This is a great tour if you are in the Vatican City on Wednesdays when Pope Frances comes to St. Peter's Square. Keep in mind it's not a "small audience." Due to the new Pope's popularity, St. Peter's was full, our guide informed us that the Square holds about 70,000 people. With the tickets, you are guaranteed a seat, but you may not be close to the stage. However, with that said, our group was only about 10 people, which was good. Our guide made a great effort to get us into seats that were close to the route that Pope Francis traverses, although we were not close to the square. There are hundreds of groups like this, so be prepared for throngs of people. You will need to be prepared to get to St. Peter's Square by 7:30 am. Viator does a great job instructing you where to go when first arriving. You will be assigned your guide and as soon as the gates open, the guide "ran" to get us the best seats she could. She holds up a flag, so it was easy to locate her. We were then provided with Vatican history facts, which was very interesting. Just prior to the Pope appearing, the guide will leave the tour group. From then on, you are in your seats and hopefully lucky enough to see the Pope ride by. This takes quite a while. Then the Pope goes up to the stage. There are big screens set up in the Square, so if you are not close to the stage, you can watch the screens. He provides his message in Italian, and then it is summarized in about 12 different languages. The entire event lasts about 3 1/2-4 hours.
If you want to see the Pope, I highly recommend this tour. You can still be present in St. Peter's Square for free, however, you will be standing and very far away, even to see the big screens and you may not be close enough to his route through the Square.
We did skip the lines. BUT, there are lots of similar tours, and lots of people skipping the lines. With that said, this is a long tour and there were times that we knew the tour guide was "holding' us in various areas waiting for other groups to go by. It often seemed as if she was just talking to take up time.
We did this in the afternoon after we had spent the morning at the Papal Audience (3 1/2-4 hour event). If we were to do it again, we would not do both tours on the same day, as we ended up spending about 10 hours total at the Vatican, making for a very long day. In addition, my husband had a small backpack. When we entered the Vatican Museum, he was stopped by security and had to check the backpack. The backpack was red, so it stood out, as we saw many people with similar, if not larger backpacks, who had not been stopped. As a result, he never got to see St. Peter's Basilica because he had to return to the museum entrance before it closed to pick up his backpack.
While we enjoyed the whole Vatican experience, we probably wouldn't buy this tour again. You can buy tickets to skip the lines and do the tour at your own pace, and not feel "herded" in a tour group. You are not going to see it all...nor could you...one fact our guide did tell us is that there are so many artifacts at the Vatican that if you looked at each one for just one minute it would take 8 years to see it all!
© 1997–2014 Viator, Inc. 330251b All rights reserved. Viator is a registered trademark of Viator, Inc.
is a Service Mark of Viator, Inc. Travel with an Insider is a Service Mark of Viator, Inc.
Use of this website constitutes acceptance of Viator's Terms & Conditions.