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4.5 star rating: Recommended 36 Reviews

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  • Location:Rome, Italy
  • Duration:4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

Skip the Line: Vatican Museums Extended Art Tour Including Bramante Staircase

While many Vatican tours include whistle-stop views of the art, this exciting 4.5-hour tour focuses on the Vatican Museum’s bounty of artistic treasures, with historical tales and anecdotes that bring the artwork to life. With a skip-the-line ticket and a knowledgeable guide, the tour includes visits to the captivating Pinacoteca painting gallery, Chiaramonti Museum and Bramante Staircase as well as must-visit halls such as Raphael’s Rooms and Gallery of Tapestries. Finish with a visit to the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica to see Michelangelo’s 'Creation of Adam' and more!

This tour provides VIP access to the Vatican Museums through a reserved door, allowing you to skip all the lines — even the priority lines.


  • 4.5-hour skip-the-line Vatican art tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica
  • Learn about the history of the Vatican artwork and the talented Renaissance artists employed by the popes
  • Stop at rarely visited Vatican sites such as the Bramante Staircase (normally closed to the public), Pinacoteca and Chiaramonti Museum
  • Admire artistic highlights such as Da Vinci’s St Jermone and Raphael’s Transfiguration
  • Visit the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica to ogle three Michelangelo masterpieces including the Creation of Adam
  • Enjoy privileged fast-track access to the Vatican Museums through a reserved entranceway

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Skip the Line: Vatican Museums Extended Art Tour Including Bramante Staircase

Admire the wealth of artwork that the Vatican has to offer!

Meet your guide outside the Vatican Museums and head straight inside with your skip-the-line ticket. Wait lines are often lengthy at the Vatican, but your tour provides access through a reserved door, allowing you to skip all the lines — even the priority ones!

More than 9 miles (15km) of artwork is inside, so follow your guide to discover the artistic highlights of the vast museum complex. Hear tales and tidbits of art history as you walk, and learn little-known facts about the treasure trove of artifacts that the Vatican popes amassed over centuries.

Your first stop is the Pinacoteca, the Vatican’s painting gallery, where masterpiece upon priceless masterpiece awaits. Founded by Pope Pius XI, the gallery is home to some of the most influential pieces of Western art in the world. See treasures including Caravaggio’s Deposition from the Cross, Da Vinci’s unfinished St Jermone and Raphael’s Transfiguration, and hear stories that bring the pictures to life.

Continue to either the Pinecone courtyard or the Giardino Quadrato, and then step inside the front section of the Chiaramonti Museum to see its hundreds of statues. After walking amid the stone cherubs and intriguing Roman gods, wander through the Octagonal Courtyard to see Apollo Belvedere and the Laocoon — two intriguing ancient statues.

Prepare for one of the highlights of your tour, next: your visit to the Bramante Staircase. Once used by the popes, Vatican staff and even horses, the spiraling staircase is now rarely visited, making your stop to see it all the more tantalizing. Exit from the staircase directly into the bronze figurines, Etruscan tombs and gold bling of the Gregorian Etruscan Museum.

Wander through more exciting, art-laden halls such as Raphael’s Rooms, the Gallery of Candelabra, Gallery of Tapestries and Gallery of Maps, and on to the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica. No visit to the Vatican is complete without a visit to the two sites— each art galleries in their own right — to discover their delights. Gaze at Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam and The Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel, and then stop in St Peter’s Basilica to admire La Pietà, a sculpture that propelled a young Michelangelo to fame.

Your tour finishes just outside St Peter’s Basilica, but you can spend longer inside the church or out in St Peter’s Square, if you wish.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Outstanding ! Great tour guide!

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Dorianna was first class, very interesting and knowledgeable and we enjoyed every minite

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

The tour guide Sve was just great. He was informative and very knowledgeable. He made the tour pleasant and connected with his group well. I left very the tour with a great impression! The history and the arts. Very happy! I would recommend this tour with this guide tour.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

Excellent - even with the downpouring rain!! Our guide was magnificent, warm and easily understood. She kept us out of the rain as much as possible and authentically cared about our enjoyment of these magnificent museums. I would highly recommend this.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

My tour guide Doriana was very informative and interesting.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Wonderful. We had an American guide that was very knowledgable. The art collection there is quite impressive. Best museum and tour we've ever had and we have been there 5 times.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

Dario was an excellent guide. He spoke clearly, he was funny and he shared many interesting stories with us. I particularly liked this extended tour as we were not in with the crowds as much as one is on the regular tour. If you can afford a tour of the vatican it is worth it because it is huge and I think one could easily get lost.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

Manuela was a great source of knowledge and was excellent in explaining the history of the artists as well as the Vatican ! I highly recommend her and would gladly take another tour with her! We were very pleased with Viator.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

Excellent tour. the time flew so quickly. It was very crowded in easter time. Highly recommended tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

My wife and I really enjoyed this tour. Our tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable about the numerous things inside the Vatican. There was no problem hearing due to the microphone relay system. We started off in the Museum, and were treated to the neat staircase which we got to walk up and see a view of the city of Rome from the top. Our tour guide even recommended and pointed out a place for lunch after the tour Island Pizza which was convenient and had great food. After spending a majority of the time in the Museums and seeing amazing artwork, artifacts, etc, we were herded yep, just like sheep into the Sistine Chapel. It gave off the feeling like being a sardine in an extremely tight tin can, but that's what happens when thousands of people want to all be inside such a small space. I was disappointed to learn that we couldn't take pictures nor video inside the Sistine Chapel, but we did spend about twenty or twenty-five minutes inside so we had plenty of time for viewing. After that we were lead down a neat hallway and staircase that was specifically for group tours, which was nice as it felt nearly empty. Upon exiting the hallway we were at the square in front of the basilica. Our tour was suppose to then go into the basilica, but unfortunately we were there on a day when the basilica was closed early. This is something outside of the tour companies control, but it did still suck. We ended up returning to the basilica another day but we could hear many tour guides talking about stuff and really regretted missing out on the knowledge.

Amazing artwork Raphael's rooms were fantastic and I personally loved the map room/hallway
Stunning statues
Impressive exclusive access to the Bramante Staircase
Great knowledgeable tour guide
Microphone relay system from tour guide to you no issues whatsoever hearing all the details
Covered nearly everything we wanted to see

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