Vatican Grottoes Tours

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Vatican Grottoes
Popes have been interred in St. Peter’s Basilica for centuries, and while many papal tombs are inside the basilica, others are located underground in the Vatican Grottoes. Take the stairs down from the transept to view the final resting places of dozens of popes along with a number of royals.

The Basics
The Vatican Grottoes sit below the modern basilica but above the level of the first Christian Roman Emperor Constantine’s original 4th-century basilica. The earliest pope buried in the grottoes is the 9th-century Pope Nicholas I; Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II are also interred there. In addition, the tombs of Queen Christina of Sweden, Emperor Otto II, and Queen Charlotte of Cyprus are located inside along with a number of ornately decorated chapels and a 14th-century fresco of the Madonna by Pietro Cavallini.

Due to the long lines to enter St. Peter’s Basilica and the grottoes, by far the best way to visit is to join a skip-the-line Vatican tour that includes the church and underground tombs. Most small-group tours combine the basilica with other Vatican City highlights like the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and Vatican Gardens.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Grottoes are sacred places and have a very strict dress code to enter, so be sure to wear clothing that covers shoulders and knees.
  • Entry to the basilica requires a security check in St. Peter’s Square; large bags, suitcases, pocketknives, scissors, corkscrews, umbrellas, and other prohibited items can be left in the free cloakroom. 
  • The Vatican Grottoes are not accessible to wheelchairs.

How to Get There
Entrance to the Vatican Grottoes is below the St. Andrew statue near the papal altar inside St. Peter’s Basilica, located on St. Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro) in Vatican City. The closest metro station is Ottaviano.

When to Get There
You can visit the grottoes whenever the basilica is open. Note that the basilica closes each Wednesday morning during the weekly papal audience.

St. Peter’s Tomb
The tomb of St. Peter is not in the Vatican Grottoes, but one level below in the Scavi (archaeological dig), accessible only via a private tour that you must book months in advance through the Vatican’s Excavations Office.
Address: Piazza San Pietro, Citta del Vaticano, Vatican City, Italy
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Best of Rome Sightseeing Pass: Vatican and Ancient Rome

Check off the must-sees of Rome and Vatican City with this all-in-one pass that can be used over two day. Allowing you to visit the sights at your own pace, the prebooked sightseeing voucher includes skip-the-line access to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum, Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, and the papal tombs. Just make one booking, and then use your pass to visit the landmarks at your leisure. An audio guide is also included.
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No Wait Dedicated Access St. Peter's Basilica Self-guided Tour

Enjoy the freedom to explore St Peter's Basilica at your own pace and on your own mobile device with this wifi audio guided tour. Use the access code and the Basilica's wifi to download the audio guide to your phone or tablet.
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No Wait Access to St Peter Basilica and its official audioguide

To dig deep into the history and art of St Peter’s Basilica, explore the church on a self-guided audio tour. Explore St Peter’s Square, walk to the basilica, and jump past the entrance queue with your No Wait Access ticket. Inside, listen to stories about the popes, pilgrims and Renaissance art masters who have left their marks on this iconic Catholic site, whose Michelangelo-designed dome dominates the Rome skyline.
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Entire Vatican & Vatacombs: Treasures of the Sistine Chapel

Unlock the mysteries of the Vatican on this popular 3-hour tour. Follow your guide on a carefully selected route through the Vatican Museum’s hundreds of sprawling rooms to see the most important pieces of this world-class art collection. Gaze up at the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and then head underground to the rarely seen ‘Vatacombs’ — the final resting place of many popes and home to ancient relics. Enjoy priority access to bypass the crowds, including skip-the-line privileges to enter St Peter’s Basilica.
  • Duration: 3 hours
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Peter's Tomb: Exclusive Visit of the Basilica & Its Necropolis

St. Peter’s Basilica may grab you with its grandeur, but much of its history lies in its hidden details. Head beneath the famous church on a 2.5-hour tour and discover the Vatican necropolis, a Roman cemetery that’s said to house the relics of St. Peter the Apostle. Walk amid tombs that trace pagan Rome to the start of Christianity, then return to the basilica for a tour. Michelangelo’s ‘La Pietà’ and Bernini’s bronze baldachin are among the highlights.
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  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
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Michelangelo's Dome & the Papal Tombs - St Peter's Basilica Small Group Tour

