Skip-the-Line: Early Entrance Vatican Tour with Secret Rooms and St Peter's Church - Reviews

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Monique A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
October 2017

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.

nancy h

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2017

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.

Jennifer S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2017

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!

azion970

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
March 2017

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!

Lara K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
November 2016

Before I review the actual tour, let me just give kudos to this fabulous tour company! Due to one bad thing after another debit card not working, lost on way to train station, missing train by one minute happening, we were late. The paperwork for the tour says to be there at 730am sharp and it was 10 til 8 when we got off the train near the vatican. Someone from the office came and found us and ran us to the entrance and sweet talked our way in because it was after 8am and they didn't have to allow us to enter! This was definitely beyond what they had to do for us! We were so appreciative! Now for the tour itself, our guide Cesare, he was amazing! He was very easy to understand. Also they give you an earphone to hear him even when you are a ways away from him. He quickly walked us to the Sistine chapel before there were too many people there. He left us for 20 minutes or so to absorb and appreciate the beauty of the place! I didn't understand what he meant by later it will be VERY crowded but I did soon enough! So glad he took us to the chapel first! Once we left there, I could appreciate being able to have room to move in the Sistine Chapel! Cesare has a passion for art and the history of this place and knew SO MUCH and was ready for any question! This tour is a lot of walking and there are some stairs...wear your walking shoes for sure! The vatican was amazing and I feel as though I know so much more for having been on this tour! You will see Raphaels rooms, the sistine chapel, the crypt and St Peter's Basilica, you will be ready for a sit down at the end but it will have been well worth it! After the tour is over you can go into the Jubilee area at no cost and even sit in a quiet room that holds John Paul II's remains. The room was supposed to be quiet but not everyone in there respected the rules. This has nothing to do with the tour but it, even with the chatty people, was something I was glad I did! Plus you can rest your feet for a few minutes in the peace of the place!

Lara K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
November 2016

Before I review the actual tour, let me just give kudos to this fabulous tour company! Due to one bad thing after another debit card not working, lost on way to train station, missing train by one minute happening, we were late. The paperwork for the tour says to be there at 730am sharp and it was 10 til 8 when we got off the train near the vatican. Someone from the office came and found us and ran us to the entrance and sweet talked our way in because it was after 8am and they didn't have to allow us to enter! This was definitely beyond what they had to do for us! We were so appreciative! Now for the tour itself, our guide Cesare, he was amazing! He was very easy to understand. Also they give you an earphone to hear him even when you are a ways away from him. He quickly walked us to the Sistine chapel before there were too many people there. He left us for 20 minutes or so to absorb and appreciate the beauty of the place! I didn't understand what he meant by later it will be VERY crowded but I did soon enough! So glad he took us to the chapel first! Once we left there, I could appreciate being able to have room to move in the Sistine Chapel! Cesare has a passion for art and the history of this place and knew SO MUCH and was ready for any question! This tour is a lot of walking and there are some stairs...wear your walking shoes for sure! The vatican was amazing and I feel as though I know so much more for having been on this tour! You will see Raphaels rooms, the sistine chapel, the crypt and St Peter's Basilica, you will be ready for a sit down at the end but it will have been well worth it! After the tour is over you can go into the Jubilee area at no cost and even sit in a quiet room that holds John Paul II's remains. The room was supposed to be quiet but not everyone in there respected the rules. This has nothing to do with the tour but it, even with the chatty people, was something I was glad I did! Plus you can rest your feet for a few minutes in the peace of the place!

Katrin T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2016

The guide Erik was the best guide ever!
Excellent tour and so worth it!

Andre D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2015

Tour was outstanding. Really enjoyed our time and it was great to get into the Sistine Chapel before it got too crowded.

carol

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
November 2015

Linda the tour guide was fab and she has great respect from the Vaticn guards as well. it is very apparent when we walk the halls they all acknowledge her. she got us into the chapel very early before the crowds and it was terrific. One thing is that she didnt know about the origin of the Last Supper being a Jewish Passover seder. Please let her know this becasue it is important to the understanding of the art and the chapel. Great guide and very informative about the Vatican and all the paintings. She loves her job and it shows.

M B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
November 2015

The tour was excellent and Sonja was very knowledgeable. Thank you so much!

