Head to Via Germanico at 7:30am and meet your guide. With your skip-the-line ticket in hand, you’ll then step inside the Vatican Museums to explore its hallowed halls, which are crammed with influential artwork that was amassed by the popes. Works by Michelangelo, Raphael, and Giotto take pride of place.
Next, you’ll head into the Sistine Chapel where Michelangelo’s acclaimed frescoes cover the ceiling and the far wall. Listen to your audio guide as you gaze skyward to see the largest fresco ever painted by one person. From the chapel, you’ll leave the main Vatican buildings and enjoy an hour-long stroll around St. Peter’s Square and the gardens with your guide.
Your stroll takes you to the Vatican train station, and it’s here that you’ll board your train for the journey to Castel Gandolfo, a retreat long favored by the popes. A highlight here is the Apostolic Palace, which only opened to the public in 2016.
With your guide, you’ll explore the elaborate interiors, seeing works by Bernini and learning about the palace’s architect Carlo Maderno. Hop aboard a mini-train to ride around the Barberini Gardens, and listen to an audio guide to learn about the palace’s significance for the popes. Stop for a snack from the pope’s private farm before you leave, then return by train to the Vatican. Your tour ends around 6:15pm.