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

4211 reviews

3.5 hours

Max 20

Why take this tour?

This comprehensive tour takes you deep into the Vatican Museums with an expert licensed guide to reveal the best of the museum's collections at a relaxed pace. Admire the Sistine Chapel, an innumerable amount of ancient sculpture such as the Apollo Belvedere and the Laocoön, illuminate stories tucked into the Raphael Rooms, and marvel underneath the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. Enjoy skip-the-line entrance into both the museums and the basilica.

Highlights

  • Created with Sketch.Skip the line at the Vatican Museums with pre-reserved group entrance tickets, saving hours of waiting
  • Created with Sketch.Visit the three most essential areas of Vatican City - the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica
  • Created with Sketch.Enjoy a specially designed route highlighting all the works you wanted to see and a few surprises you won’t expect
  • Created with Sketch.Stand in utter awe under Michelangelo’s celing in the Sistine Chapel and learn the incredible stories behind its frescos
  • Created with Sketch.Skip the line into St. Peter’s Basilica for a full guided tour including Bernini’s incomparable altar and Michelangelo’s "Pietà"
  • Created with Sketch.With only 20 people (or fewer), a comfortable headset and an expert guide, your experience will be intimate and surpass your expectations

Health & Safety Standards

At Walks we take your health and the health of our community seriously. To accomplish this, we have set a series of standards that will be implemented across every tour;

  • Walks has been certified by SanseeShield.com
  • Walks Guides have received health & safety training, are self-monitoring temperatures daily, and trained in group social distancing practices
  • We ask our guides and guests to wash their hands regularly and carry hand sanitzier
  • Our guides and guests are required to wear masks in accordance with the local government regulations
  • If headsets are needed, they are disinfected at the beginning and end of your experience
  • All Walks tours are always small groups to give you the maximum comfort and safety

Take a walk through the Palaces of the Pope

From August 6th, all Italy sites we visit will require clients and guides alike to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test completed within 48 hours prior to entry. They will also require a legal form of ID matching the vaccination or test results. This does not apply to children under 12. You can read more about it here.

Note: As of July the corridor between St Peter’s Basilica & the Sistine Chapel is still closed to the public due to Covid restrictions. Our guides will do their best to include the Basilica but circumstances on the day and the distance between the two sites without this access, may mean ...

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From August 6th, all Italy sites we visit will require clients and guides alike to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test completed within 48 hours prior to entry. They will also require a legal form of ID matching the vaccination or test results. This does not apply to children under 12. You can read more about it here.

Note: As of July the corridor between St Peter’s Basilica & the Sistine Chapel is still closed to the public due to Covid restrictions. Our guides will do their best to include the Basilica but circumstances on the day and the distance between the two sites without this access, may mean this is not always possible. In the case that there is no time for an interior visit, your guide will give you a full introduction to the Basilica from outside, so you know what to look for during your independent visit.

A visit to the Vatican Museums is often a once-in-a-lifetime experience. With over four miles of galleries filled with works of art, masterpieces, and treasures coupled with entrance lines that stretch for hours, you can easily fall victim to ill-prepared plans. Not with us!

On our Complete Vatican tour, you'll experience Vatican City in the company of an expert licensed Vatican guide. One of our most popular itineraries this tour hits the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica all in one incredibly planned itinerary. (Trust us, we thought of everything!) With your guide and a small group, you'll be armed with an encyclopedia of knowledge.

You'll start in the Vatican Museums where we have carefully traced out an itinerary taking you past the most famed artifacts, including the ancient sculpture that inspired Michelangelo's depiction of God in the Sistine Chapel, the Belvedere Torso, the mythical Greek sculpture Laocoön & His Sons, the mind-boggling Gallery of the Maps, the Gallery of the Tapestries, and, of course, the Stanze di Raffaello - the rooms painted by Master artist Raphael - considered by many to be every inch as beautiful as the Sistine Chapel.

The highlight is, of course, the Sistine Chapel where Michelangelo's towering frescoes threaten to overwhelm most visitors. You, on the other hand, will have already learned the purpose, dedication, and history behind the Chapel from your expert guide and will be able to pick out details others will miss.

As you depart the Sistine Chapel, 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 peerless Pietá, your guide will reveal all the intricate details that make the church such a wonder, while also telling you the 120-year story of its construction.

With skip-the-line access, a small group, and the best, licensed 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 world's top attractions.

  • Sites Visited
  • Vatican Museums (brief walk through)
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Raphael Rooms
  • Belvedere Courtyard with Apollo Belvedere & Laocoön & His Sons
  • Pinecone Courtyard
  • Gallery of the Candelabra
  • Gallery of the Maps
  • Gallery of the Tapestries
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • St. Peter’s Square
  • Tour Includes
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Skip-the-line ticket for Vatican Museums
  • Skip-the-line access into St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Headset
A small group of tourists explores the Vatican Museums.
The Raphael Rooms in the Vatican
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Verified guest reviews

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Latest Reviews

We were lucky that we ended up on a private tour with Dario. His quirky and bright character gave colour to what would otherwise be a long list of facts in a huge museum. We were able to ask questions and get honest insights.

Stefanie was perfect. Extremely knowledgeable, articulate, and clearly very passionate about what she does. Thank you for the great tour!


FAQ

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.
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, one allows you to take the elevator up part of the way then climb a further 320 steps, while another permits you to climb the entire 551 steps. Either way the view from the top is worth it!
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.
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.
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.
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'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.
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.

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