Insider's Guide to Rome

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Spend a morning or an afternoon at the Vatican with this 2-hour skip-the-line tour of the Vatican Museums (including the Sistine Chapel) and St. Peter's Basilica. Get an up close and personal look at Michelangelo's masterpiece, his murals in the Sistine Chapel that changed the history of painting forever. See Raphael's cherubs. Gawk at the Gallery of Maps. Explore St. Peter's Basilica. And if you want more, upgrade to a full-day tour and visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Catacombs and more. Lunch can also be included. 

Highlights

  • Vatican and Sistine Chapel tour with transport from Rome to Vatican City
  • Skip the lines at the Vatican Museums with a fast-track entrance ticket
  • See top Vatican attractions: Giuseppe Momo’s spiral staircase, Gallery of the Tapestries and Gallery of Maps
  • Visit the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica and admire Michelangelo masterpieces like La Pieta
  • Upgrade to a full-day tour with an optional lunch, and see the sites of Christian Rome in the afternoon
  • Visit Basilica of San Giovanni, the Roman catacombs and Baths of Caracalla (full-day tour only)

Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour

It's a Vatican tour that can fit a variety of budgets and schedules. Whatever option you choose, you'll avoid long lines at the Vatican Museums and see some top sights in Rome, too!

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Skip the Line: Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Tour

See the spiral stairs in the Vatican Museums

Morning or Afternoon Tour:
After choosing between the morning and the afternoon tour, climb aboard the comfortable air-conditioned coach near Rome's Termini railway station. As the bus meanders through the streets of the Eternal City, take in the views and learn about the places you're about to see from your local guide. Pass through aesthetically pleasing Piazza del Popolo and cross the Tiber River, getting a view of the imposing Castel Sant' Angelo. 

Hop off the coach and skip the usually long line to get into the Vatican Museums, home to some of the world's most renowned and recognizable art works. Follow your guide down Guiseppe Momo's bronze spiral staircase to the art and linger in the great Gallery of Tapestries and Gallery of Map. 

Learn about the Flemish tapestries that grace the walls and about how they were based on paintings by students of Raphael, the Renaissance-era painter whose wall frescos of angels and cherubs are also in the museum. Then head to the Sistine Chapel, the room that Michelangelo painted and, perhaps, boasts some of the most famous images in the history of painting. Look out particularly for The Last Judgment and The Creation of Adam

After lingering in the Sistine Chapel for a while, head over to St. Peter's Basilica, the most important Catholic church in the world. And don't miss another Michelangelo masterpiece: his amazing sculpture of La Pieta. Also don't miss Bernini's Baldachino, used from bronze stripped off of the Pantheon. Learn about the history of the church from your guide and hear little-known stories about the building and its construction. 

Full-Day Tour or Full-Day Tour with Lunch:
Upgrade to a full-day tour which combines the morning with a walking tour of Christian Rome in the afternoon. 

Meet the guide and get ready for an engaging tour of Rome, seeing the most legendary Christian landmarks in this city. Stroll around Esquiline Hill, one of the city's famed seven hills, and home to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, a massive church. Then head over to San Giovanni in Laterano, or St. John Lateran, a basilica that is the official church of the pope. Next door take a moment to see the Holy Steps, supposedly the staircase that was part of Pontius Pilate's palace in Jerusalem, which Christ would have walked on for his trial. Today pilgrims ascend the 28 steps on their knees, saying a prayer for each step. 

At the top of the steps in the Sancta Sanctorum, or Holy of Holies, a room that was once a depository for some of the holiest relics in Christendom. Objects included the heads of Sts. Peter and Paul, a chunk of wood from the table where the Last Supper was eaten, and the Holy Foreskin, the prepuce of Jesus, which was stolen in 1527 by a marauding German soldier in the Sack of Rome. (It ended up in the medieval hill town of Calcata, just north of the city.)

Later head to the Appian Way, an ancient Roman road to visit some important early Christian churches, including the Chapel of Domine Quo Vadis, which boasts a cemented imprint of the ghost of Christ. Also visit some of the catacombs, burial grounds of the early Christian community. After exploring underground, visit the old spa ruins at the Baths of Caracalla, and then finish your tour with a hotel drop-off or a drop-off in town.

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Customer Reviews

Antonio M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

We had an excellent experience with a guide who was friendly, entertaining, and kept us moving at a pace that was neither too fast nor too slow.

David B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2016

The actual tour itself was great! They put on a classy show! Where we had issues was coming back on the bus the tour guide announced there would be three stops on the weay back for people to check out! We got off at the first stop, Trevi fountain and came back to where we got off and no bus! All our purchases were left on the bus. Luckily I had called the tour company earlier and had the phone number on my phone. In the end we got our belongings back the next day but they should have told EVERYBODY that if you get back at any place you had to get yourself back!

Morejon

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

Just Excellent.

Jonathan L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

Enjoyable tour, good pace about proceedings and a knowledgeable guide. Saw all that we wanted to see

traveler16 United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2016

Excellent tour and tour guide. Very knowledgeable an experienced. Good walking pace. Guide allowed plenty to time to view and admire the Sistine Chapel. Would use this tour company again if have another opportunity to visit this beautiful and historic city again. Great service. Really lives up to Skip the Line. Thanks.

NARELLE C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2016

yet another wonderful tour with a guide that lives and breathes the tour and doesn't just talk and lead you. one tour there is never enough

Mark P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2016

Great guide. Really good way to navigate the maze of museums! We were lucky that it was not at all crowded. Coming out into St Peter's Square in twilight was magical.

Elise J P

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Our guide was very enthusiastic, thorough and knowledgeable. We would have liked to get into the other galleries.

Katherine S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

A really good tour - the museums are incredible leading to the Sistine Chapel which was a lifetime ambition fulfilled, and wow words can't do it justice. We could have spent a lot longer than half a day looking round because there is simply so much to see. Our guide was really good fun and full of knowledge which made the day all the more enjoyable.

Jayne O

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

great experience

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Tour code: 2390GRET3

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