door to the Scavi Office. The sign says:
Hours 9-17; Closed Sundays and Holidays
The only email for reservations is: firstname.lastname@example.org
best tip for the Scavi Tour is to book early
with an email to the Vatican
Excavations Office. At least 90 days in advance
is recommended. Many requests made less than 30 days
in advance are often not accepted due to the limited
availability. Some dates are booked months in advance. Only about 250 people go through the Scavi
each day in different language groups of about 12. Having
a small group and offering a wider range of days for
the reservation will increase your chances.
The Scavi Office has made a huge effort to streamline their process. They now send you a receipt of your email request right away and then shortly thereafter (with a few days) you will get an answer.
and Where to go?
Shortly before your tour begins, go to the Sant' Uffizio entrance to the left/south side of St Peter's Square. There is a special security station set up there. Bring your confirmation letter from the Office
is it like inside the Scavi?
It's a little claustophobic inside the Scavi. The air is
humid and warm, but the ground is dry. The lighting is dim,
and you walk on uneven ground as you look inside the various
tombs. Some of the objects can only be viewed one at a time.
A person with a physical disability may have some problems.
can I Bring?
You're not supposed to bring any cameras, recording devices,
or large objects. Purses and small handbags are permitted.
It you need to check items beforehand, you must do this
at the free baggage check on the right side of St Peter's,
which requires going through security.
are the Age Limits?
The Vatican website says that only persons over 15 years
old are admitted.
do I Wear?
Dress appropriately for a religious site; sholders covered,
no shorts. Comfortable shoes are recommended since the ground
times are the tours?
Tours run continually from 9:00AM until 4:15PM, Monday -
Saturday. The tours last about one hour.
does the tour end?
The Scavi website states that the tour ends back at the
Excavations Office. The tour is actually finished when you
enter the Clementine Chapel in the grottoes. Your guide
might allow you to then visit the grottoes (tomb of the popes).
can I find more Information?
The Vatican website now has a virtual tour of the Necropolis at: http://www.vatican.va/various/basiliche/necropoli/scavi_english.html
If you want to purchase information, the Vatican bookstore
offers a magazine titled, 'Roma Sacra - The Vatican Necropolis'.
More detailed info can be found in the online
An online article to read is: The
Scavi of St. Peter's and the Grittiness of Catholicism
by George Weigel.