At a Glance Why You'll Love It
Tour Summary Get in the Know
An In-Depth Look at the Vatican Beyond the Facts
Though small in size, Vatican City is impressively big on sights, boasting both the world’s largest Christian church, as well as one of the finest art collections on the planet. And with a past as compelling as it is long – it’s a dream land for the history buff and culture vulture alike. On this Vatican VIP tour we’ll piece together the complex puzzle which makes up the Vatican’s millennia long existence and get you acquainted with some of the larger-than-life popes, artists and martyrs that made this fascinating holy country what it is today.
We are able to grant fast-track entry to the Vatican Museums, which gives us more time to enjoy what's inside. So while other groups blaze through the Vatican galleries and head straight for the Sistine Chapel, we’ll take the scenic route and savor the world-class art on display. Among the multitude of masterpieces adorning the Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica, we’ll lead you on a carefully planned route to only the most curious and jaw-dropping attractions. From cornerstone classics to tucked away gems most visitors never notice – this afternoon stroll is an in-depth exploration of the best the Vatican has to offer.
Feast Your Eyes on Works of Art & Ears on the Guide
We have a dynamic team of only the most passionate, fun and engaging guides in the business, and though we may be biased, thousands of 5-star reviews from our customers certainly are not. From power-hungry popes to bad-humored artists (and all the enthralling drama between them), our animated raconteurs will spell-bind you with stories that make the museums and its treasures come to life right before your eyes. With a group size limited to 12 guests or fewer, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to pick your guide’s brain with your piqued curiosity.
As you explore all the nooks and crannies of the Papal Palaces, new surprises will be revealed at every turn. See the vivid frescoes in the Raphael Rooms, trace the amazingly accurate 16th century renderings of Italy in the Gallery of Maps, and be astonished by optical illusions in the Gallery of Tapestries. Of course, the main attraction remains the Sistine Chapel, with its iconic 'Creation of Adam' centerpiece and 'Last Judgment'. Get the inside scoop on the years of literally backbreaking work it took Michelangelo to transform this once blandly-decorated vault into the magnificent showpiece it is today.
Explore St. Peter’s Basilica Independently & Line-Free
Breezing into St. Peter’s Basilica through a special ‘groups only’ backdoor, you won’t even see the queue snaking around the square outside. Due to Vatican regulations, touring is not allowed inside the Basilica itself after 4:30 pm but your guide will provide you with a thorough orientation of its highlights before parting ways so that you can explore this enchanting superstructure on your own. Adorned from top to bottom with intricate mosaics, massive marble sculptures, and hundreds of gilded ornaments – you’re sure to realize that we have saved the best for last.
Unsurprisingly, it took some 120 years to create the incredible basilica and a number of the most esteemed Renaissance artists have left their own illustrious marks on the church along the way. Bramante made the first draft of its layout, Bernini chipped in with his gargantuan bronze Baldachin over the main altar and Michelangelo wrapped everything up – crowning the sanctuary with his massive, 138-feet wide dome. Most impressive of all, however, is yet another of Michelangelo's masterpieces – the Pietà. With all of these astounding works in one place, you’re sure to leave with a newfound appreciation for all that the Vatican has to offer.
What You'll See Along the Way
When entering the Vatican Museums, one of the first vistas the visitors come across is the stupendous “Cortile della Pigna”. The court was designed by Renaissance genius Bramante and its architecture became a model for garden design in Western Europe for centuries to follow. This grass covered patio is the perfect place to escape the buzzing galleries for a moment and soak up the magnificent view of St. Peter’s dome, which appears to be only a stone's throw away. The courtyard also serves as a mini-museum, boasting both antique sculptures and a highly contemporary piece in the form of a cracked metallic globe.
Vatican Afternoon Tour Reviews
What our customers say...
Our tour guide Ana was so knowledgeable and such a lovely lady too. We were very lucky in that my sister and I were the only 2 on our tour and to by-pass the queues waiting to get tickets made it even better!! Ana explained so much and was very patient with allowing us to take photos. I would thoroughly recommend using 'What a Life Tours' for your visit to The Vatican Museums and St Peters Basilica
The Vatican City is the most beautiful city on earth. Mario made the city come to life, made our group think and wonder. My wife and I were blown away by the solitude we experienced in the Sistine Chapel and Raphael rooms. If you haven’t felt this magical place without the crowds while hearing the fantastic story of the artists and papacy, you’re missing the opportunity of a lifetime. Great perspective! Thanks, Mario!
The perfect tour of the Vatican. Reliable and perfectly located for the Vatican meeting spot. Well organized and would use again.
Myself & my wife had a great tour of the Vatican with Elaine from 'What a life tours'. Elaine made it informal and fun but we also got to learn a lot from our few hours walking with her. I would highly recommend using the guys as there's just too much to see and it really helps when someone who knows their way round is there to guide you. Thanks Elain
What a Life Tours made the booking process easy. Finding their office and going through the logistics of entering the Vatican was strife-free due to their experienced guide. Mario was delightful and knowledgeable. He shared a huge amount of information through the tour and was very affable. I highly recommend!
Increased security measures at the Vatican Museums may cause some lines to form for tours with skip the line entry. Customers will still enter with priority over general admission ticket holders.
A dress code is enforced at some sites on this tour, namely the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. Please make sure that both your shoulders and knees are covered.
Due to venue restrictions at the Vatican Museums we are only able to accept persons requiring wheelchairs on our private Vatican tours.
The Bramante Staircase is not included on this tour.