Max 12




6.5 hrs*


7:20 am

Get an early start with a 5-star Rome expert as we take you on a 3.5 hour journey through the Vatican Museums with stops at major highlights including the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, St. Peter’s Basilica and more. After parting ways for lunch, reunite with us outside the Colosseum and prepare for another 3 hours of exploration through the Colosseum with the Arena Floor, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

At a Glance Why You'll Love It

  • Enter the Vatican Museums at 8:00 am (a full 1-hour head start before they open to the general public!) to enjoy masterpieces like the Raphael Rooms, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's without budging or being budged. Includes free breakfast at our office!

  • Skip the general admission lines for an in-depth guided tour of the Colosseum, including the coveted Arena Floor, then follow the Sacred Way to the Arch of Constantine, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

  • With a small group of 12 participants or fewer, you’ll have a chance to truly interact with your knowledgeable official guide and get insider tips on how to spend the rest of your time in the Eternal City.

Tour Summary Get in the Know

Dig into the Treasures of the Vatican Museums with a Rome Expert

Meet up bright and early at our cozy What a Life Tours office, located just steps away from the Vatican doors, to get acquainted and enjoy a complimentary Italian breakfast with us! Help yourself to a selection of sweet pastries, fresh fruit, yogurt, hot beverages, and juice while we fuel up for a full day of Rome-themed adventures – starting with the Vatican Museums! Your tour operator will lead you to the Vatican doors before opening hours and provide you with a brief introduction from the outside of its walls – this way, your small group of 12 guests or fewer can waltz in, straight past the lines, as soon as the doors swing open!

Get the best stories and anecdotes from your charismatic guide as he or she quizzes you and encourages interaction on the tour. Our team is comprised of the most experienced and highly rated guides in Rome, so we can confidently guarantee an enlightening experience for you and your loved ones! Discover hidden details and insider secrets as you make your way through the vast collection of the museums in the Gallery of the Maps, Gallery of the Tapestries, and Gallery of the Candelabra. Take a breath of fresh air in the Courtyard of Statues and Pinecone Courtyard. Marvel at ancient gems in the Greek Cross Hall and the Round Room. And, of course, take some time to admire the top Vatican highlights, such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling and the Raphael Rooms.

The Best of the Vatican with the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms & St. Peter’s Basilica

Stand in awe of the finest examples of High Renaissance art in the Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms. Make your way through the four fully frescoed rooms of Raphael Sanzio, examining the intricately painted walls from every angle. Then turn your head upwards to admire Michelangelo’s 16th century Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes, considered to be the pinnacle of all western art, and ponder its symbolic themes. Let your cicerone transport you back in time to paint a bigger picture, where you can discover the relations and rivalries between these contemporaries who realized these, their greatest works, simultaneously. Find out how Michelangelo was forced against his will to complete his ceiling frescos by a persistent pope, and hear stories of Raphael sneaking into the Sistine Chapel and copying his technique.

A Vatican visit simply would not be complete without a thorough look at Rome’s shining gem, St Peter’s Basilica. Experience beauty and grandiosity that it difficult to put into words between the towering marble walls that support St Peter’s iconic dome. Light beams in through windows illuminating enormous walls of mosaic and golden trim that line the church. Marvel at Michelangelo’s iconic sculpture of “La Pietà” and find out why he broke into the church and carved his name across Mary’s sash. Stand at the high altar and get an up close look at Bernini’s stunning bronze Baldachin before making your way to admire his largest contribution to Rome: St Peter’s Square. Stand in the footsteps of saints, martyrs, and pontiffs while you take in the beauty of the colonnades, sculptures, and fountains that adorn the plaza. Then, take a break for lunch and meet back with us at the Colosseum!

Travel Back to Ancient Rome at the Colosseum and Roman Forum

Once you’ve rested and refueled, we’ll regroup at the Colosseum to continue our full day adventure! Let this Ancient Roman amphitheater dazzle and amaze you with its enormous size, rich history, and truly majestic presence as you walk in the footsteps of emperors, senators, and gladiators onto the Arena Floor. Stand in the tiers where more than 55,000 spectators once fled to watch the famous “circuses” and gladiatorial combats while your official guide debunks myths from legends. Get insider knowledge about the Flavian Dynasty and the reason they chose to build the Colosseum on this very spot. Discuss the underground hypogeum, with its advanced trap doors and pulley systems, and the ancient “retractable roof” that once covered the crowds on hot summer days – some of the most remarkable examples of Ancient Roman ingenuity.

End the day amongst the remains of the ancient city center as you venture beyond the Arch of Constantine and through the gates to the Roman Forum. Roam the vast area of the Palatine Hill that was once covered by the Palace of Emperor Domitian, with remnants of heated mosaic floors and courtyards to admire. Stand before the remarkably preserved Arches of Titus and Septimius Severus and the imposing Basilica of Maxentius and Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. Translate the Latin inscription at the Temple of Julius Caesar and find out how the Vestal Virgins lived and tended to the Temple of Vesta. After a full day of enlightenment and exploration, this forum, the very cradle in which Rome began, marks the perfect place for the finale of our epic Roman journey.

What You'll See Along the Way

Please Note*

This tour is organized in two parts with a 2-hour break during which customers will have to reach the afternoon meeting point at the Colosseum metro from the St. Peter's Square.

Increased security measures at the Vatican Museums and Colosseum 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 and Colosseum we are only able to accept persons requiring wheelchairs on our private Vatican tours.

orb icon new

Vatican & Colosseum Combo Reviews

What Our Customers Say...

Overall rating

Mario toured us through the Vatican and the Colosseum and was amazing. He is highly knowledgeable and tailored his tour for his audience perfectly. He was funny and informed and knew how to time everything, highly engaging. We would recommend him for sure!

Excellent tours

We had two tours in one day and both guides Ana and Carlotta were excellent. They had passion for their respective subjects. The timing of the morning tour allowed enough of a break to manage the afternoon tour.

Beyond expectations!

We could not be more pleased - both guides were above and beyond our expectations. When we arrived, we were greeted and promptly fed breakfast & coffee. Everyone was highly organized and very pleasant. We first toured the Vatican with Elaine and then the Colosseum with Vincenzo in the afternoon. Both guides were extremely engaging when giving the tours. They shared such a wealth of knowledge about the Vatican & Colosseum and we left each tour highly satisfied. We highly recommend anyone going to Rome to book a tour with this company. It was very beneficial to wake up early and see the Vatican before the crowds.

Book 2 Best-Sellers & Get 10% Off at Checkout