Meeting the tour guide and group was easy and the tour guide was so pleasant and knowledgeable. She was full of information before we went into the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. Having the information up front let us anticipate and appreciate the history that much more. She was the best guide we had while in Rome and she even helped us get to our hotel after the tour. She refused to leave us until we made arrangements to get to the hotel. It was our first day in Rome after a plane trip without sleep and we were very tired. She deserves a raise, but she wouldn't take any money from us!
We are SO pleased we booked this tour. Our group of 14 people was the first in through the doors of the Vatican and we walked straight to the Sistine Chapel. Our guide told us what we were looking at on the way but we did not stop. We were the only ones in the chapel for about fifteen minutes. It was an amazing feeling and an awesome sight of course. After about 30 mins our guide left us and we wandered around for a couple of hours. When we went back through the chapel again to get to the church the chapel was completely full of people and it was not nearly as special. We needed to be back at our hotel at midday to meet our guide to go on a cruise departing from Rome so only had the morning for this tour. Even though we have done so much since that day we still remark how special it was to be the only ones in the chapel. So amazing. An absolute must when in Rome.
Skip the line is definitely recommended as when we visited (Saturday) the Vatican was very busy. The organisation of the tour was good and the guide informative but don't forget that you have to pay a separate entrance fee for the museums (23 euro) and a further fee (5 euro) to take the 550 steps to the top of St Peter's. The views from the top, however, are worth the climb - just !!!
The Sistine Chapel was impressive but, in fairness, there are equally good if not better works of art within Rome itself and my advice would be to plan sufficient time in your stay to seek these out. Top tips (apart from the usual sites) would be Santa Maria Maggiore and Basilica San Clemente.
Would certainly use Viator again when next visiting Rome.
Buying the Omnia Roma pass was well worth it. The service is brilliant and makes everything so easy. When we went to the office to pick up our passes, booked on line before we went, we were given a thorough explanation of how to use them , how to book the things we wanted to see, where to get on the hop on hop off bus etc. The Omnia pass gets you into all the Vatican sites- St Peter's, the Vatican Museum- for the Sistine Chapel, St John's basilica etc- all inclusive of the price- and best of all jumping all the queues! The busses are great- good commentary , taking you all round the city as many times as you want. The Omnia pass also includes entry into 2 other sites- your choice out of 40- again queue jumping, and discounts on all the others. Being able to jump the queues makes buying the Omnia / Roma passes worth it alone- it's an added bonus that it includes the entry prices!! We used the Roma pass to go on the underground and train to the coast, and to get around Rome- again very easy to do. We preferred to do our own thing going to the sites when we wanted to and staying as long/ short as we felt like rather than going on organised tours such as a 3 hour walking tour with a guide- and the Omnia/Roma passes were brilliant for this- you don't need to book in advance for any of the sites- you can just turn up at the office just outside St Peter's Square to get into the Vatican sites- you are given a list of visit times each day- just before the start time and you are then taken in, and off you go; for the other sites you just turn up and go through the Roma pass entrance- again bypassing all the queues. All of the sites are incredible. For places to eat- walk away from the main sites a couple of streets or so to find better and cheaper restaurants than those right next to the sites. Highly recommended- great value for money.
This tour was amazing and so was the guide. At first I wasn't sure. They didn't have my family listed on the list for that day, but they called and got it fixed. I guess it was because my family bought the tickets so long in advance. Also it had rained with thunder/lightning early in the morning and was afraid that they were not going to do the tour of the gardens. The garden tour I think was the best part. She went the backward way of the other tours so we didn't have to deal with a lot of people. It was so beautiful then and not everything was in full bloom yet. Guide led us to a spot in the Vatican with an amazing view of Rome, then she helped us skip the lines to the museums and the Sistine Chapel. I think we spend too long in the Sistine Chapel, but just enough time in the museums. I can't remember our guide's name, but she explained everything perfectly (not too much information, but enough to understand the history). She left no time for shopping, but I wouldn't want to carry anything around during the tour.
