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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

Skip the lengthy lines and enjoy VIP access to the Vatican Museum’s many works of art on this guided, 4.5-hour tour. Hear the stories that bring the art to life. Visit the Vatican Pinacoteca art gallery; the Chiaramonti Museum, a collection of Roman busts and statues and the spiral Bramante Staircase. Also, see Raphael’s Rooms, with frescoes painted by renowned Renaissance artist Raphael and the Gallery of Tapestries. Visit the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo’s famous “Creation of Adam” painting, plus St. Peter’s Basilica and more.


  • 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 and greet the tour guide outside the Vatican Museums, a collection of galleries of classical and Renaissance art masterpieces, including the Sistine Chapel frescoes. Walk inside through a special reserved door without any waiting. This access is even faster than the priority lines.

Once inside, there are more than nine miles of art, so follow along with the guide who will point out the highlights and explain the story behind each work of art. A headset is included to hear the guide clearly.

Stop at the Vatican Pinacoteca art gallery, featuring some of the most influential paintings in the world like Caravaggio’s Deposition from the Cross, Da Vinci’s unfinished St. Jermone and Raphael’s Transfiguration.

See the hundreds of Roman busts and statues inside the Chiaramonti Museum, then roam the Octagonal Courtyard to see Apollo Belvedere, a celebrated marble sculpture and the Laocoon, one of the most famous ancient sculptures in the world.

One of the biggest thrills of the tour is a visit to the Bramante Staircase. It was once used by the popes and Vatican staff, but it is now rarely visited. Take the opportunity to get a photo of this beautiful spiral staircase. Then exit directly into the Gregorian Etruscan Museum to see the many bronze figurines and Etruscan tombs.

Finally, visit Raphael’s Rooms, four interconnected rooms with frescoes painted by Renaissance artist Raphael; the six-sectioned Gallery of Candelabra, with Roman copies of Hellenistic originals and some great second century candelabra, from Otricoli; the Gallery of Tapestries, featuring the drawings from many of Raphael’s pupils; and Gallery of Maps, on the west side of the Belvedere Courtyard featuring a series of painted topographical maps of Italy.

Go to the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam and the Last Judgement and St. Peter’s Basilica to see Pietà, one of Michelangelo’s earlier sculptures depicting the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion.

The tour ends just outside St. Peter’s Basilica.

Customer Reviews

James H

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

Samuel M

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.

Anna D

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.

Jon O

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

My tour guide Doriana was very informative and interesting.

Jane D L

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.

Rajiv B

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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