This tour was one of the highlights of my recent trip to Rome. Our tour guide, Shannon, was a personable and knowledgeable art historian, whose knowledge of renaissance art and also the history of the Vatican itself greatly enhanced the tour content. We were able to see many parts of the Vatican Museums normally off limits to tourists, like a significant Borromini staircase and a chapel with important Fra Angelico frescoes. We also viewed the Raphael rooms alone. But the highlight for me was a full half hour in the Sistine Chapel with our small group of ten people. Overall, I was impressed with the quality of the tour guide - and the VIP access was most definitely worth the price tag. I would highly recommend this tour.
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.
when we first made our reservations for the sistine chapel private viewing and small -group tour of the vaticans secret rooms ,i must admit we were apprehensive about what was promised.
but as the tour began all our fears wre laid to rest
our tour director a young lady from indiana named tiffany presented the facts about each exhibit sprinkled with very interesting aside commentaries
i know she said that she had been doing this for awhile,but it was amazing how she could glean so many facts and anecdotes and present them to us in a way that made three and one half tour literally fly by
being able to have access to the secret rooms and of course access to the sistine chapel with just nine people being able to ask questions and interact with tiffany was beyond any a nd all our expectations
is it value for money? absolutely
will i recommend this tour uneqivocably?
would we take the tour again? in a heart beat!
just a side note to viatour you would be wise to incorporate tiffany in promo videos to give potential customers a sample of what you have to offer !
i am sure this will bring you many more customers
again thank you for making our trip to rome as the most memorable part of our three week stay in italy
tom and pat
The tour was AMAZING! I just wrote a fantastic review with excellent tips, but the site logged me out. :-( Here's a shortened version: The Dark Rome tour guide was excellent, the tour was perfect, plan to spend at least the whole day (we spent 2 and barely started), add-on the elevator (lift) to visit the top of St. Peter's dome (still some climbing, but if you pace yourself it is so worth it). Buy and write postcards before you go so you can get stamps at the dome shop run by the nuns (some unique gift items there as well) then mail them from the Vatican mail. If you want night pictures, get inside the gate before dark, as St. Peter's square actually closes to the public around 11 or so. Dino and Tony's restaurant down the block is great food and great fun (adventure dining with no menu :-) . Beware of the souvenir stands outside the Vatican; the booths, the shops inside the Vatican, and the shops on the street outside St. Peter's gate carry the same items, but Mariana gift shop had the best prices (rosary = 12 for 10 euros; same exact rosary inside = 15 euros, same exact rosary at booth by mueum entrance = 10 euros). I included pics of our favorite shop. We attended Italian mass in the basilica, and if you check the schedule, there are masses throughout the day (not at the Pope's alter, but it's still mass at St. Peter's). Skip the line was worth the price of the tour (I included pics of PART of the line!).
I am an art and history addict. This tour exceeded my expectations. I read a review on Trip Advisor strongly reccommending this tour. It was difficult to swallow the cost given we are a family of 4. But I chalked it up to a once-in-a-lifetime experience, which it delivered. Our guide was engaging, knowledgeable and patient. She often pulled in my children (2 boys ages 7 and 13; hard core sports kids with a slight interest in art) as part of the tour. I get tingly recalling the tour for this review. Being in the Sistine Chapel with 9 other people for 30 minutes; able to speak freely with our guide, ask questions and study the masterpiece is truly priceless. The icing on the cake was the tour of the museum to help us identify important artifacts in the Vatican's vast collection. She also called out graffiti by Michaelangelo, Da Vinci and historical figures which we never would have caught combing through the museum alone. Visiting exclusive areas closed to the general public with unique views of Rome and St. Peter's makes our photos special and memorable. Thank you for offering this tour. One thing to note, since we were leaving after hours, we did not have the opportunity to shop in the gift shop. For some of us, it was the only time we were near the Vatican. So it was a bit of a disappointment. But I made the time to taxi back for gifts for friends and had the chance to see St. Peter's, which is also not part of this tour. It was also well worth the extra effort.
Having had a quick look at some of the other reviews on this site it seems that Dark Rome must really hire the best tour guides! Although I might be biased I couldn't imagine anyone being better than Sara, who was absolutely delightful - charming, friendly and so knowledgeable. She also went out of her way to ensure that everyone stayed together on a particularly busy day at the Vatican. She really made this tour one of the highlights of a fantastic trip to Rome and it wasn't just us who felt this way, the whole group of 20 agreed at the end of the tour that we'd landed the best guide of the day. If it were possible to put in a request for your guide on this tour (but I'm not sure it is) I would highly highly recommend Sara - she's amazing!
My wife and I recently stayed a few days in Rome and the highlight of our trip was definitely the Vatican tour. We weren't sure what to expect but by the end we were delighted that we chose Viator. It was an early start (08:00hrs) and our entry was 'fast tracked' through security enabling us to beat the crowds and allowing us prime viewing of the many sights. We chose a tour with a maximum of ten people, which meant that everyone has an opportunity to hear the guide and ask questions. David, our guide was absolutely fantastic. He is an extremely personable and knowledgable individual with a great sense of humour. He obviously enjoys what he does and his enthusiasm rubs off on his 'audience'. All in all, it is the best 160 Euros we has spent in a long time!
