Skip the Line Vatican Tour with Sistine Chapel & St Peter's Basilica

Skip the Line Morning or Afternoon Vatican Tour

Visit the Vatican’s best highlights (and some of its hidden gems) with a friendly and knowledgeable art history expert. With multiple start times, take this Vatican tour in the morning or afternoon.

Active

This is a walking tour and involves occasional walking up & down stairs.

3 h
max 18
from 91 reviews
1 Skip the Line Vatican Tickets
2 Pinecone Courtyard
3 Pio-Clementino Museum
4 Laocoön and His Sons
5 Nero's Bath
6 Gallery of the Candelabra
7 Gallery of the Tapestries
8 Gallery of Maps
9 Raphael Rooms
10 Borgia Apartments
11 Sistine Chapel Tour
12 St. Peter's Basilica
13 Baldacchino by Bernini
14 La Pietà by Michelangelo
15 St. Peter's Square

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Pre-Opening Entrance
Sistine Chapel
St. Peter's Basilica
Primary Galleries
Raphael Rooms
Borgia Apartments
Pio Clementino
Visit the Vatican’s best highlights (and some of its hidden gems) with a friendly knowledgeable art history expert. With multiple start times, skip the regular entrance line* and take this Vatican tour in the morning or afternoon. Like all of our Rome tours, this experience is led by a friendly, English-speaking guide. If you’d rather wake up early, enter a full hour before the general public and experience a quieter Sistine Chapel with our Privileged Entrance Vatican Tour and 7:30 a.m. Vatican Highlights Tour. This 3-hour tour includes the following:
 
  • - A local English-speaking professional guide
  • Skip the line Vatican tickets
  • - A guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica
  • - Both morning and afternoon start times
  • - A Maximum Group Size of 18

*Short delays at the security check may occur during the busiest months, June and July. We do, however, have a team of experts at the Vatican every morning to help our groups avoid delays as much as possible. 

Important! If you wish to stay in the Vatican Museums toward the end of your tour, you must forgo the guided visit of St. Peter’s Basilica. If you choose to do this, you’ll lose the chance to use the special entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica from the Sistine Chapel and skip the lines with your guide. If you decide to leave the tour early, remember to return your headset to the tour guide. 

Nero's Bath and Octagonal Courtyard 

Visit the Pio-Clementino Museum, home to the Apollo Belvedere, the Belvedere Torso and Laocoön and His Sons. Learn about the myths and legends associated with these iconic statues before visiting a 25-ft red marble bathtub. Believed to have belonged to Emperor Nero, this massive tub is made from a red marble so rare and precious that it cannot be recreated.

Highlights of the Vatican

Explore the Gallery of the Tapestries, the Gallery of the Candelabra, and our personal favorite, the Gallery of the Maps. Based on painted topographical maps of Italy by Ignazio Danti, a Dominican Italian friar, the Gallery of Maps is both beautiful and informative. The painted frescoes reveal the Renaissance Italian view of the geography of the land during the time period. Predating a unified Italy by almost 300 years, the Gallery of Maps shows the length and breadth of the Italian peninsula around 1580. Try to spot the sea monster in one of the maps.

Borgia Apartments

Once occupied by Borgia Pope Alexander VI, the Borgia Apartments were frescoed by early Renaissance artist Pinturicchio. A co-pupil of Raphael under master Perugino, Pinturicchio had a penchant for embedding fake jewels and three-dimensional objects such as metal saddle studs into his frescoes. The Borgia Apartments also contain the first depiction of Native Americans in European art.

Raphael - The School of Athens

Raphael is the quintessential Renaissance artist. The period of European civilization immediately following the Middle Ages was The Renaissance, where a great period of revival in art, literature and philosophy occurred. Raphael epitomized the ideals of a Renaissance man, designing and painting multiple rooms connected to the Vatican Museums. See one of Raphael’s most famous works of art, The School of Athens, among the museum’s other masterpieces.
 

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel

Once you are inside, it is clear why the Sistine Chapel is one of the most celebrated works of art in Western civilization. Michelangelo painted over 600 figures in all, making the sheer magnitude of this endeavor mindblowing. Since the Sistine Chapel is a place of worship, visitors are not permitted to speak inside. As your guide cannot explain the frescoes once inside - we will provide you with a map/handout for reference before entering. 

Please note: In order to enter the Sistine Chapel, both men and women must cover their knees and shoulders. Otherwise, you may be refused entry to this portion of your Vatican tour. We understand the summers in Rome are hot - a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way, you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.

Reserved Entrance St. Peter’s Basilica

The last stop on this Vatican tour is St. Peter’s Basilica. This massive church is the size of two American football fields and is filled with works created by some of history’s most celebrated artists. You will enter through a special door, skipping the lines to visit the most opulent church in the world. Once inside, you’ll admire masterpieces such as the Baldacchino, La Pieta, the statue of St. Peter and more. Even if you’re not familiar with art history, the interior of this church will make you stand in awe.

Important: Remember, it isn’t possible to return to the Vatican Museums from St. Peter’s Basilica. If you want more time inside the museums, you must forgo the guided tour of the basilica. Also, if you’d like to stay in St. Peter's Basilica longer, don't leave with the guide to take photos in the piazza. Because the security line is long and re-entry on your own is not recommended, we suggest you stay inside St. Peter’s and explore on your own after the tour concludes.

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