Vatican Museums to offer visits under the stars

ImageVATICAN CITY — If you are planning a trip to Rome in the early summer or fall, then you may want to take advantage of visiting the Vatican Museums at night.

For the fourth straight year, the museums will be opening its doors to the public every Friday night from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. starting May 4.

The museums’ director, Antonio Paolucci, spearheaded the nighttime initiative in 2009 as a way to give Rome residents a chance to see a part of their heritage and identity.

Because the museumsclose Monday through Saturday at 6 p.m. and at 2 p.m. on the one Sunday a month they are open, local residents who work or go to school find it hard to fight the lines and see the museums.

But there is no reason tourists can’t take advantage of the extended hours, too, to not only avoid the lines but to get a whole different perspective of the museums and its art under the stars.

The museums’ normal schedule is Monday to Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Friday night openings, which must be booked in advance online, will be in effect from May 4 to July 13 and then pick up again Sept. 7 to run until Oct. 26.

Do check out the Vatican Museums’ website to see what special exhibits and initiatives are on offer. They offer a treasure hunt option for kids called the Family Tour.  With an audio guide (in English, Italian or Spanish) and map, families are led on a special itinerary where kids can solve some mysteries, answer riddles and hunt for some of the Vatican’s artistic treasures.

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