This is an excerpt from the Dec 2006/Jan. 2007 Special Report: Rome:
Starting this month, museum goers unaccompanied by tour guides will need to wait an extra hour until 10:00 a.m. to enter the Vatican Museums. Since the museums will close at the same time as in 2006, 1:45 p.m. in the winter and 4:45 p.m. in the summer, independent visitors will have one hour and 15 minutes less to visit the collections of the popes.
Only groups who have reserved at least 30 days in advance through an approved agency can enter the museums between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m.; other groups will have to wait in line with everyone else (one that can get excruciatingly long). The cost of a ticket will also change in 2007, increasing 1 euro, from 12 to 13 euros (or to 15 euros if reserved in advance). For more information, call (39) 06 69884947 or visit www.vatican.va