Embassy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the Holy See (Vatican)
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Visiting the Vatican

The Holy See Visiting the Vatican

                                                                                                     1.  PAPAL GENERAL AUDIENCES
                                                                                 2.  ST. PETER’S BASILICA
                                                                                 3.  VISIT TO THE VATICAN MUSEUMS
                                                                                 4.  VISIT TO THE DOME
                                                                                 5.  THE “SCAVI”
                                                                                 6.  VISIT TO THE VATICAN GARDENS
                                                                                 7.  OFFICE FOR PILGRIMS AND TOURISTS
                                                                                 8.  THE VATICAN LIBRARY AND SECRET ARCHIVES
                                                                                 9.  GETTING MARRIED IN THE VATICAN
                                                                               10.  WRITING TO HIS HOLINESS
                                                                               11.  PAPAL BLESSINGS
                                                                               12.  USEFUL INFORMATION
                                                                               13. PHOTO GALLERY


                                                                                                      2.  ST. PETER’S BASILICA
                                                                                                      3.  VISIT TO THE VATICAN MUSEUMS
                                                                                                      4.  VISIT TO THE DOME
                                                                                                      5.  THE “SCAVI”
                                                                                                      6.  VISIT TO THE VATICAN GARDENS
                                                                                                      7.  OFFICE FOR PILGRIMS AND TOURISTS
                                                                                                      8.  THE VATICAN LIBRARY AND SECRET ARCHIVES
                                                                                                      9.  GETTING MARRIED IN THE VATICAN
                                                                                                    10.  WRITING TO HIS HOLINESS
                                                                                                    11.  PAPAL BLESSINGS
                                                                                                    12.  USEFUL INFORMATION
                                                                                                    13. PHOTO GALLERY
General audiences are usually held in the open at St. Peter’s square or in the Paul VI Hall (i.e., Aula Nervi), but in the summer period, they may also be held at Castel Gandolfo (the Pope’s Holiday Residence only 40 minutes outside Rome by car). For attending the General Audience on Wednesday morning or other papal ceremonies, tickets are requested – always free of charge. Tickets are issued by the Prefecture of the Papal Household and can be reached by way of the Bronze Door (Prefettura della Casa Pontificia, Palazzo Apostolico, 00120 Vatican City State).
The aforesaid office is open on Monday from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm, and on Tuesday from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm. To request for a ticket, call the following numbers: +39.06.6988.4631 or +39.06.6988.3114; fax. +39.06.6988.5863.
It is always possible to attend the Sunday Angelus, held at noon at St. Peter’s Square. As earlier mentioned, if the Pope is available at his Holiday Residence during the summer, he says the Angelus from his study window at Castel Gandolfo. However, the space in the courtyard can accommodate very few people.
Private audiences with the Pope are restricted to Heads of State, Heads of Government only. The Pope does not entertain audiences on Sundays. There are also no private audiences on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Basilica is open every day from 7.00 am to 7.00 pm, April to September and from 7.00 am to 6.00 pm, October to March.
In order to preserve the sanctity of the church, groups of tourists (usually more than 5 people) accompanied by a guide are requested to use audio-guides. These are to be rented at the entry of the Basilica (visit the Vatican website for more information or call the following numbers to rent the audio-guides: +39.06.6988.3229 or +39.06.6988.1898). Moreover, you are requested to dress properly in order to be admitted to the Basilica.
At the Vatican Museums website there is an opportunity to choose a special tour of the Museums and the Basilica called the “Art and Faith Itinerary”.
Mass times: For an exact up-to-date schedule, look at the Vatican’s F.A.Q.
Information related to the Holy Father’s Masses and how to get tickets could be gotten at the website for the Prefecture of the Papal Household (http://www.vatican.va/various/prefettura/index_it.html). You may find other tour options of St. Peter’s Basilica at the site.
Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica (generally all masses are in Italian, unless stated otherwise):
Daily Masses
- 8:30 a.m. Chapel of the Holy Sacrament (followed by Eucharistic Adoration until the 4:45 p.m. Benediction)
- 9:00, 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and noon Altar of St Joseph (left transept)
- 5:00 p.m. Altar of the Chair
Sunday Masses
- 9:00 a.m. Altar of the Chair
10:30 a.m. Altar of the Chair (in Latin)
- 11:30 a.m. Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament
- 12:15 p.m. Altar of the Chair
- 1:00 p.m. Altar of St. Joseph
- 4:00 p.m. Altar of the Chair
- 5:45 p.m. Altar of the Chair
The Vatican Museums play host to several priceless works of art including the “Raphael Rooms”, many galleries of sculpture, tapestries and frescos, among others. They also host the famous “Sistine Chapel”, one of the most known tourist attractions in the world.  
They are located at Viale Vaticano, the street that goes through the right-hand side of the Vatican City Wall while one is facing St. Peter’s Basilica.
The Vatican Museums are open weekdays from 10.00 hours to 13.45 hours during November - February  (except during the Christmas period when they are open from 8.45 am to 4.45 pm). During March - October the Museums are open Monday - Friday from 10.00 am to 4.45 pm and Saturdays from 10.00 am to 2.45 pm.
The Vatican Museums are closed on Sundays, except the last Sunday of each month when the Museums can be visited free of charge from 9.00 am to 1.45 pm. Entrance to the Museums is not possible from 75 minutes before closing time. For more information: telephone +39.06.6988.3860  fax +39.06.6988.5433.
To arrange bookings for guided tours:e-mail: visiteguidate.musei@scv.va ; tel. +39.06.698.84676 (for individuals); tel. +39.06.69883145 (for groups); fax +39.06.69883578. No reservation required.
