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Vatican Highlights Tour: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel

793 reviews

2.5 hours

Max 20

Why take this tour?

This Vatican Museums tour lets you see the highlights without spending all day inside. With our expert guide on hand, you'll explore legendary galleries like the Raphael Rooms & courtyards filled with the most important classical sculptures ever discovered. You'll end up in the Sistine Chapel and from there you can choose to go on to St. Peter's Basilica, or spend more time in the Museums.

Take it easy on our skip the line 2.5 hour Vatican tour.

The size and scope of the Vatican Museums makes them intimidating to even the most hard-core art enthusiasts. That's why we have created a special itinerary designed to show you the absolute highlights of the collection with no waiting in lines.

Not only do you skip the entrance lines, you also enter late in the day, when some of the crowds have gone, making your visit much more peaceful and enjoyable.

As you explore some of the most famous galleries, like the Gallery of the Tapestries, Gallery of the Maps, and Gallery of the Candelabra, your guide will tell you the fascinating stories behind the art, from the humble monk who created ...

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The size and scope of the Vatican Museums makes them intimidating to even the most hard-core art enthusiasts. That's why we have created a special itinerary designed to show you the absolute highlights of the collection with no waiting in lines.

Not only do you skip the entrance lines, you also enter late in the day, when some of the crowds have gone, making your visit much more peaceful and enjoyable.

As you explore some of the most famous galleries, like the Gallery of the Tapestries, Gallery of the Maps, and Gallery of the Candelabra, your guide will tell you the fascinating stories behind the art, from the humble monk who created some of the first maps of Italy, to the wildly moody nature of the great Michelangelo Buonarroti.

In the Belvedere Courtyard you'll get to see some of Antiquity's finest statues, like the Apollo Belvedere and Laocoön & His Sons. As you take in these maserpieces you'll also learn what makes them so special and why, after thousands of years, they're still considered the pinnacle of artistic beauty.

From there you'll head to the Raphael Rooms, where Raphael (with a little help from his students) created one of the most astonishing series of frescos on earth while still in his early 30s.

The only place that can trump the Raphael Rooms is your final guided stop, the one and only Sistine Chapel. Your guide will give you tips about what to look out for before you're inside so that once you're there you can simply take in the immense grandeur of Michelangelo's frescoes in peace.

When you've finished in the chapel you can choose to either take the special, skip the line passage into St. Peter's Basilica for a self-guided visit with an introduction from your guide, or you can head back into the Vatican Museums to spend more time exploring the galleries or looking at your favorite works of art.

  • Sites Visited
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Raphael Rooms
  • Belvedere Courtyard with Ancient Greek & Roman sculptures
  • Gallery of the Candelabra
  • Gallery of the Maps
  • Gallery of the Tapestries
  • St. Peter’s Basilica (optional)
  • Tour Includes
  • Skip the Line Vatican Museums tickets
  • Skip the Line Access to St. Peter’s Basilica (optional)
The Apollo Belvedere
The Gallery of the Maps in the Vatican Musuems
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Latest Reviews

Excellent tour! Michaela was knowledgeable, passionate, and entertaining! Our tour guide's enthusiasm was contagious! Our group ranged from 10 years old to 72 years old & everyone had a good time while learning! Would definitely recommend!


FAQ

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.