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My wife and I did many tours during our 1-1/2 weeks in Rome and this was the greatest of them all. I am not Catholic, but I left this tour with an immense urge to learn more about the Catholic church history.
Couple things to know about this long day:
The first 3-1/2 hrs are spent with a guide walking through the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St Peter's Church. If you are claustrophobic or don't like being in large crowds, this is not the tour for you... instead buy an early entrance tour.
Things you didn't know COULD hurt, WILL hurt by the 2nd part of this tour. You will have about a 2 hr break before the 2nd part begins.
The 2nd part of the tour visits the 3 other Papal Basilicas in Rome. Much of this time is on a bus, transporting you from one to the next. This is a nice break, but by the last basilica you will be exhausted.
If I had the time and could do this over again, I absolutely would.
Doing what: Skip the Line: Vatican in One Day
Probably the best thing we did on a trip to Rome. The early access meant that we got to be the first visitors of the day to walk through the halls of the Vatican Museum and go straight to the Sistine Chapel. We went back later in the day for a second viewing which was not part of the early access tour and the thousands of others doing the same tour meant we really couldn't enjoy it. This was the best money we spent in our entire trip to Italy which also took in Florence and Venice and we would recommend it to anyone!
I cannot say enough about City Wonders, and specifically, our guide, Federica. We liked her so much on our Skip the Line Colosseum Tour, that when we found out she was going to be one of the guides on the day of our Vatican tour, we requested her immediately upon arrival. We went in Augustheight of tourist season and heat, and could not have been more thrilled. The directions to meet with your tour group are perfect and everyone was on time. I highly suggest bringing your own earphones because the ones provided on both of the tours are uncomfortable. Our guide, Federica was knowledgeable and passionate about her city and everything it had to offer. We loved listening to her descriptions of the artwork and basilica because she did it in a way that took you on a journey, rather than being given a bunch of facts. Her English was superb, her demeanor delightful and the sheer amount of knowledge was astounding. She answered every question asked, and was concerned for her tour members in a very crowded and warm Vatican. Skipping the line in August is worth EVERY PENNY! City Wonders has a personal relationship with The vatican, so we skipped other skip the line tours. The sights are, without a doubt, superb. The Basilica and Sistine Chapel are unbelievable even when you are staring right at them. Thank you for making Rome so enjoyable!
This tour was amazing and I highly recommend this if you wish to visit the Vatican.
We were able to skip the queue via booking in advance and visited the museums, Sistine chapel and St Peters Basilica.
We had Emma as our tour guide who was extremely knowledgeable about Rome and the Vatican. It was amazing to have her teach us so much.
All of the painting and sculptures were amazing. St Peters Basilica is WOW! So huge and beautiful.
The Sistine Chapel is worth the visit to see the incredible ceiling and the last judgement painting.
It is extremely busy at the Vatican so I recommend one of the first tours that they offer in the day. You will not be disappointed in this tour
Very much enjoyed this tour. First of all, we had to reschedule due to being delayed coming into Rome - and Viator rescheduled us with minimal hassle. We had to take a tour Wednesday am - which is during the papal audience, BUT this was actually a wonderful benefit, as the Sistine Chapel and museums were not nearly as crowded as usual. We saw all the main significant features, then had the afternoon to visit St Peters on our own. We took our time having a nice lunch and enjoyed our time walking through the museum a second time before seeing the Basilica. Definitely a must see!
A great introduction into the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's. It was perfect for us as we did not have a lot of time left in Rome and just had to visit Vatican City. Dorella was a wonderful guide with great enthusiasm, knowledge and sense of humor while navigating us through the tour. Would love to return one day to fully explore and take time to absorb the beauty and culture of this special place.
The first part of the tour was The Vatican our tour guide Francesca was not together. She lost a section of group after the Sistine Chapel because she wasn't clear where we should meet. In further problems she told us the 2nd half of our tour was at 2:30 when it was at 2. So we missed the second half. But the local tour company did go above and beyond and got us on the 2nd half of our tour the next day.
