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The Vatican City is a sovereign state in its own right. You cross the state border from Italy to the Vatican when you visit St. Peter’s Square or the Vatican Museums. All the Vatican Museums, as well as St. Peter’s Basilica’s treasury, the Dome, and the Grottoes, are open to the public. You can see a substantial portion of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica in half a day.
If you’re pressed for time, the best option is to schedule a guided trip that takes you directly from the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s Basilica. This tunnel can only be completed in guided groups. This shortcut will save you several kilometers of walking time. Otherwise, return from the Sistine Chapel to the Vatican Museums exit and then walk around the complex to St. Peter’s Basilica. You’d have to go through the security checkpoint all over again.
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