Skip the Line: Vatican Museums Walking Tour including Sistine Chapel, Raphael's Rooms and St Peter's Product Booking Number: 50487420. we met lovely young woman from Rome, Francesca, who is graduate student of Ancient Archaeology. The sun was sizzling (high 80’s and dry) and zoomed past the cued up crowds waiting for tickets and admission – yah Francesca and Viatour! The tour started with a scale model of the Vatican- St. Peters basilica, moving to long gallery- halls with ornate paintings, tapestries and tromp l’oei ceilings. Francesca was interesting and informative in her narration. Saw the map room, Sistine chapel where ridiculous guards kept yelled at us “no talking – no photos- be respectful” over and over and lunged at a woman who entered with a camcorder. Prepare yourselves for a let-down here. Continued to the map room, Michaelangelo’s fresco creation of Adam and then outside view to St. Pete’s Basilica. Then inside. The scale is enormous as you enter the colonnades into the cupola, viewing Bernini’s canopy covering the holy sepulchre and behind it a throne. It appears to be 15 stories high – giant columns, marble and mosaics everywhere. A spontaneous choral started up and added a vocal splendor to the baroque idolatry.
Very well organised from all the Dark Rome Tour staff. David our assigned tour guide was excellent, his English was superb, loved the microphones so everyone could hear no matter where you stood. David had an excellent view on the art and gave us a very colourful insight into Vatican life.
Itinerary Number: 27681723
Rating: 5 Stars
Our group of 16 persons from Virginia in the United States was most satisfied with the tour of the Vatican on April 4, 2013. David was our guide for this tour and he excelled in everyway: knowledge, communication, respect, efficiency, sense of humor, advice, and personal demeanor.
David had superior command of the core knowledge of the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and the Raphael apartments. In addition, he provided relevant historical context to the many sites and art treasures that we viewed. His English was excellent, unfailingly clear and easy to understand. He spoke about the topics of our tour in an organized and systematic manner. His respect for members of our group was evident in the many responses to our questions and we freely questioned him on a multitude of topics. At no time were his comments demeaning nor did he ever suggest we were “ignorant” tourists. He made us believe that we were receiving an education and we all concluded that he succeeded well in this task. David was able to guide us through the hallways and doorways of the many buildings and rooms with excellent directions and his use of the electronic microphone enhanced our ability to learn and to follow him around. He used humor in an effective manner, never being acerbic, but allowing us to see persons and history in a timely and human perspective. This use of humor allowed us to enjoy and appreciate the many facts of history and personalities permeating the formal setting of the Vatican. David generously offered us advice on other aspects of our visit to Rome and stayed with the group after the official tour until he had answered all our questions. We enjoyed being with him throughout the tour and wished we could have taken him with us on our other destinations in Rome and beyond. His communication skills, charming smile, openness, helpfulness, and expert knowledge were deeply appreciated by all of our group members.
Our tour guide was Tatiana, a very knowledgeable, helpful, clear and enthusiastic.
Regrettably the tour was most disappointing. We understood that it was not possible to view the Sistine Chapel but we were not guided through St Peter's either. I am not sure which part of the Vatican was on extension of the original tour but to us it was certainly disappointing and more expensive than even the offers made by local tour operators in Rome.
I would like you to know that your employee, Fracisco Silvestra, made our trip to Rome so very special. After a wonderful visit to the Vatican, the Pantheon we were on our way to the Colosseum when my legs gave out and I could not do that tour. Mr Silvestra was so kind to me and we communicated as best we could while we waited for our group. He is not only an excellent driver but was caring and very thoughtful. What a wonderful example of Italian hospitality.
Please give Mr. Silvestra my fondest regards.
I have booked this tour about 4 years ago when i visited Rome, with my family. However this time i visited with my boyfriend who had always wanted to visit Rome. The tour is very informative, walking the museums on your own could get very overwhelming so i find it much easier to have a guide who can walk you through the history behind the vatican. Having done the tour before i thoroughly enjoyed this one also, our guide was Laura there were just 6 people in our group and lucky it was fairly quiet on the day we visited so you dont feel like you are being bustled along. I would reccommend the tour to first time visitors as you can miss so much not knowing what you should be looking out for. We also ventured upto the Dome of the bascilica, which was worth the excercise ( note not for the faint hearted), 520 steps ( an extra 2 euros to miss out the first 200) still leaving 320 to climb and in a small space spiralling upwards. The views from the top are spectacular and the weather was gorgeous the day we visited, it was a perfect end to the mornings tour.
We had catherine as our tour guide and she was fantastic. She told the stories and history with such passion that made the tour truly fascinating! Well done to Catherine!
our guide was franchesca (so sorry if that is spelled wrong). she was great. we went on a not so busy day. so we didnt have to stand in a horrible long line like many have posted in reviews, i was also warned about an additional fee? we never paid for anything extra. so im not sure what that was about in previous reviews. i really enjoyed the tour it was amazing to see the history behind each art piece. though i was extremely upset about idiotic people taking pictures and talking and taking pics with flash in the sistine chapel. it saddened me because it clearly states no photos and to be silent. and flashes from cameras ruin the old paint. some people just have no respect. other then that our tour was amazing and so was our guide. i highly recommend going and taking this tour! the meeting place was easy to find and is if you know how to read road signs and a map. we walked to everything in rome including our visit to the vatican.
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