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...
What a memorable experience! Elaine our guide was amazing and unique. Thanks to Elaine our vision and perception was so much clearer and the story understandable.... Thanks Elaine and thanks What a life Tours for this opportunity!
Had a great day, only 4 of us with our guide Jad, he was very good and knowledgeable. He knew details of the history and the artefacts etc, very impressive. Can recommend this, by booking this you get a priority entrance so the queuing is minimal. As well as the Sistine Chapel, St Peters Basilica is stunning take your time and enjoy.
Our guide was fantastic. He was passionate about the art, knowledgeable, and funny. I have a Master’s in Art History with a concentration in Italian Renaissance and I still learned a lot!
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.