Doing what: Vatican Gardens and Vatican Museums Tour
AWESOME TOUR! We made a last minute decision to go to Rome from Florence! We wanted to visit Vatican City but we knew we didn't have a lot of time! We booked this tour the day before we arrived, took a taxi from the train station to The Vatican City location we were directed to and when we got to the area, the line up was miles long!!! YIKES! We went to the location on our voucher, met our tour guide (very fluent in English) and we literally walked right in!!! Our tour guide was amazing, she had tapestries with pictures of some of the incredible art we were about to see and she explained all the stories about them...it totally made us realize what we were about to see ( in the Sistine Chapel, no talking, no photographs allowed) if we didn't hear her stories, we would have missed out on the AWESOMENESS of what we envisioned! ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL, HEART WARMING AND VERY SPIRITUAL! This tour is worth every dollar, and when the tour is over, you can still stay in Vatican City at your leisure! THANKS VIATOR FOR MAKING OUR EUROPEAN VACATION AMAZING!!!!!
If I could give 6 stars to this tour I would. Understanding that the Vatican is one of the most traveled sites in the would, there are thousands of people around each day. With Sarah N. our guide she made us feel like we were the only ones there. With her experience she was able to navigate us through the large crowds with out any effect. There was a Papel event that the Pope was having this day making things a bit more crowded. Sarah was able to overcome the challenge. Her knowledge and experience in her field (a PHD) of Roman history gave us all the details of the time. She answered questions as well as allowed us to move about on our own through the museum keep us up with the crowd in a timely manor. If you don't get a tear in your tear in your eye in the Sistine Chapel regardless of your faith you have no heart. Amazing experience and a must see tour in Rome with Sarah N.
We had a wonderful tour of the Vatican museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. Our guide Simon was very knowledgable and had a good sense of humor. The crowds were large on the day we attended and it was definitely worth the extra money to skip the lines. The artwork was amazing through out the museum. The Sistine chapel was breath taking. It was appropriate just to stand in silence looking at the masterpiece all around. St. Peter's Basilica is overwhelming with the grand design and size. The Pieta with Mary and Jesus is a masterpiece worth the visit as well. I would highly recommend the Dark Rome tour company as a guide for this tour through Viator.
Five of us went on the Early Access tour. This is much better than all the Skip the line tours. I live in Rome and know. You have a full hour with just a few people to visit the Sistine Chapel and then as much time as you wish to visit the rest of the Vatican Museum. We did not realize that the guide could not explain things once in the Sistine Chapel. So it is recommended to listen closely and study her pictures before you get in the Sistine Chapel. Italians normally speak fast and in English they also speak fast making it difficult to understand if you are not used to this. Ask the guide to speak slower if you don't catch everything they say. Our guide was very good and easy to understand, at least for me, but interrupt the guide if you didn't get it. They are not offended. We were 17 in our group. Some of the Skip the line groups were immense and you pay a lot more. Early Access really means skip the line. The skip the line groups had to line up in a long line of skip the line groups. Now with Pope Francis drawing larger than normal crowds to Rome the best day to visit the Sistine Chapel and the Museum is Wednesday. That is the day of the audience and many people will want to be at the audience. If you want to be at the audience, which should be a priority if you are on a short visit to Rome, than Early Access should be your only choice for a visit to the Sistine Chapel. Enjoy the Eternal City
My sister and I just returned from Rome. Now we aren't really into art but wanted to get a snapshot overview of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St Peter's. Our tour guide was Christian, and he made the tour well worth the crowds. It was really crowded the day we went! He appeared to be really passionate about the subject matter and was able to inject humor into the tour. We felt like we got a history/art/political and religious lesson rolled into one. The tour lasts about three and a half hours so don't expect to see everything. This was our third Dark Rome tour and it lived up to the high standard set by the other tours with the company.
