This unique Vatican experience combines a guided walking tour of St. Peter’s Basilica with a visit to the 16th-century Mosaic Studio, which is typically closed to the public. With your skip-the-line admission, go straight inside the Renaissance church to see its artistic highlights like the tomb of St. Peter and the mosaics of the Michelangelo-designed dome. Then head to the studio (Studio del Mosaico) to meet artists who work on the restoration of the historical mosaic pieces. Select a departure time when booking.
2.5-hour St Peter’s Basilica walking tour and Mosaic Studio
Fast-track access to St Peter's Basilica
Walk through a private section of Vatican City on your way to the Mosaic Studio
See how mosaics are repaired and restored at the workshop, closed to the general public
Hear commentary from a Vatican guide through an audio headset, and meet the studio director
Tour limited to 20 people
Why Travelers Choose This Tour
This fast-track access ticket unlocks a mosaic studio not normally open to the public.
Start your tour in St Peter’s Square, where you’ll meet your guide and walk to St Peter’s Basilica, taking advantage of your fast-track access. As you follow your guide through the world’s biggest Catholic church and Italian Renaissance icon, listen to narration through your audio headset about the basilica’s long history and construction on the site where St. Peter the Apostle was crucified.
Your walking tour takes in highlights such as Michelangelo’s La Pietà statue and the statue of St. Peter, whose foot has been rubbed or kissed by thousands of pilgrims and other visitors over the years. Pass by dozens of papal tombs, and gaze up at the mosaics that decorate Michelangelo’s enormous cupola.
Then learn more about these historical mosaics as you leave the basilica and walk through a private area of Vatican City to the Mosaic Studio, which sits next to the building where the pope resides and is typically closed to the public. Meet the workshop director, who leads you through the studio, established in 1578 by Pope Gregorio XIII. As you learn about the expert artists who work on the restoration of the mosaics, which cover 32,800 square feet (10,000 square meters) of the basilica, you can see some of the techniques used.
Click on the 'View additional info' link to see a map of the meeting location.
St. Peter's Square
The most famous and the biggest square of the Vatican City. It is from here that you may see the Pope blessing. In the middle of the huge square enjoy the Obelisk from Egypt (over 2500 years old).
Enjoy the most unique experience in the Vatican City. Visit with our guides the MOSAIC SCHOOL (Studio del Mosaico) and enjoy the masterpieces prepared (you will see artist at work) by the professional restorers. The Mosaic Studio is next to the POPE Residence in the Vatican City. Enjoy and learn the different stages of the preparation of the masterpieces.
This was a great tour. Our guide, Paola, did a wonderful job. We especially enjoyed having access to the Vatican Mosaic Studio and learning so much about this important aspect of the Vatican culture. We were able to observe artists employing methods and materials exactly the same as those used to create the mosaics in St. Peters. It greatly added to our experience of visiting such a special place.
Fantastic tour - our guide Paula was very informative. We visited the Studio before going into the St Peter's Basilica, which was opposite of what I expected. Visiting the studio first was so useful - I believe it enriched our experience inside St Peter's. Definitely worth both the time and money.
The Mosaic studio is one of the lifetime unique experience because you are not allowed not enter the studio inside vatican city without joining the tour. The staff showed me how the color on the mosaic glass created in furnance, how different kind of mosaic art put together. There are over 27000 different color of mosaic glass, They are the only studio commissioned by pope to make art piece for him as gift to foreign head of state.
This tour was amazing. I was in Italy for over 2 weeks and this was by far my favorite things. It is amazing seeing how the mosaics are repaired and created. Better than anything else I did. 5 stars is not enough. This is a MUST do tour. I am so happy I found it.
The tour of the Basilica was excellently conducted by our guide and we were split into small groups with a guide for each group, and I think the guide catered to our interest to an extent. There was much reference to Popes etc, BUT very acceptable in the context of the art as the main focus, which was our interest, and within the devout personality of the woman guide we had. Walking to the mosaic studio was interesting in itself as the area we walked through was deserted apart from security guards. The Director of the studio gave us an interesting talk and display of what the mosaic studio does and how it does it. He also let us know they also took private commissions. Good value for the money, and we skipped the line to the Basilica. A bit spooky being left to walk out through security and the deserted area by ourselves when the tour finished...
This was an absolutely incredible tour. The first hour was a general tour in the basilica, then we were handed off to the special Vatican guide who took us back to the Mosaic Studio where we learned the techniques used for restoring the mosaic works, met and watched several of the artists at work, and the archives where all the colored mosaic pieces are kept. We went back to the basilica several days later on our own to re-look at what we had first thought were huge paintings to look more closely at the intricate mosaic work of their construction. Absolutely the best tour ever for someone who loves art and architecture.
This might be the best tour I have ever taken, and I have taken quite a few. I didn't realize that the Basilica tour was befor the Mosaic Studio tour. Frankly, I think the order should be reversed. My legs were tired from the first half of our day (our tour was at 2:30) and walking around the Basilica for an hour wasn't pleasant for me, but I am over 60. I learned on the tour that all the "paintings" in the Basilica were in fact mosaics. I didn't know that, nor did my sister-in-law. We had both been to the Basilica numerous times before and it was never mentioned on any tour I had been on. Watching the artists work on the mosaics, seeing how they restored the ancient mosaics and the newer ones was fascinating. Our guide was wonderful, enthusiastic and knowledgeable, his name was Valery. I would take this tour again in a heartbeat, but would like to skip the Basilica tour. I would pay the same price for the mosaic tour alone. We returned to the Basilica another day to view the mosaics in a completely different light and with a much greater appreciation. Really, this was a great tour.