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The overall experience was acceptable and the guild's knowledge was beyond expectations but the package as falsely advertise resulting in a mediocre rating. There was quite a line to enter the attraction and by the time we arrived at the Sistine Chapel it was crowded with perhaps 600 other customers and guides. This was during peak season on a Saturday July 21st but the description of the tour does not mention any difference in experience during peak season. Lastly from observation of all the historical attractions in Rome, there is not true skip the line. There is only two types of line, one is for groups with tour guides and the other is for individuals without a group. I hope this is posted and helps others choice wisely.
This tour of the Vatican Museums was superb, because of 2 main reasons. First was getting in earlier than most and getting to see the tour mostly free from the crushing crowd. Second was the theme of the tour by a profoundly knowledgeable art historian: Michaelangelo versus Raphael. It at times was slightly over my head, but piqued my interest in the subject. Our guide was amazing.
We moved pretty fast, trying to stay ahead of the mob. Once it started getting more crowded it became more challenging to keep up and stay together. By the end we were in the soup, but he took us behind the ropes for a bit, and we had the area to ourselves.
I wouldnt see the Vatican Museums any other way! Well worth the price.
Early entrance is key if you want to experience the Sistine without feeling like a sardine. Also our Guide, ERIK, was wonderful...this is his thing and it was so wonderful to hear him share from his bottomless well of knowledge. Thank you Eric for the great lessons and memories. Loved our guided tour of the vatican and Sistine Chapel...Wish we would also have signed up for a guided tour of St. Peters.
The guide, Lorenzo, was a serious art expert and extremely knowledgeable. We met at 7:30 at their office which is a block and 1/2 or so away from the entrance to the gallery. We waited outside the Vatican Museum entrance with other groups until the doors opened at 8. I had assumed that our early admission would enable us to gain access before most of the crowds, but it took quite a lot of time for us to even get into the galleries. We were in the Vatican Museum, but outside the building itself, looking at some of the views, and finally looking still outside at La Laocoön at 9:45 am which left us far less time on the tour to finally get inside for the extensive and major works. Finally I asked about getting into the Sistine Chapel before the hordes of other tourists and was told that it everyone thinks it's better to go there first, and it is better not to, as that's when it's really jammed. Well, by the time we got there, the Sistine Chapel was completely jammed with people, there was constant calls from the guards to the large crowd to be quiet. If you think you will have an advantage to gaining early and less crowded access into the museum and specifically into the Sistine Chapel, this is not the way to do it. I do wonder if the guides have arrangements with the Vatican so as to control how many people actually go to the Chapel first. I don't know if there is another way to avoid this problem, possibly the very expensive 400-500 Euro evening tour?.
Lorenzo was by far the most educated art historian we had on our tour of Italy, and I highly recommend him. With the plethora of companies offering skip the line tours, some very expensive ones, be sure you know what you are getting. Joining a tour at whatever time of day to gain you access without standing on long lines is a good idea, but the early entrance here didn't help us avoid large crowds. There are lots of skip the line tours offered for many sites around Italy, and for the most part I think you can avoid paying very high fees and plan your entrances or reserve on the official museum sites without paying exorbitant fees.
We choose this tour after finding information about it online. I have to say, it was absolutely wonderful!! Tonia was our guide and she was simply fantastic. Very knowledgeable, funny, and engaging, she showed us a great side of the Vatican. One we would never have seen on our own. I HIGHLY recommend this tour if you want to get into the Vatican early and be able to spend some quality time seeing the amazing Sistine Chapel and all of the outstanding pieces in the Vatican museum. It was more than worth the money we spent. Thanks for making this a fabulous visit, Tonia and Italy With Us!
Our guide, Erik, was fabulous. So knowledgeable and so good at explaining different aspects of the art and the buildings. Loved the early entrance as it was awesome to see the Sistine Chapel with only a handful of other people milling about. Would have loved a bit more time in the museums. I have to admit I felt like a gibbering idiot as all I could say was wow at everything we saw
Wow, what extensive knowledge of such an important historical part of history. I would strongly consider this tour as it made our visit so easy and enjoyable. I'm almost speechless and the quality of the guides here in Rome, and going in early to beat the crowds is a MUST as it gets very congested. You don't know me, but I urge you to take this tour these guys are so informative and are real pros and getting you in and out. Thanks for being part of my family's trip of a lifetime!
The skip the line feature is fantastic and so is the Sistine chapel. But to my knowledge, we didn't see any secret rooms and our tour guide was in a hurry to get to his next booking. I don't feel like I saw anything at all in the Vatican museum except for a rushed walk through of the map room and the Sistine chapel.