Not a tour for the faint hearted as it's was over three hours on our feet. However for those not skipping the queue, there would have been an additional hour and a half for the entry queue into the museum and probably the same for St Peters and a quick whisk through the Sistine chapel. Frederica, our guide was brilliant being both a friendly and jokey personality as well as providing brilliant supplementary material using her iPad where she was able to zoom to show us where to focus our attention and bringing in links between what we were experiencing and other key sights in Rome. A brilliant day
Honestly, any tour ending with the Sistine Chapel is fantastic. Luckily, we had the benefit of an amazing tour guide (Ivana from tour operator Dark Rome) who really made this tour a highlight of our time in Italy. She provided respectful, entertaining, and at times humorous context to the plethora of exhibits we observed while on our tour. We are a family of four (two young children), so we were worried about whether or not they would enjoy the long walking tour, but Ivana made this tour great for the kids and for us. A debate we had for this tour was whether or not to take a semi-private tour or a larger group tour. Our tour had 20 people in it, and we found that this was the perfect size. Although it was a very busy day, we did not get lost or fall behind- rather, the entire group stayed close together as Ivana helped us to see the most interesting sights of the worlds largest museum. All in all, this was a fantastic experience, and I fully recommend it.
Our guided tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St.Peter's Basilica was absolutely fantastic. The guide was informative and very interesting during the excitement of being in this overwhelming environment. We are so pleased that we booked this before leaving on holiday and regret not having arranged other guided tours in Rome as we found the self guided headset tours very laborious.
I can't imagine anyone coming to the Vatican without booking a tour ahead! You do NOT want to waste hours in those lines nor miss out on the expertise of a guide. You paid lot of money to get here, pay a little more and book the tour. We actually skipped the day in Rome on our cruise (a tour through the cruise line is WAY more expensive anyway) and came back to Rome after our cruise so we could have an unhurried three days to see what we wanted to. The headset/radio makes it possible to hear the guide's every word, even if you stop to snap a picture and lose sight of him for just a sec. David from Dark Rome Tours was just wonderful - a sense of humor without being irreverent, a willingness to answer any questions thoroughly, and a knowledgeable style that kept us hanging on every word. The only thing I would change is the HOARDS of pushy people inside - which would be impossible, of course. The Sistine Chapel was pretty much as magnificent as I expected, but I was not prepared for St. Peter's - WOW! No photo can do justice to it, and the crowd wasn't as big there, either, so we could relax and enjoy every corner and every detail that David pointed out. One little tip - this is NOT a tour for children. It is long, they can't see over the heads of all the people, esp in the Museum, and they will be bored. Save it for their teen years when they can appreciate it more. One couple had to be asked to leave the Sistine Chapel with their crying infant...seriously, don't take your baby!!
This was an absolutely fantastic tour. We met our tour guide, Maurizi, opposite the entrance to the Vatican Museums. He was highly knowledgeable on all matters throughout the tour; he has a degree in history and fine art, I believe. As there is so much to see in this tour (you could spend days there), he picked out the highlights and his personal favourites and gave fascinating details. He was very friendly and patient with people taking photos, etc. We were given headphones and a small device so we could hear our guide through the crowds. After the main tour, we were left to wander around St Peter's Basilica (after being provided with info on it) and the square.
I would also add that our tour guide gave us lots of religious details but in a perfect, objective way.
The price almost put me off, but for the quality and length of the tour, it's excellent value. Plus you get to walk past all the people queuing to get in and go through straight away!
A few things to bear in mind on this tour:
- wear comfy shoes and don't wear yourself out beforehand (I made the mistake of walking for about two hours around Rome before!)
- it is busy and crowded throughout the Vatican City, with few places to sit down
- there is only one public drinking tap, at the start of the tour (although there is a cafe inside, we did not stop there during the tour)
- I'm not sure if there were more places we could stop, but we only made one bathroom break about halfway through
- you cannot take pictures and have to be quiet inside the Sistine Chapel. Our tour guide helpfully gave us descriptions before we entered
- certain areas of the tour require you to cover up: no exposed knees or shoulders. I saw people being asked to cover up before entering the basilica
- you have to go through a metal detector to enter the Vatican City. Whilst you don't have to take off belts, etc., your handbags will be scanned
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