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The Complete Vatican Tour With Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica

3208 reviews

3.5 hours

Max 20

Why take this tour?

This comprehensive Vatican tour takes you deep into the Musuems with an expert guide to show you the best of the collection at a relaxed pace. You'll gape at the Sistine Chapel, admire ancient sculptures like the Apollo Belvedere; learn the stories behind the Raphael Rooms; and explore the enormous St. Peter's Basilica. You'll also skip the line at both the Museums & Basilica.

Highlights

  • Created with Sketch.Enter the Vatican Museums before regular public access
  • Created with Sketch.Skip-the-line access at the Vatican Museums
  • Created with Sketch.A comprehensive tour of Rome's most famous art museum
  • Created with Sketch.See the Sistine Chapel, Belvedere Courtyard, Raphael Rooms, St. Peter's Basilica and more

Take a walk through the Palaces of the Pope.

Visiting the Vatican Museums is a huge job. With 4 miles of art and lines that stretch for hours, you could easily lose a day here and still leave feeling like you didn't really see it. Here, more than anywhere in the world, we recommend that you take a guided tour. Besides from benefitting from Skip the Line tickets at both the Vatican Museums entrance and St. Peter's Basilica; you'll get a carefully-planned itinerary and an expert guide, to tell you what exactly you're looking at.

Our Complete Vatican Tour is one of our most popular services worldwide, offering an affordable but comprehensive view of these huge galleries. In 3.5 hours you'll see a king's ransom of religious and secular ...

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Visiting the Vatican Museums is a huge job. With 4 miles of art and lines that stretch for hours, you could easily lose a day here and still leave feeling like you didn't really see it. Here, more than anywhere in the world, we recommend that you take a guided tour. Besides from benefitting from Skip the Line tickets at both the Vatican Museums entrance and St. Peter's Basilica; you'll get a carefully-planned itinerary and an expert guide, to tell you what exactly you're looking at.

Our Complete Vatican Tour is one of our most popular services worldwide, offering an affordable but comprehensive view of these huge galleries. In 3.5 hours you'll see a king's ransom of religious and secular treasures - from the most influential Ancient Greek & Roman sculptures, to incredible medieval tapestries and Renaissance masterpieces (including what is arguably the world's most important artwork).

You'll start in the Vatican Museums where we have carefully traced out an itinerary that takes you past the most famous rooms and treasured artifacts, including the ancient sculpture that inspired Michelangelo's depiction of God in the Sistine Chapel (the Belvedere Torso), the mytical Greek sculpture Laocoön & His Sons, the mind-boggling Gallery of the Maps (so impressive when you consider that cartographers at the time had so little to work with), the Gallery of the Tapestries, and, of course, The Raphael Rooms - considered by many to be every inch as beautiful as the Sistine Chapel.

The highlight of our Complete Vatican Tour is, of course, that same Sistine Chapel, where Michelangelo's towering frescoes threaten to overwhelm most visitors. You, on the otherhand, will have already learned the history behind them from your expert guide and will be able to pick out details that others will miss.

After the Museums you'll take the special, group-only entrance into St. Peter's (no waiting in lines) for a full tour of Christendom's most awe-inspiring basilica. From Bernini's towering baldachin to Michelangelo's pierless Pietá, your guide will give you the inside scoop on the art and architecture that make the church such a wonder, while also telling you the 120-year story of its construction.

With skip the line access, small groups, and some of the best guides in Rome, we don't just show you the Vatican, we explore its most interesting corners, while helping you decode the art, architecture, and history that make it one of the city's top attractions.

Important: Before your tour, please read FAQ questions about dress code & bags at the Vatican Museums. Walks cannot be held responsible for guests denied entry due to improper dress.

  • Sites Visited
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Raphael Rooms
  • Ancient sculptures in the Belvedere Courtyard
  • Gallery of the Candelabra
  • Gallery of the Maps
  • Gallery of the Tapestries
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • St. Peter’s Square
  • Tour Includes
  • Skip the Line Access tickets to the Vatican Museums
  • Skip the Line Access to St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Expert Walks of Italy tour guide
The Raphael Rooms in the Vatican
A guide discusses the Apollo Belvedere in the Vatican
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Verified guest reviews

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Latest Reviews

Luigi obviously loves what he does and is very knowledgeable. He was a very gracious guide. My only suggestion is that it seemed the tour lasted too long. Once it reached three hours, it is too much information to absorb. I love the small group!

