Privileged Entrance Vatican Tour with Sistine Chapel

Skip the line and gain direct access to the Raphael Rooms, Creation of Man, and St. Peter's Basilica

Travel Flexibly 4.9 / 5 See All 1421 Reviews · 3.00h · Vatican, Italy

Want to explore the Vatican without waiting in the long lines or dealing with the large crowds? Thanks to our close partnership with the Vatican this tour allows you to skip the line with a small group and a knowledgeable and charismatic tour guide! This is one of our most popular tours and offers an incredible experience at a great price!. This small group tour covers all the must-see attractions such as the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, and St. Peter's Basilica.

  • Skip the line
  • Meet your guide outside Caffé Vaticano
  • Vatican Museums
  • Pinecone Courtyard
  • Pio-Clementino Museum
  • Laocoön and His Sons
  • Hall of Maps
  • Gallery of Tapestries
  • Raphael's Rooms
  • Sistine Chapel
  • The Last Judgement
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Michelangelo's Pietá
  • Bernini's Baldacchino
  • End inside the St. Peter's Church

You'll begin your tour by meeting your local guide at the top of the stairs outside of Caffé Vaticano, which is across from the Vatican Museums. With your skip-the-line access, you'll walk past the long line of tourists and enjoy faster entry through security, even if you've booked an afternoon tour. With a small group and an expert local guide to keep you informed and entertained, you'll see all the top highlights of the Vatican from the Gallery of Maps to Nero's Bath and the glorious Sistine Chapel.

Skip-the-Line Vatican Tour Description

Your 3-hour tour includes:

  • Skip-the-line tickets to the Vatican Museums

  • Pio Clementino and the best of the Vatican's galleries

  • Raphael Rooms and Borgia Apartments

  • Silent tour of the Sistine Chapel

  • Entry to St. Peter's Basilica

  • A passionate, English-speaking guide

  • A maximum group size of 20

  • Available entry times in the morning and afternoon

Pio-Clementino Museum and Nero's Bath

At the start of your tour, you'll follow your guide to the Bramante Courtyard, designed by Donato Bramante. This part of the Vatican Museums is home to the Apollo Belvedere, Laocoön and His Sons, and the Belvedere Torso. Learn about the myths and legends associated with these iconic sculptures before visiting the oldest and largest bathtub in existence. Nero's bathtub is an incredible 25 feet long and is made from a rare red marble that isn't even available nowadays!

Popular Vatican Galleries

Your guide will lead you on through the Vatican Museums, visiting the Candelabra Gallery, Gallery of the Tapestries, and Gallery of Maps. Admire the ancient Roman and Greek statues, the Flemish tapestries created by Raphael's students, and the gorgeous topographical depictions of Italy.

At the height of the Roman Empire, pontiffs rarely left Rome. In order to understand the Italian peninsula without endangering his life, Pope Gregory XIII commissioned 40 giant meticulous maps to be created for his use. Most of these maps measure more than 15 by 16 feet, and the end result is nothing short of spectacular.

You'll hear the stories behind these treasures from your expert guide as the Vatican secrets are slowly unveiled to you.

Raphael Rooms and The School of Athens

Raphael, one of the traditional trinity of great masters, reigned during the Renaissance. After the turbulent Middle Ages, European civilization rebounded and experienced a prolific period in which the arts, literature, and thought flourished. As a true Renaissance man, Raphael embraced the ideals of the period and painted the walls of the Vatican Museums with his masterpieces. Among these, you can view his most famous work, The School of Athens, which is a testament to his vision and creativity.

Borgia Apartments

Downstairs from the Raphael Rooms and once occupied by Borgia Pope Alexander VI, these private chambers were frescoed by early Renaissance artist Pinturicchio. As a co-pupil of Raphael’s under master Perugino, Pinturicchio had a penchant for embedding fake jewels and other three-dimensional objects like metal saddle studs in his frescoes. The Borgia Apartments also contain another hidden gem: the first European depiction of Native Americans.

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel

One of the top things to do in Vatican City is visiting the Sistine Chapel. Only when you are inside, is it clear why the Sistine Chapel is one of the most celebrated works of art in Western civilization. Michelangelo painted more than 600 figures in all, and the sheer magnitude of his endeavor is mind-blowing. Since the Sistine Chapel is a place of worship, speaking inside is not allowed. Your guide cannot explain the frescoes while you are inside, so they'll provide you with a map/handout for reference before you enter.

