Vatican Highlights with Rome Walking Tour
The best way to see the Vatican and Rome's downtown sites
Skip the lines and crowds at the Vatican Museums on this full Rome itinerary. After your privileged entrance Vatican tour, visit more of Rome's most popular sites: Piazza Navona, Castel Sant'Angelo, Spanish Steps and Pantheon.
- Skip the Line Vatican Tickets
- Main Galleries
- Sistine Chapel
- St. Peter's Basilica
- Castel Sant'Angelo
- Piazza Navona
- Gelato Stop
- Trevi Fountain
- Spanish Steps
A pre-opening tour, this tour includes early access entering the Vatican Museums one hour before the general public at 8:00 am. Experience the Vatican's main galleries, Sistine Chapel, Pinecone Courtyard & St. Peter's Basilica. After the Vatican you will embark on a wonderful walking tour which includes, Castel Sant'Angelo, Piazza Navona, Pantheon and Spanish Steps. Included on this 5.5 hour tour:
- Skip the line Vatican tickets
- Meet at 7:30 am for entrance just after 8:00 am
- The Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's Masterpiece
- English-speaking guide with expert art history background
- A tour of St. Peter's Basilica including the (except on Wednesdays)
- Guided walking tour of top Rome sites
Short delays at the security check may occur during the busiest months, June and July. We have a team of experts at the Vatican every morning to help our groups avoid delays as much as possible.
Want to skip the line at the Vatican without having a guided tour? Click here for skip the line Vatican tickets.
Skip the Line Vatican Tour
As an accredited tour operator, we’re able to enter the Vatican Museums a 60 minutes before the general public. On this Vatican tour, you’ll experience the best of the Museums in less than 3 hours.
The first stops are Vatican’s main galleries: the Gallery of Maps, Gallery of Tapestries and Candelabra Gallery. These galleries include some of the Vatican's most impressive art including revels of cartography, incredible tapestries from Belgium and beyond, and an impressive collection commissioned by Pope Leo XIII .
Beat the crowds and visit the Sistine Chapel before the huge crowds enter at 9:00 am, this allows you to fully embrace Michelangelo's greatest masterpiece. Our goal is to visit the Sistine Chapel with as few people as possible to give the optimal experience.
Before you enter the museums, your guide will discuss the painted frescoes you’ll see when you reach the Sistine Chapel, including The Creation of Adam and The Last Judgment. As the Sistine Chapel is a holy place, one cannot speak inside. You will be given plenty of time to reflect and pray in the sanctity of the Chapel.
Please note: The Sistine Chapel is a sacred place, so visitors are required to have their knees and shoulders covered when inside. Failure to do so will result in refused entry to a portion of the Vatican tour. During Rome’s hot summer months, consider bringing a shawl or sweater for covering yourself when necessary.
St. Peter’s Basilica
Visiting St. Peter's Basilica on your own can involve waiting in line for hours. Thankfully, by visiting with us we take you through a special exit in the Sistine Chapel which takes us directly to the Basilica without any lines. With your guide, you’ll visit the Basilica's great works, including Michelangelo’s Pieta and Bernini’s Baldacchino.
After the Vatican, the walking tour of Rome begins. About 10 minutes from St. Peter's, the first stop is Emperor Hadrian's mausoleum built in 135 A.D. Now a national museum, housing artwork, prison cells, papal apartments and even a torture chamber, it is also the Pope's former fortress. Your guide will explain this landmark on the Tiber, that many go past without understanding its great history.
Considered by many to be the heart of the city with surrounding restaurants and beautiful fountains, you’ll notice that the piazza takes on the shape of a race track. Standing on the site of the ancient Stadium of Domitian, it hosted gladiatorial events and races similar to those at the Colosseum and Circus Maximus. Your guide will also describe the Egyptian Obelisk at the center of this great square.
Often referred to as Hadrian’s Temple, the Pantheon is one of Rome's great monuments. The basis of many modern buildings such as the US Capitol. For centuries, the dome of this temple dedicated to all gods was considered the largest in the world, made unique by its oculus in the center. You’ll learn all about the Pantheon’s significance to Rome's history and how much of an architectural marvel it is.
At this point, you've seen a lot of amazing art and history. Take a break and enjoy one of Rome's best gelaterias.
Continue through the historical center of Rome and find where three roads intersect. Trevi actually translates to “three roads,” giving name to the world famous fountain. You'll learn about the symbolization of the ocean changing times, then you'll be able to throw a coin in and wish for your return to the Eternal City.
The final stop on the tour is surrounded by Rome's luxurious shops and hotels. The massive Spanish Steps lead up to the Trinita dei Monti church up the hill. Piazza di Spagna is named for its proximity to the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See. After exploring the Fountain of the Longboat and feeling like Audrey Hepburn, we will say arrivaderci!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Where to meet?
Between Caffé Vaticano and Hotel Alimandi, at the top of the big staircase (Viale Vaticano, 100). A representative will be there holding a sign with our company name on it.
What to bring?
There's no need to dress like the people who live in Vatican City, but you are asked to avoid wearing short pants and dresses that expose your knees, and tank tops that expose your shoulders. You can always bring a shall or sweater to cover your shoulders inside during summer months. Comfortable shoes are recommended for walking tours. The Vatican forbids the use of tripods inside the Museums and the carrying of large backpack. We kindly ask you to leave these items at your accommodation.
Q: Does the tour go inside at 7:30 am without waiting in any lines?
A: As an accredited tour operator we do not have to wait in the regular ticket line, but we still have to wait in a security line. For this reason, we leave the meeting point as early as possible and get in the security line reserved for tour operators. The doors open for us at 8 am, an hour before the general public.
Q: What are the chances my tour will be canceled or the Vatican will close something.
A: We run the tour rain or shine all year round. Although it is rare, sometimes part of the Vatican City closes for special religious events. If an area normally covered on a tour is closed, our guide will still provide explanations of the closed areas from outside. Plus, we will show you an extra site or gallery to compensate.
Q: I have some doubts about my mobility. Is this tour right for me?
A: If you have any doubts about your mobility, we strongly suggest you take a Private Vatican Tour.
Q: Does this tour always visit every artwork listed?
Often artwork undergoes restorations or is loaned to another museum as an exhibit. Our itinerary will include the stop if it is open to be seen. If not, we will add a substitute.