For the second half of the tour. Our tour guide Peter was amazing and extremely knowledgeable, I wanted to spend sometime with him after to pick his brain about the history and religion of the city. I learned so much about the churches in Rome. His wit and humor made the tour such a lovely experience. The churches were gorgeous.
I'm giving the rating a 5 because the local tour company did go above and beyond to get us on the next tour and our tour guide Peter was so amazing he deserves a 5 star rating.
Doing what: Skip the Line: Vatican in One Day
This was the highlight of the tours we took while in Italy. Not only did we get to see a lot of what the typical larger group tours saw, but we we shown so much more!!! Our guide in a professor there in Rome and he was absolutely amazing! His knowledge and storytelling outstanding! Not only did we get to see so many things not open to the public, but then to walk into the Sistine Chapel and have time alone to sit and admire the works was the best. They don't allow you to take photos while in the Sistine Chapal, but it's ok because you could never do it justice in an image anyway. Plus you can take photos every where else. I would do this again in a heartbeat!!! So glad we were able to do this. I suggest doing this tour on a Tuesday evening if possible and then going to the Papal Audience Wednesday morning.
Fantastic, extremely crowded inside the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, friends say that Rome is now packed 365 days of the year gone are peak and low seasons, so book your tours accordingly to skip the lines. We have visited Rome a few times and this was the first time we had to miss the climb to the Basilica, much to the disappointment of our teenage children, line just ridiculous.
Doing what: Vatican Gardens and Vatican Museums Tour
My first visit to the Vatican, a remarkable experience. This tour made a real difference. In 3.5 hours, to see so much with a wonderful knowledgable guide enabled us to accomplish so much in a very short time. breakfast was in the 'Pineapple Courtyard' outside. Beautiful. Early, quick easy access, skips the lines thru security. Visited the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica. Only in Rome for 2 days, so made excellent use of limited time.
Blanch is fabulous--we highly recommend this private tour with the local company/Viator. We were in Rome with my 70 year old mom who has had knee surgeries and my 6 year old kid who refuses to walk over two miles daily. I was really worried about the Vatican tour. Our Louvre experience was poor when were in Paris. My mom had a wheel chair there but my husband kept lifting it over 100s of steps so she decided that she would do the Vatican without the wheelchair. I was nervous but fortunately it was a private tour and Blanch seemed very accommodating. She initially changed the time of the tour from morning to evening but it turned out to be more pleasant as there was not AC in the museum. Fortunately, to our surprise the elevators were functionally and my mom did not have to climb more than one little staircase. She walked slowly but Blanch was very patient and my 6 year old kid quickly bonded with her, holding her finger through the tour. The tour itself was fantastic and the Sistine Chapel was practically empty. We all stayed there for over 40 minutes and we found a place to sit down on the side benches--enjoying the beautiful ceiling and walls. Later Blanch waited for us and found a taxi that would take us back to our hotel--at that time of the day --taxi was not easy to find.
The time between when the bus would get to Rome and the time we had to be at the meeting point for the Vatican Tour was very tight. It was made much worse because a member of our tour had a medical emergency just as we arrived in Rome. Once we had him taken care of and the group was walked to it's meeting place later in the day... we were almost too late to meet the Vatican Tour. SURPRISE! They waited and did not have any problems with the lateness thankfully. The tour itself was FANTASTIC. We had a very knowledgeable guide and were well taken care of. Seeing the Sistine Chapel, by itself, is worth the entire cruise.
This tour was a great. You definitely need a skip the line as the line to get in is insane. It got all the spots we wanted to see in our short time we had in Rome. This is a good tour if you have limited time. Ours was 3 hrs and we saw all the highlights ie Sistine Chapel, St Peters. Our tour guide Sarafina was terrific. It was so busy that day and she was able to keep us all together. She was patient, kind and very informative.