To enter the Sistine Chapel, both men and women must cover their knees and shoulders, otherwise, the Vatican might refuse entry to religious sites and you’ll miss out on a portion of your tour. We understand the summers in Rome can be hot, so a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.

St. Peter's Basilica

After your time in the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, you'll walk through a passageway that allows you to bypass the ticket lines to St. Peter's Basilica. Before you enter, your guide will share about the history and construction of this incredible church. They will give tips for what to look for when you enter to explore on your own. You're sure to be awestruck as you walk around by the impressive architecture, statues, and artwork made by famous artists like Michelangelo and Bernini. Gaze upon the beautiful Pietà, the incredible mosaics, the Tomb of Innocent XI, and Bernini's canopy under the dome.

You tour ends here, but feel free to spend extra time enjoying the Basilica on your own afterwards.

Please note that St. Peter's Basilica is closed on Wednesdays for the Papal Audience and can occasionally experience other unexpected closures. If this happens, your guide will make up the time at other areas within the Vatican.

What you get with this tour
Skip the line tickets
Passionate English-speaking guide
Sistine Chapel
Raphael Rooms
St. Peter's Basilica Entrance
Pio-Clementino, tapestries, and maps
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1421 total reviews

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4.9/5 (based on 1421 reviews)
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Valentina at the Vatican
14 June 2024
Reviewed by
Philip Castagnet

Valentina was our guide for the Vatican and St. Peter’s. She was excellent at keeping us all together in very crowded situations. She was extremely knowledgeable, patient and friendly. Her background in art and history was an asset and made for a fascinating and informative tour. It was our first tour in Rome and an impressive way to begin.

Amazing Art and an enriching experience
13 June 2024
Reviewed by
Anne Marie Miller

We are in peak season, so things were crowded. Our guide managed to keep us together, tell us a lot, and send us on our way having been enriched by all we had seen!

Awesome. Very well organised.
13 June 2024
Reviewed by
Paul Travers

Our tour guide Lidia, was extremely well informed. A brilliant tour of these sensational places. Would highly recommend!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to bring?

In addition to wearing or bringing clothing that covers your knees and shoulders, it's recommended to wear comfortable shoes. You're also welcome to bring a water bottle as it can get hot inside the Vatican during the summer months.

Is there a way to see the Vatican without a guided tour?

Yes, it's possible, though the information and guidance you get with a tour is certainly worth considering. If you'd rather explore independently then you can click here for skip the line Vatican tickets.

What if I have concerns about my mobility on this tour?

If you have any concerns about your mobility, we suggest taking a Vatican Private Tour so your needs can be better accommodated.

Does the Vatican ever experience unexpected closures?

During state visits or special religious events, parts of the Vatican may be closed unexpectedly and without much notice. If an area normally visited during a tour is suddenly closed, our guide will still provide explanations of the closed areas from outside. They will even show you another gallery to compensate for the lost time in the usual location.

Will the Vatican Museums be crowded during this tour?

The Vatican is often slow in the late afternoon, but there is a chance the museums may be crowded while we are inside.

Is there a dress code to enter the religious sites on this tour?

We ask both men and women to cover knees and shoulders, otherwise the Vatican might refuse entry to religious sites and you’ll miss out on a portion of your tour. We understand the summers in Rome can be hot, so a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.

What to bring?

In addition to wearing or bringing clothing that covers your knees and shoulders, it's recommended to wear comfortable shoes. You're also welcome to bring a water bottle as it can get hot inside the Vatican during the summer months.

Where does this tour end?

This Vatican tour will end in or just outside of St. Peter's Basilica. You're free to stay in the church and explore some more if you like.

If I am coming from a cruise ship can I book this tour?

This tour does not include transportation from port. If you are coming from a cruise ship, please ensure to arrange your transportation to allow for traffic and train delays.

How long is this tour?

This tour is 3 hours long.

Can I go back to the Vatican Museums after the tour ends?

St. Peter's Basilica would be the last part of the tour and once you leave the Vatican Museums to enter the Basilica you are unable to reenter. However, you can stay in the Basilica after the tour is over.

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