Francesco was A-mazing! His love and passion for art were truly inspiring. He brought all of it to life for me. There is so much to see and he made it possible to see many works of art that I would have walked passed if I was not on his tour. I learned an incredible amount of history in our time together. I cannot say enough about how I felt on this tour.


FAQ

I want to take a selfie in the Raphael Rooms, can I bring my selfie stick?
No. Selfie sticks are strictly forbidden inside the Vatican Museums, along with flash photography. However, visitors are allowed to take non-flash photographs anywhere besides the Sistine Chapel.
Why can't I take photos inside the Sistine Chapel?
When the chapel was restored in 1990 the biggest donors to the project (donating a whopping $4.2 million) were a Japanese television network. In return, they recieved exclusive rights to photograph and film inside and quickly banned any professional photographers from taking pictures. Although they didn't mind if tourists took photos, the Vatican guards decided to enforce the rule on everyone because it was impractical to differentiate between a normal visitor and who was a professional photographer. The Japanese network's exclusive contract has expired now but the rule persists. If you try to take any images in the Chapel Vatican, security is authorized to make you delete them.
I'd like to climb to the top of the Dome of St. Peter's. Anything I should know?
The St. Peter's Dome climb requires separate tickets, but there are two ways to do it. If you you pay €7 you can take the elevator up part of the way then climb a further 320 steps. Alternately, you can pay €5 and climb the entire 551 steps. Either way the view from the top is worth it.
IMPORTANT: Can I bring a bag into the Vatican Museums?
Yes, as long as it's within a certain size. You cannot bring any bag, backpack suitcase or container larger that 40cm x 35cm x 15cm into the Vatican Museums. In fact, size limits apply to all items; because of the sheer number of people that visit the Museums, space is at a premium. You can’t enter with medium to large umbrellas, any umbrellas with spiked tips, camera tripods, signage (apart from signs used by certified guides) or walking sticks – except those required by disabled visitors. All of these items can be left in the cloakroom, which is located at the entrance to the Museums. This means that you will need to walk 15 - 20 minutes back here after you finish your tour at St Peter's Basilica. On our afternoon tours you may need to leave the tour early to collect your bag before the cloakroom closes.
What items can I NOT take into the Vatican Museums
Knives, scissors, and other cutting tools must also be deposited in the cloakroom as a precaution against harming the artwork inside. No hammers, either, as one was once used to smash Michelangelo's Pietá. This probably goes without saying, but firearms are also strictly prohibited for visitors within the Vatican Museums and you can't check them in the cloakroom.
Is there a long line to enter St. Peter's Basilica?
On our exclusive tours of St. Peter's we avoid standing in the notoriously long line by showing up early. It’s amazing how few people are able to get out of bed in time to be there when the doors open. Even in the height of summer, you can miss the worst of the line by simply sucking it up and getting an early start. Aside from getting there early there is no way to skip the line. In high season (May – September) it can stretch over 2 hours and even in the low season it might reach an hour. The only other alternative is to take a certified Vatican Museums tour with a certified tour group – there is a passageway that runs from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s that is specially reserved for tour groups. Currently, it is the only way to circumvent the line at the entrance to the Basilica.
I am in a wheelchair/have a mobility impairment. Can I take this tour?
The Vatican Museums are equipped with elevators for wheelchair access, but they are not located on the group tour route. If you have a mobility impairment and/or use wheelchair please contact our customer service department and we will be happy to design a private tour for you. info@walksofitaly.com. We can then work out a suitable alternative.
I've heard the Vatican has a strict dress code. What should I wear?
It does, but it isn't anything too formal. The big rule is to make sure your shoulders and knees are covered - that applies to both men and women. Also remember that shorts of any length are not allowed at all in St. Peter's Basilica so if you are visiting both the Vatican Musuems and the Basilica, wear trousers or a long skirt. Occasionally visitors get away with wearing a bit less but it’s best not to risk it. Hats are also not allowed. Walks cannot be held responsible for guests who are refused entrance due to inappropriate dress so please remember to cover up.
Can I use a wheelchair on this tour?
Yes, but we require advance notice in order to accommodate wheelchairs on this tour. After booking, please contact us so that we can organize a private tour for you. If we cannot find a guide to lead you that day we'll offer you the same tour on the next avaialbe date or give you credit for another tour anywhere else in the world.