all the way back to the inception of Christianity in pagan Rome. Excellent multi-lingual guided tours of the facility are available, so book one for an immersive experience. See other attractions and landmarks along the way to complete your visit.

Peter's Tomb: Exclusive Visit of the Basilica & Its Necropolis

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

10 reviews

8. Savour Tre Pupazzi Restaurant's local delicacies

Source: Pixnio

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Within walking distance from the Vatican, Tre Pupazzi Restaurant has consistently remained a hot-favourite among locals as well as travellers. The place excels in its typical Roman fare, with the perfectly cooked ossobuco (veal cooked in vegetable and wine broth), toothsome saltimbocca (prosciutto-and-sage-wrapped veal), and utterly flavoursome risottos that are offered in different flavours daily. Add to that, a selection of Portuguese specials on the menu every Friday and Saturday!

Tre Pupazzi Restaurant

Address: Borgo Pio, 183, 00193 Roma RM, Italy

Website: Tre Pupazzi Restaurant

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 12pm - 3pm, 7pm - 11pm (closed on Sun)

9. Relish La Soffitta Renovatio's yummy Italian fare

Source: Photo by Flickr user Caspar Diederik used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Established in 1908, La Soffitta Renovatio has since attracted Italian bigwigs as well as international customers. The place excels in its Roman and Abruzzese cuisines, with each dish representing an unadulterated flavour, cooked using recipes that have been handed down generations in the restaurant’s owning family. What’s even better? They have gluten-free variants of their popular dishes too. Try one of their gluten-free pizzas, pastas, or risottos and you’ll know what we mean.

La Soffitta Renovatio

Address: Piazza del Risorgimento, 46/a, 00192 Roma RM, Italy

Website: La Soffitta Renovatio

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 11:30am - 3:30pm, 6pm - 11:30pm; Sun: 11am - 3:30pm, 6pm - 11:30pm

Nearby options

10. Soak in the Colosseum's glory at night (from USD 99.66)

things to do in vatican city at night | soak in the colosseum's glory at night

Regardless of what time of the day you choose to visit the Colosseum, the experience is likely to be splendid. Since it’s an open-air attraction and the weather can be quite unrelenting, night tours are also offered here. Several independent tour companies arrange night-time group tours, assisted by guides and audio headsets with commentary that allow you to soak in the magnificence of this Roman architectural marvel, sans the crowds. Its appeal amplifies at dusk, dramatically lit and left eerily dark at strategic spots, making it a totally brilliant affair. Plus, night tours also allow visitors to access the theatre’s underground level, which is otherwise shut for entry to day visitors. What’s so special about the basement, you may ask – the Colosseum’s basement exhibits the use of some of the most ingenious methods of engineering. So, totally worth a trip at night!

Colosseum: Underground Tour at Night

Duration: 2.5 hour

31 reviews

11. Unearth mysteries in the Dark Heart of Rome tour (from USD 30.2)

unearth mysteries in the dark heart of rome tour

While Rome may be one of the prettiest cities in the world, it also holds several secrets shrouded in darkness that only unravel themselves post-sunset. The Dark Heart of Rome is one of the town’s most famous walking tours, delighting guests with the many myths, mysteries, and facts that the city has been associated with. The tour starts at the historic Sant’ Andrea Della Valle Church and takes you through several landmarks, such as Campo de Fiori, the site of public executions, which is rueful since the name literally translates to ‘field of flowers’, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, and ultimately ending at the site of Emperor Hadrian’s mausoleum, Castel Sant'Angelo. The one and half hour-long tour is a guided one and can only be arranged for groups.

Dark Heart of Rome: Facts, Legends, and Mystery Tour

Duration: 1.5 hour

80 reviews

12. Check out the macabre Catacombs of Rome (from USD 99.84)

check out the macabre catacombs of rome

If you thought underground burial sights would be the least of landmarks in this otherwise exuberant city, think again – Catacombs of Rome are among the city’s most-visited attractions. These are former burial grounds, in use from the second to the fifth centuries, of Christians and Jews that are joined by very long subterranean passageways. They were created due to a lack of burial space in the city and are now among the most intriguing landmarks one can visit in Rome. Excellent guided tours are available to take you through Rome’s famous Capuchin Crypt, infamously also known as the Bone Chapel, and Catacombs of San Sebastiano.

