Here's an excerpt:
E.J: For someone who has never been to the Sistine Chapel, when would you say is the best time to visit? What season, time of the day etc.?
A.N: Personally, I avoid Italy in the summer unless my goal is to just lie on the beach. That’s not to say that it isn’t lovely year round. It is! But, the rest of the world descends on Italy in the summer - particularly on Rome. I don’t like crowds or lines or paying high prices. And if I don’t have to travel during high season, I don’t.
The best time to travel: late October, November, January, and February. There aren’t any lines. The weather is cool, but comfortable. The tourists have all gone home, and you can walk through a museum at leisure.
Now, going to see the Sistine Chapel… to see the Chapel, you must go to the Vatican Museums. In July the line to enter the Museums can be up to a mile long. It is quite incredible. If you do go in the summer, get up early and be in line before 7 am. Bring some snacks and a book to read (might I suggest A Journey into Michelangelo’s Rome) while you wait. Truly, I have met some great people in line for the museum, too. Be friendly! People are generally convivial, and there’s a “we’re all in this together” spirit.
If you are not traveling during high season, it isn’t as important to get in line that early. And at some times of the year you can walk in to the museums without much of a wait at all.
Here’s what you should know: the Museums have two doors - one for groups and one for individuals. The ticket brokers who promise that you won’t have to wait in line for the Museums aren’t entirely truthful. Some send other people to stand in line for you - or to cut the line, which really makes people behind you angry. Others are selling tickets to join a larger group for a tour. The groups generally skip most of the museum and make their way straight to the Sistine Chapel. And, buyer beware: there are a few who take your money and run.
For my money I suggest standing in line for a while and entering as an individual. Go in November with a good friend, and take a book along to read while you wait. Trust me: it is worth it!
Read the entire Blissful Travel interview here!