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What to wear to the Vatican Museums & St Peter’s Basilica

Preparing for your day in the Vatican Museums can be thrilling – but, of course, you’ll want to be prepared! Imagine making your way to the entrance only to be turned away for something like “dress code”. Here are some tips on what to wear on your visit to the Catholic capital.


  • Shoulders and knees must be covered within the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica (applies to both men and women).

Women can wear sleeveless tops throughout the museums, but will be required to cover their shoulders with a scarf or another garment upon entering the Holy spaces. Men, however, must have sleeved shirts.

  • No offensive graphic prints allowed. 

Simple enough, right? Let’s put it this way, if you have any doubts about whether your T-shirt is offensive or inappropriate, think of your grandmother. If she wouldn’t approve, neither will the Vatican guards.

Sphere Within a Sphere

It would obviously be wise to follow the aforementioned guidelines if you plan to actually get in, but what about style-wise? The truth is, thousands of people visit the Vatican every day, some dress up and some keep it casual – that part is up to you! But we can’t stress comfort enough. With hundreds of rooms, corridors, and courtyards to explore, you’ll want to wear your best walking shoes. Sunglasses and hats could come in handy in outdoor areas, and sunscreen is highly advised. While slightly off topic, we also urge you to take a bottle of water and stay hydrated so you can enjoy your experience to the fullest!

We hope this information has been useful for you!

For an ultimate experience, check out our top-quality Vatican Tours and find out why we’re rated #1 on TripAdvisor!

Author: April Nicole

April is an American writer and photographer who has lived in Rome since 2013. She enjoys exploring the museums of the city, as well as indulging in authentic Italian cuisine!

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