Catacombs of Rome Exclusive After Hours and Bone Chapel Tour

Duration: 2.5 hour

277 reviews

13. Join a night food tour (from USD 107.51)

join a night food tour

For all its cultural prowess, Rome’s food scene is no less exciting! Join one of the famous night food tours offered here and explore some city landmarks like Jewish Ghetto and Campo de Fiori alongside sampling local delights like wine, beer, pasta, pizza, and more. These tours are typically about four hours long and take you through some of the city’s most famed local eateries. Visitors are given a brief introduction and history about various Italian culinary specialities and then treated to some complimentary samples. This tour is also a great way to get in touch with local producers, food artisans, and innkeepers.

Rome: Jewish Ghetto & Campo de Fiori by Night Food Tour

Duration: 4 hour

86 reviews

14. Admire Trevi Fountain's immense beauty

Trevi at Night
Source: Photo by Flickr user Benson Kua used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Tucked in a small piazza and attracting hordes of tourists, Trevi Fountain is easily Rome’s largest and most famous fountain. It was built in 1762 by Italian architect Nicola Salvi and boasts a flamboyant Baroque style, accentuated by craggy rocks, rearing seahorses, and Pietro Bracci’s carved statue of Oceanus being pulled by conch-blowing Tritons as the centrepiece. While a day visit might be good, the fountain’s true theatrics and design are on full display at night, so try visiting around that time. Legends claim that tossing in a coin brings good luck, hence the fountain’s waters see upto a million dollars’ worth of collections, which is all donated to charity.

Trevi Fountain

Address: Piazza di Trevi, 00187 Roma RM, Italy

15. Embark on a driving tour of the city's landmarks (from USD 135.29)

embark on a driving tour of the city's landmarks

If you’re not too comfortable walking around or exploring in groups, there are also private driving tours that you can sign up for. These cover all highlights of the city, like Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, and more. The tour is chaperoned by an English-speaking guide, who provides interesting information about all the sites en route. The tour can take anywhere up to three hours, depending on how long you spend at a particular landmark, followed by a scrumptious Roman dinner.

Rome by Night: Private Driving Tour with Dinner

Duration: 3 hour

It's a different experience to see the Vatican at night and one you shouldn't miss...

This article has listed some amazing options that are available for people to tour the Vatican in a whole new light. Imagine going into an art gallery where the light is focused on the art, bringing the nuances to life. Don’t miss the opportunity to view these masterpieces of the Vatican at night, for a nocturnal sensory experience and, of course, less crowds.

Frequently asked questions about things to do in Vatican City at night

1. Which experiences are best for night tours in Vatican City?

Several interesting experiences can be enjoyed by way of night tours in Vatican City. For the best options, consider touring Vatican Museums or Sistine Chapel at night. You could even explore Necropoli di San Pietro or marvel at the masterpieces in Leonardo da Vinci Exhibition.

2. Which places provide the best night tours in Vatican City for groups?

Many attractions in Vatican City can be seen by means of a night group tour. Those keen on seeing the city’s sights at night in a group can choose from the open tour of Sistine Chapel at night or exploring Necropoli di San Pietro.

3. Which are the best restaurants to try local food near Vatican City?

Trying out the local fare is a must when you travel to a new place. A couple of highly recommended restaurants that serve up delicious local food at reasonable prices are 1) E.G.G - which also includes vegetarian and vegan options and 2) Sfiziarte - The Art of Food - which includes gluten-free items on their menu too.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Darryl Gonsalves is a serial entrepreneur and owns a business intelligence consultancy company and a web content solutions providing company both based in Mumbai, India....Read more

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