Entrance fee: 16 euros per person for full priced-tickets; 8 euros per person for tickets at reduced-price, 4 euros per person for students (visit the official website for more information on ticket prices).  For disabled people wheelchairs can be made available on request free of charge. Audio guides are available at 7 euros. Group tours with an official Vatican tour guide can be organized on the official Vatican Museums website (http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Home.html, other options are also available here.
For contacts, please call +(39) 06.6988.3860.
Visits to the dome of St. Peter’s are possible every day from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm, April to September and from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, October to March. The entrance is at the Portico of the Basilica.
The “Scavi” are the excavations of the underground necropolis under St. Peter’s Basilica. Special request reservations are made in advance to see them, through fax to the Excavation Office at +(39) 06.6987.3017, an e-mail to scavi@fsp.va, or by phone at +(39)06.6988.5318. Tickets are 12 euros per person and include a guided tour. In view of the numerous visitors to the site daily, the Vatican allows only a very limited number of people. You are therefore advised to make your reservations in advance in order to get a space for a tour.  Visitors must be over the age of 15.  Groups of 12 will be formed according to languages spoken.
Ticket Office opening: Mon-Fri 9:00 am – 6:00 pm ; Sat. 9:00 am - 5:00 pm; Closed Sundays and Vatican holidays.
Please note that the last tour begins at 3.30 pm (4.15 pm from April - Sep.) and lasts for about 1 1/2 hours.
For more detailed information, please visit the official Vatican Scavi website.
HISTORICAL AND ARTISTIC MUSEUM (Treasury): the Treasury is open from 9.00 am to 6.15 pm, April to September and from 9.00 am to 5.15 pm, October to March.
VATICAN GROTTOES: The Vatican Grottoes are open every day from 7.00 am to 6.00 pm, April to September and from 7.00 am to 5.00 pm, October to March. The entrance is at the transept of St. Peter’s Basilica.
VISIT TO THE TOMB OF ST. PETER AND THE PRE-CONSTANTINIAN NECROPOLIS: For visits to the tomb of St. Peter and the necropolis, please contact always the Ufficio Scavi (excavations office): tel. + 39.06.6988.5318; fax + 39.06.6987.3017; e-mail: scavi@fsp.va . The office is open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday and reached by way of the Arch of the Bells.
The Vatican Gardens have been a place of quiet and meditation for the Popes since 1279 when Nicholas III (Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, 1277-1280) moved his residence back to the Vatican from the Lateran Palace. Within the new walls, which he had built to protect his residence, he planted an orchard (pomerium), a lawn (pratellum) and a garden (viridarium). The event is recorded among other places on a stone plaque that can be viewed in the “Sala dei Capitani” of the “Palazzo dei Conservatori” on Rome’s Capitoline Hill. Created around the hill of Saint Egidio (where the “Palazzetto del Belvedere” is located today) and the courtyards of the Vatican Museums, this was to be the first garden in the Vatican. However, visiting the Vatican Gardens today, you would begin by viewing a totally different area from that first orchard, one is located in a more recent addition to what is now Vatican City State. It is there that larger and more recent gardens have been planted, covering together with the original garden about half of the 44 hectares of Vatican City.
The Vatican Gardens can be visited only through guided tours organized by the Guided Tours Office of the Vatican Museums. Tours depart from the Vatican Museums. Entrance to the Gardens is denied to persons not properly dressed. For information: telephone +39.06.69884676 (individuals) or +39.06.69883145 (groups). Bookings can be arranged by fax +39.06.69885100 or by e-mail: visiteguidate.musei@scv.va .
Contacts: tel. + 39.06.6988.2350,  Fax: + 39.06.6988.1694;  e-mail: upt@scv.va
The Vatican Apostolic Library is located inside the Vatican Palace and is entered via the Belvedere Courtyard. Pope Nicholas V (1447-1455) is credited with having founded the library but Pope Paul III appointed the first Cardinal librarian a century later, in 1548. Enriched by important donations, bequests and acquisitions under the pontificates of Leo XIII and Pius XI, the Library contains an enormous amount of books, manuscripts, incunabula and prints. It also runs the Vatican School of Library Science.
Researchers and students wishing to undertake research projects may apply to the Library and/or Archives. Further details are available at the following website: http://www.vaticanlibrary.va/home.php?pag=regolamento.
The Archivio Segreto Vaticano pursues a specific activity aimed at preserving and enhancing the deeds and documents related to the government of the Universal Church. It primarily serves the Roman Pontiff and the Holy See and secondly offers its services to scholars of all faiths from all nations.
The current name, the « Archivio Segreto Vaticano » has been documented as from the mid 17th century, when, like today, it was given to the Pope’s private (secretum) archives over which he exercised supreme and sole jurisdiction.
The documentary heritage housed in its vast storerooms spans about twelve centuries (8th to 20th centuries). It consists of over 600 archival funds and is stored on over 85 linear kilometers of shelving, some of which are in the Bunker, a two-store underground vault below the Cortile della Pigna of the Vatican Museums.
After Pope Leo XIII opened the doors of the Archivio Segreto Vaticano to scholars back in 1881, it has become one of the most famous history research centers in the world.
In accordance with a practice established in 1924, the Pope grants free access to the documents «grouped into pontificates» currently running up to the end of the Papacy of Pope Pius XI (February 1939). Nevertheless, Paul VI departed from this practice and granted scholars access to the Archives of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) after the Council came to a close in 1965. Lastly, Pope John Paul II granted access to the fond Ufficio Informazioni Vaticano, Prigionieri di Guerra (Prisoners of War) (1939-1947).
Contacts: Archivio Segreto Vaticano,
Cortile del Belvedere - 00120 Città del Vaticano
tel +39.06.6988.3314, +39.06.6988.3211; fax +39.06.6988.5574
email asv@asv.va
The Reception Counter of the Archivio Segreto Vaticano is open:
- Mondays - Fridays
- Mornings 8.30 am to 1.00 pm
- Afternoons 3.00 am to 5.45 pm
Saturdays and days before holidays:
- Mornings only 8.30 am to 1.00 pm
Many Nigerian Catholics could be interested in being married at St. Peter's Basilica. If you can make contact with a Nigerian priest that lives in Rome, he can make all the arrangements needed for you. Couples can begin the processes in not more than six months and not less than four months before the intended wedding date. Apart from wedding at the Vatican City, if you are interested in getting married in Rome, please visit the Embassy of Nigeria to the Holy See at its website for information about requirements and other consular-related issues.

