In the early morning, meet your guide at the Vatican Museums before the site opens to the public. Depending on the option selected when booking, you’ll be escorted to either the Pinecone Courtyard or the Vatican cafeteria for breakfast, followed by your exclusive tour of the Vatican’s many iconic attractions, from the Sistine Chapel to the Gallery of Maps to the Renaissance artwork inside Raphael’s Rooms.
Both tour options end at St Peter’s Basilica, which you have access to via a VIP entrance. Inside, prepare to be wowed by art like Michelangelo’s Pieta sculpture and Bernini’s Baldacchino canopy. When your tour ends and you say goodbye to your guide, you are welcome to stay inside St Peter’s Basilica.
See the Itinerary section below for details about the two tour options.
Tour with Pinecone Courtyard breakfast:
Take a seat for your outdoor buffet breakfast, which includes Italian and American items such as pastries, meats, cheese, eggs and pancakes made right in front of you. Sip coffee and fresh orange juice while you enjoy the tranquil setting of a quiet Vatican, before the crowds arrive.
After eating, follow your guide into the Vatican Museums complex, which is still closed to the general public at this point (there will probably be a few other pre-booked tour groups inside with you). In your small group limited to 16 people, let your guide show you the highlights of this vast landmark during your 2.5-hour tour. Visit the Gallery of Maps, Gallery of Tapestries and Raphael’s Rooms before making your way to the Sistine Chapel, the pope’s private place of worship where you can gaze in awe at Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam and The Last Judgment frescoes.
Finish up inside St Peter’s Basilica, where you’ll hear about the history of the artwork here before your tour ends.
Tour with breakfast and Vatican Gardens:
Enjoy a hearty American breakfast buffet in the Vatican cafeteria, where you can fill up on croissants, muffins, pancakes, fruit, cereal, cookies and made-to-order eggs, accompanied by espresso, American-style coffee and fresh juice.
After breakfast, hop on an open-air coach for a 45-minute tour through the Vatican City State, listening to historical stories and interesting facts from your guide during the ride. Pass by sights very rarely seen by members of the public, such as the Vatican railway station, the Great Jubilee bell, the meditation gardens used by popes since the 1200s and the pope’s private heliport. The Vatican Gardens are only accessible on select guided tours, so this is a unique way to see more of Vatican City than the typical visitor.
When the coach tour ends, your experience continues back at the Vatican Museums, where you’ll follow your historian guide through the galleries’ many artistic masterpieces, finishing up at St Peter’s Basilica (same Vatican Museums tour as described above).