Anyone who has been to Italy has likely been to the Vatican Museum and waited in line like I have to get inside. Ansa, the Italian news agency reports that for the first time, the Vatican Museum has had over five million visitors in 2011. This is a record number and is more than any other tourist attraction in Italy. Recent reports however have estimated tourists to the Colosseum to be between 3.9 million and six million a year so there is some discrepancy here in the reporting.
The Uffizi Museum is second and supposedly attracted one and half million this past year. So it is not an optical illusion that there are long lines at the Vatican Museum, but well worth the wait especially for first-time visitors. One thing is to know that visiting the Vatican is an all day event, which is why I have only been to the Museum once but have visited St Peter’s several times.
It was definitely worth the wait. I visited right after Pope John Paul II died, so it was really interesting to visit during the period and watch the smoke while they were deciding who would be the next Pope!
A friend of mine was in Italy five years ago and has not stopped talking about the Vatican treasures yet. I am sure that after nearly 2000 years they have accrued magnificent pieces. I can certainly understand how they had so many visitors in recent years.