I highly recommend organising a private tour of the Vatican, whether it's your first time or your fourteenth. One tip is to clarify your meeting point ahead of schedule. Most tours meet across the road from the Vatican at the small coffee shop but on this occasion we met directly in front of the ticket office. (which wasn't really clear on the email and necessitated a bit of running around). In any event, all good as we had the lovely Lucretia as our guide. You get an early entry into the Vatican as soon as it opens so no queuing is required, which is wonderful as by 9.00am the queues are down the block. We were able to view the various corridors and artworks at our leisure and at a pace that suited us. The main bonus was visiting the Sistine Chapel with barely anyone else in there. The ONLY time I have ever heard it so quiet....St Peter's is always packed but a private guide again gives you the chance to see what you want when you want for as long as you want. I absolutely recommend seeing the Vatican this way.
Our guide was Gabrielle. What an interesting young man. He never referred to any noted, he was quite a historian. He talked about the different artists, their talents and abilities, and even the rivalries between them. He snaked us through huge group tours so we could stand at the best vantage point to see a tapestry, a painting, or a ceiling. We actually skipped several exhibits, he explained their significance, and then we moved on to something else. His enthusiasm was contagious, we couldn't wait to see where he was taking us next. The private tour is more expensive and worth every penny! With Gabe and his easy banter and story telling ability, I got a better understanding of ancient Rome and how the Pope(s) affected it.
Our tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable and told us stories about historical times and events throughout the whole tour which was awesome. We did have to wait a little to get in but we were one of the first groups to get in once they opened the doors. It would be impossible to see and learn everything there and our tour guide made sure we got the essentials and she was very detailed. Would definitely recommend!
I absolutely loved this tour!!! The Vatican museums are amazing and awe-inspiring. Our tour guide, Lorenzo, was phenomenal and provided our group of three with so much knowledge and interesting facts. The full tour was about 3.5 hours and he also took us to St. Peter's Basilica which is right outside of the Vatican museums. Do not leave the museums without going to the cathedral. It was definitely one of my tour highlights while in Rome. We were able to see La Pieta and the resting place of Pope John Paul II among other Popes in the Basilica. In the Vatican museums, we saw the Sistine Chapel which was amazing. Prior to having reached the chapel, Lorenzo had already explained the history behind Michelangelo and Perugino's paintings. There is no talking allowed in the Sistine Chapel and you cannot ask your tour guides any questions during this time or take any pictures. We also walked through the Raphael rooms which were beautifully preserved works of art. Overall, I would highly recommend this tour!!
Valentina made our private tour wonderful from start to finish! She was knowledgeable, friendly, informative, and patient with us. She greeted us warmly even though we were 20 minutes late darn GPS and still found ways to help us get around the lines that we would have missed had we been on time. It seemed that one or another member of our family of five was always straggling off or behind, standing in awe in front of some amazing painting or sculpture and she never scolded us. The history! The antiquity! If you have the option, I definitely recommend going 'private tour.'
This was my favorite tour in all of Italy. Our tour guide was AMAZING and catered to what we were interested in... giving us more time if we wanted it and less if it was something we weren't terribly interested in. She was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable about everything!! It was money well spent for our family. We didn't mind having to get there a bit early, since we didn't want to be rushed through the Vatican. I definitely recommend this if you have a family of 4-6 people!
My family and I love this tour. Although you do have to get up a bit early and there are so many groups in the area that it was a bit difficult to find our guide, it was well worth every penny. Because we were able to skip the line and had early entrance we were able to enjoy many sights without feeling crushed by the crowds. Our guide let us choose which part of the gallery we wanted to see before moving on to the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters. The art was overwhelming and spectacular and our guides knowledge of the works seemed to be endless. We were able to spend as much time as we wanted in the Chapel before heading over to St. Peters. We were amazed again by the knowledge of our guide and the sheer size of the church. Exploring the Vatican really needs to be its own vacation!