Make sure you bring bottled water and a hat. The weather is very changeable in the square. Also, please make sure you're conservatively dressed. Hard to not wear shorts in the summertime, I know. But the guards won't let you in. No tank tops either. No short skirts. The General Audience pre-program starts around 9:30 AM, so get there around 8 AM. That way, you'll get a great seat. Make sure you get an aisle seat, because the Popemobile goes up and down the aisles. It's a looooong line to get through security so try really hard to get there early.
The Vatican dress code applies to all the churches in Rome.
Lunchtime is from 12 PM to 3 PM when most churches are closed. The patriarchal basilicas stay open, however. If you're in reasonable health, try climbing the San Pietro dome. It's worth every step up. The view is simply unforgettable. Then you'll be able to see Papa's crest formed by plants and flowers.
Enjoy. Take lots of pictures!
I don't know what your itinerary is, but I'd avoid going to the Vatican Museum right after the General Audience. It will be swarmed.
thanks for the great tips
we will have 6 munchkins in tow (and one on the way)
but I think we will be recieving graces the whole time
Great advice from Carolina.
EWTN televises this 'pre-recorded' segment on Thursday mornings at 7:20am. I'll be scouring the crowds looking for you and your beautiful brood :-)