Was a rainy day in Rome, but Viator does a very nice job of organizing the meeting location amidst the craziness of the Vatican area. Michaela was our tour guide, and she was very friendly and knowledgeable. An excellent guide. A word of warning for those who take this tour and it happens to be a rainy day. If you take one of those long umbrellas, you will need to check that in at a coat check area adjacent to the entry, then after the tour is over at St. Peter's Basilica, go all the way around the perimeter of the museum and pick up that umbrella at the same location - it's a long walk! One that you don't want to make after a long walking tour. Advice - take a folding umbrella that you can pack away in your very small backpack, which you can carry with you.
Otherwise, an amazing tour of the museum and the Basilica. Thought the Sistine Chapel was a bit of a letdown - amazing masterpiece of art and the circumstances surrounding its completion, but staring up at a ceiling while squished into a rectangular room like herded cattle, while the guards are telling you to be quiet in 4 languages...a bit odd.
But a great experience overall.
So many tourists in Rome from Easter that is tour was the only sane and timely way to get into the Sistine Chapel - which is always worth a visit our third time in there. Basilica was unexpectedly closed by the Pope on the day of this tour which didn't bother us as we went to Masses in the Basilica and did a self tours during the next few days after this tour. Guide was outstanding with the knowledge of the architecture, art work, and history of the Vatican buildings. Definitely worth the price of the tour.
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
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
This was our first time visiting Rome and the Vatican museums. There were lots of people but apparently it's much less crowded in the evening than during the day. Our tour guide made the tour very interesting with lots of stories behind the art. There's way more in the museums than you can see in 3 hours, but this tour hits many of the highlights and gives you time to enjoy the Sistine Chapel at the end. Worth staying up late for.
We arrived in Rome on the Friday and were booked on our tour on Saturday so having never been to Rome before we decided to have a walk to see where we had to meet our group in the morning so we weren't in a panic (we were booked on the 9am tour), we were glad we did because the meeting point is round the back at the entrance to the museums and not the entrance to the Vatican City at the front, this was well explained on the confirmation but we didn't realise how far away the 'back' actually was! We arrived at about 8:15 to have a coffee before we went in at the Cafe Vaticana, it was very expensive 14e for a tea and a coffee!
We headed down the steps in plenty of time to book in and were assigned to Manwella (sorry if that's spelt incorrectly), we went in through the museums, through to the Sistine Chapel and ending up at St. Peter's.
Manwella was an excellent guide, ensuring the group stayed together, checking our ear pieces were working correctly and finding the best spots for us to stand where we could see and hear her perfectly. You could tell that Manwella wasn't just reading from a script and it felt like she was very passionate about the sculptures and fesco's within the Vatican, having a guide made our visit to the Vatican City 100% better, as before we would have enjoyed seeing the Sistine chapel, actually understanding the paintings and looking at the small details Manwella pointed out to us gave it a whole new dimension.
If you're going to go the the Vatican City, go on a tour and we highly recommend Viator, skip the queue and get a great insight into what you are going to see, couldn't imagine doing it any other way.
This tour was definitely worth the cost and then some. I was somewhat skeptical of both getting up that early and the price per person, but my wife convinced me to do it. It was quick and easy to cab to the entrance for the early arrival. We had Rachel -- who was by far the best of all the tour guides we had on our 17-day trip through Italy. She was superb and even recommended other places we might visit on our final day in Rome the next day.
The breakfast was great -- "American" style which is a nice break from eating croissants every day. It is hard to explain how cool it is to be alone inside the Vatican city walls with no one but employees. We were essentially the only 15 people in the Vatican museum for our entire time there. Rachel did a wonderful job of pointing out interesting things in a huge museum that would otherwise be unbelievably overwhelming. Although there were other people present during our time in the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's, they do a great job of getting you all the info you need before hand and showing you the stuff.
Wonderful tour and we would definitely do it again.