If you wish to write to the Pope, on any issue of concern to you, do it at the following address:
His Holiness, Pope Francis
      Apostolic Palace
      00120 Vatican City  
For other Vatican officials the address is as follows:
Archbishop HE Msgr. Claudio Maria CELLI (adding Name and Surname of the person occupying the post at that moment)
      President, Pontifical Council for Social Communications
      00120 Vatican City
Information about Applying for Papal Blessing Parchments
1. Directly from the Office in Vatican City
     The Office of Papal Charities within Vatican City can be visited by entering the Saint Ann Gate (located to the right of the colonnade of               Saint Peter’s Square) during office hours: 9.00 to 12.00 noon, Monday to Saturday.
2. By letter or fax
Requests for Papal Blessings on parchment can be sent to the Elemosineria Apostolica - Office of Papal Charities only by regular post or by fax (but not by e-mail)
The request should include:
 The name, surname and address of the person making the request;
 The name and surname of the person(s) for whom the blessing is being requested;
 The reason or occasion prompting the request;
 The date, the name of the Church and the address are required when the blessing is requested for the celebration of a sacrament, a    religious profession or an   anniversary;
The address to which the parchment is to be mailed together with the payment (for the cost of preparing and mailing the parchment    min a tube or stiff  envelope);
 For some specific occasions (nr. 3.), a nihil obstat is required from the parish priest or other ecclesiastical authority, duly signed and sealed either at the bottom of the letter of request or in the box of the module which can be downloaded below; the nihil obstat is a written declaration that the persons receiving the papal blessing are practicing Catholics.
The offering should be sent, only upon receiving the parchment, in Dollars or Euros using Bank Trasfer with the bank details included in the blessing set or by Euro check to the order: Elemosineria Apostolica – Città del Vaticano. The cost is approximately 25-40 Euro, depending on the model chosen by the Office for the particular occasion.
The time required for receiving the parchment is approximately one or two months from the date when the request is received.
Requests made by telephone are not accepted.
3. Circumstances for which parchment papal blessings are granted
      The Apostolic Blessing is granted for the following occasions:
             1. Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation  
             2.  Marriage
             3.  Priestly Ordination / First Holy Mass
             4.  Religious Profession
             5.  Secular Consecration
             6. Ordinations of Permanent Deacons
             7.  Marriage Anniversaries (10, 25, 40, 50 , 60 years)*, Priestly Ordination, Religious Profession
             8. Birthdays (18, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100)*
            9.  Catholic individuals or families (with name and surname of the spouses united in a religious marriage).
The asterisk (*) indicates the need for the nihil obstat or approval of ecclesiastical authority.
Requests for papal blessings for other occasions will not be accepted.
Postal Address:  Elemosineria Apostolica
Parchment Office
00120 Vatican City
    Telephone:  (+39) 06.69873279 - (+39) 06.69871100
(office hours: 8.30 am – 1.30 pm
[UTC+1 : CET - Central European Time])
               Telefax:  (+39) 06.69883132
(24 hours)

