From Paul Robichaud's blog entry:

How difficult is it to use the Vatican Archives? Have you had an experience that you would like to tell our readership about? How does one get inside the Vatican? Our ACHA blog would like to examine this question.

I lived in Rome for several years and during that period of time had occasion to use the archives at the Congregation for the Evangelization of the People and the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. I have rarely used the main archive located in the heart of Vatican City. I remember being stopped at the Santa Anna gate and being provided with a gate pass, once I had established my identity and purpose.

Using the Vatican Archives raises a series of questions. What kind of permission or letters of recommendation does a scholar need to gain access? How do you request materials once you are there? What can you bring or not bring with you? What about reproducing copies of material? Are there any suggestions of places to stay for a week or several weeks while one is working at the archives? What about being an English speaker with very little fluency in Italian, does this handicap a researcher?