A trip to Rome should not be considered complete without a trip to the Vatican.
But while you can wonder around the rest of the city as casual as can be, don’t think that a visit to the Sintine Chapel includes shorts and sandals…regardless of how Jesus may have walked on this earth.
Not only is there a dress code, but it is enforced pretty rigidly as well.
It not only prohibits shorts above the knees, but it restricts the kind of shoes and tops you can wear. The Vatican, even though it welcomes hundreds of thousands visitors annually, is seen as a religious as opposed to a tourist site.
Mini-skirts, tank tops, and sleeveless blouses are not allowed. Neither are sandals. Traditional closed in shoes must be worn instead.
Because the summers are so hot in Rome, many forget these rules exist and are denied entry. Most motorcoach tour guides will warn people as they are boarding about the restrictions, but those who find their way there on their own need to plan ahead.
Carry a change of clothes in a small backpack if you are going to be wandering about before or after.
Remember though that there is a tremendous amount to see in St. Peter’s and the Vatican museum and Sistine Chapel.
You could spend an entire day there and still leave feeling you had seen only a fraction of what there is to discover in the museum alone.
There is always someone monitoring the entrance so it should not be viewed as a challenge to see if you can slip by without being caught.
There is no explanation you can give that will convince them to bypass the rule.
At the same time, it is not as though you have to be dressed for a formal occasion. Jeans are allowed and dress is not monitored for quality, but for flesh coverage.
While not as many people do so, the Catacombs on the edge of Rome are another worthwhile visit that will provide you an additional sense of history in the growth of Christianity during the Roman period.