There are other useful websites for planning a visit to the Vatican, such as:

For news and other information about the Pope and the Holy See (external web pages):

For Nigerians Traveling to Vatican City State
Attending Papal Events:
Tickets are required for everyone attending a mass at St. Peter’s or a General Audience.  These are often difficult to obtain because the Vatican Office that issues tickets gets requests from all over the world. Please forward your request on time either directly through the address below or through our Mission to the Holy See.
Tickets to the General Audience are free of charge and available via the Prefecture of the Papal Household’s website or by faxing requests to:
Prefettura della Casa Pontificia,
Palazzo Apostolico,
00120 Vatican City State
Fax Number: +(39) 06.6988.5863

Appropriate Dress:
As a religious institution, proper dressing is required for all events at the Vatican. Do not wear shorts, short skirts or sleeveless shirts when entering St. Peter’s Basilica or when attending a Papal event in St. Peter’s Square.
Museums and Tourism:
For general information on the Vatican museum, visit their website.
For ticket information on the Scavi visit the Excavation Office’s website.

Journalist Accreditation:
Journalists coming from Nigeria who wish to report Vatican events will need to be accredited to the Holy See Press Office. Full details and application may be found here: http://www.mediaaccreditation.va/
     Contacts: Copyright Photographic Service L'Osservatore Romano
     Tel. +39/0669884797 Fax.+39/0669884998
     www.photo.va - email: photo@ossrom.va
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