We absolutely loved the tour, our tour guide was Dario he was fantastic I could not have asked for a better guide. Dario spoke perfect english, was very attentive and courteous to the group, amazed by his knowledgeable about the Vatican, Sistine, Basilica, Art, Statues and History. Dario brought books for props to show the group specific items in paintings to look for when we got into the Sistine Chapel. It was perfect and nice to know what you were seeing. After the tour Dario gave information visiting the tombs, walking the 537 stairs to the top of the Cupola and other sites to not to miss in Rome. What we were lucky enough to see was overwhelming and amazing, Dario brought everything into perspective and made our day perfect.
We took the Colosseum tour on Saturday and asked for Dario he was not working that tour that day, wish he was.
Sharron H United Kingdom
The Vatican is a must when visiting Rome, and I really can't recommend this 'skip the line' tour enough. We did a few of this company's tours, and they were by far the best organised tour company we dealt with, this tour being no exception. Our guide, Elizabetha, was excellent, friendly, funny and extremely knowledgeable and informative. The tour itself was kind of an 'edited highlights' tour, as you could literally spend days in the museums and barely scratch the surface! Elizabetha was very thoughtful for our comfort - she isn't allowed to speak in the Sistine Chapel, so usually explains the paintings in the courtyard, but gave us the option to stay inside as it was so hot. We braved the sun, however, and she used some illustrative boards to explain to us what we would be seeing once we got inside the Chapel.
While the Sistine Chapel was, unsurprisingly, amazing, as was the rest of the tour, the highlight for me was St. Peter's Basilica, which is where the tour ends. We were allowed to spend as much time there as we wanted (something you can't do in the Sistine Chapel due to the sheer numbers of people wishing to visit), and it literally took my breath away. I don't think I've ever been so moved by a place in my life!
We were speaking to some tourists earlier in the day who said they hadn't bothered with the Sistine Chapel as the line was so long. We didn't have to wait at all to get in, which is the beauty of the skip the line tour. I would have been gutted if I hadn't been able to see it, so I really recommend this tour if only for that reason!
Much better than I thought it was going to be! This is definitely a must see if you're in Rome for a couple days. Plan for 4-5 hours including this 3 hour walking tour. I just thought it a big church, it turns out to be a MASSIVE church.
Things to keep in Mind:
Cover up: The basilica has a dress code so make sure you follow it. If you don't you can't go into the Sistine Chapel or the Basilica. You need to cover your shoulders and you need need shorts or a dress that covers you're knees.
HIKE TO THE TOP OF THE DOME: This is a MUST if you have the energy. It's 5 euro to walk the 500+ steps to the top. 7 euro to take an elevator half way and walk the rest. Amazing views of Rome - highest point in Rome so you can see the entire city on a nice day.
READ THE FINE PRINT: I booked it not realizing that we also had to purchase tickets into the Vatican. 23 euro per person so the whole experience ended up costing about $175. I'm cheap so if I would have known before hand, I probably wouldn't have done it. I'm so glad I didn't though since the whole experience was amazing!
The tour was a full 3 hours. Enjoy!
Meeting the tour guide and group was easy and the tour guide was so pleasant and knowledgeable. She was full of information before we went into the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. Having the information up front let us anticipate and appreciate the history that much more. She was the best guide we had while in Rome and she even helped us get to our hotel after the tour. She refused to leave us until we made arrangements to get to the hotel. It was our first day in Rome after a plane trip without sleep and we were very tired. She deserves a raise, but she wouldn't take any money from us!
We are SO pleased we booked this tour. Our group of 14 people was the first in through the doors of the Vatican and we walked straight to the Sistine Chapel. Our guide told us what we were looking at on the way but we did not stop. We were the only ones in the chapel for about fifteen minutes. It was an amazing feeling and an awesome sight of course. After about 30 mins our guide left us and we wandered around for a couple of hours. When we went back through the chapel again to get to the church the chapel was completely full of people and it was not nearly as special. We needed to be back at our hotel at midday to meet our guide to go on a cruise departing from Rome so only had the morning for this tour. Even though we have done so much since that day we still remark how special it was to be the only ones in the chapel. So amazing. An absolute must when in Rome.
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