Discover the inside, outside, top, and bottom of St Peter’s Basilica on a 2.5-hour small-group guided visit. The tour goes behind the exterior and interior of the UNESCO World Heritage Site with additional visits of the dome and Papal tombs. Get an insider’s knowledge of the iconic and lesser-known artworks by Michelangelo, Bernini, and other influential artists. With maximum six participants per group, you're guaranteed an immersive and engaging tour experience.
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No-Wait Dedicated Access: St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

To dig deep into the history and art of St Peter’s Basilica, explore the church on a walking tour with a Vatican guide. From St Peter’s Square, walk to the basilica, jumping past the entrance queue with your No Wait Access Ticket. Inside, listen to stories about the popes, pilgrims and Renaissance art masters who have left their marks on this iconic Catholic site, whose Michelangelo-designed dome dominates the Rome skyline.
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  • Duration: 1 hour
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The Vatican Necropolis & Private Enchanting Rome City Experience

Explore deep down under the Vatican City and travel through the rarely seen and mostly unknown excavations below Saint Peter’s Basilica. On what is truly the most exclusive of experiences in all of Rome, take part in this expedition into the little known Vatican Necropolis.After, take part in a truly magical experience around Rome guided by your own private driver on an enchanting 2-hour panoramic tour of the eternal city! Take your journey when the city is enriched with an afternoon glow, breathe in the atmosphere of its famous squares, fountains, renaissance and baroque palaces. Truly a charismatic view of the incredible city of Rome. See all the major monuments, as well as some special places, from a unique perspective with the city laid out before your eyes.
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Duration: 4 hours
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No Wait Dedicated Access: St Peter's Basilica including Vatican Mosaic Studio

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Skip-The-Line VIP Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel & Necropolis Small Group Tour

A VIP experience with this  Small Group which includes: Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, the Basilica of St. Peter and in addition the very exclusive tour of the Necropolis, under the Basilica, where Apostle's Tomb is located. The Necropolis, lies under the Vatican City, at depths varying between 5–12 meters below Basilica. After intense study and debate, the Vatican has determined these remains to be those of St. Peter, upon which the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica sits.  You’ll skip the Vatican lines with priority entrance. Step into the deep realm of the underground of the Vatican City and join us on this exclusive tour. Taking you to what lies beneath Saint Peters Basilica, you will discover a truly unique and limited Roman site. Explore the Vatican with your expert official guide!
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Skip the long lines and tour St. Peter’s Basilica and the Treasury Museum on your own. The experience includes an audio guide which explains the magnificent architecture and artworks inside, including the dome which was designed by Michelangelo. You can also tour the Vatican’s Treasury Museum, which holds artifacts, statues, ornaments, and other gifts from important papal visitors throughout history.
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Ultimate VIP Early Entry Tour - Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel with Necropolis

The Ultimate VIP Early Entry tour is the best you could have if you are looking for an exclusive experience. This unique guided tour is organized for a small group of 12 people only, this way you can interact with your expert english speaking guide as if you were on a private tour. This special tour will allow you to enjoy the Vatican highlights, the Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter's Basilica with almost nobody around while most of the other tours offered in the Vatican are held with thousands of other tourists around you.Than you will visit the incredible Vatican Necropolis, once being an ancient Pagan & Christian cemetery and burial ground from the 1st century, this is the presumed location of Saint Peter’s burial tomb. Saint Peter is famously one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ and the first recognized leader and Pope of the Catholic Church. This is perhaps the most sacred site within Vatican City, and amazingly you can now visit it with us on this exclusive experience!
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Vatican tour, 1st day at the Vatican, Vatican Tour, Vatican Museums

In a private tour, the Vatican is introduced to you.Marvel at the collected artworks of the Vatican Museums.The Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, St. Peter's Square, the Vatican Grottoes and, if open, the Teutonic Cemetery.Then there is the possibility to watch Rome from above from an exclusive terrace.
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  • Duration: 3 to 6 hours
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  • Duration: 3 hours
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A Day In Rome With The Vatican Necropolis

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  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Duration: 5 hours
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