Deanna R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
October 2015

Our tour guide was wonderful and full of great knowledge about the Vatican and Sistine chapel.
While waiting in line to get into the Vatican, our tour guide used an ipad to show us pictures of the paintings in the Sistine chapel and gave us a detailed description behind them. Not only did this make the wait time to get into the Vatican feel quicker, but it helped me appreciate the Sistine chapel a lot more because I had a better understanding of the works of art.
The tour is fast paced especially in the beginning, but the reasoning was to get to the Sistine chapel before the rest of the early entrance tours. This gave us plenty of time to see the beauty without the large crowd. I couldn't believe how much our tour guide was able to get in for 3 hours. I felt if I went on my own, I would not only miss out on a lot of things but I wouldn't know the history behind everything.
Definitely recommend this tour.

veena

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2015

The blue badge guide was knowledgable and enthusiastic. Recommend it.

Sheri A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
September 2015

This tour is a great way to see the Vatican. Seeing the Sistine with only a handful of people in the room was thrilling. We took our time in the Sistine and was able to look from every vantage point or sit on the benches around the perimeter. After going into the gardens to learn more from our guide, we came back into the Sistine but after the general public was allowed to enter. I couldn't imagine waiting in line for hours, only to be shuffled through the crowds, shoulder to shoulder. Our guide was great Cesare and provided us a great deal of interesting info on the Vatican and it's history. I would recommend this tour if your plans involve the Sistine or Vatican Museum.

RWBgold7 .

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
June 2015

Great experience to the Vatican!

Knowledge and helpful guide on our route through the Vatican City before the general public.
Early start to the morning and a little pricey, but the experience is totally worth it.
Tour guide Linda was awesome and highly recommend her to others wanting fun/informational experience.

Recap:
Met tour guide 1-2 blocks from Vatican entrance 7:30a.
Our tour had two visits to the Sistine chapel with first 15-20 minutes before it fills up with hundreds of people. After that we toured the other top highlights of the vatican with a small lesson of the Sistine Chapel painting hidden secrets. We then returned back to Sistine chapel for another 15-20 minutes with general public viewing shoulder to shoulder to find the hidden secrets.

Tons of history, sculptures, tapestries, and paintings throughout the tour, before our guide released our group to St. Peter's. Perfect amount of information and guided tour for a half day excursion. Saves the afternoon to relax or to head to the next highlight.

Renee C

4 star rating: Recommended
July 2017

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.

Alison B

4 star rating: Recommended
June 2017

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

Lui

4 star rating: Recommended
October 2015

Early Entrance is definitely the way to go! With this early entrance, we have minimal people in the Sistine Chapel and that allows us to appreciate the works.

Our guide speaks very good and clear English. He has good and interesting knowledge of The Vatican.

Overall we like this tour but two parts that need to be improved :

1 The walk was way too fast we did not have time to appreciate the other works. Perhaps the time in the Sistine Chapel could be shortened to allow for this we had about 30-40 mins in the Sistine Chapel and the whole tour was only 2.5hours

2 Our tour was supposed to include the exclusive access to 'the cabinet of the Masks' but we were not brought there.

Overall, I recommend this tour.

jonathan

4 star rating: Recommended
October 2015

The tour operator gave a wrong address ie: of the adjoining building. The tour started late and by the time we reaced inside the Museum, it was 25 minutes past 8 O'clock. In real sense it was not a skip the line tour as very soon we encountered a lot of crowds inside the museum. Please tell the operator to be punctual
jonathan James Beecham

Danielle B

4 star rating: Recommended
October 2015

4 stars!

Elizabeth V

4 star rating: Recommended
September 2015

The line for the Vatican is extremely long. Highly recommend a skip the line tour. Be prepared to walk fast and climb stairs. The tour is fast paced, but the best way to see the highlights with the least people 8am, skip the line tour

Geraldine P

4 star rating: Recommended
September 2015

Tour was good. The audio devices had a lot of static and the guide had a heavy accent.

It does get you into the Sistine Chapel with only 300 people as opposed to 2,000 at the normal time.

jack.nugent

3 star rating: Worth doing
June 2016

My expectation of early entry vs. the reality were two different things.It was worth it to do the early entrance, but there were still hundreds realistically probably 400-500 of people in the Sistine Chapel by the time we got there. We had a Saturday, 8am early entrance. Arrived as requested at the meeting point at 7:30 am. After waiting in multiple lengthy lines so not truly skip the line but get in the slightly faster moving line, got in to the Vatican by about 8:20 am and made it to the Sistine Chapel by 8:45 am. Our tour guide, Francisco, was pretty good, but almost came off as a live version of an audio tour. Honestly, based upon seeing the hundreds of other tour groups, I think you would get the same exact experience from any other early entrance tour - so it's probably best to go by price.

mharrell99

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
November 2016

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.

dianne b

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
October 2015

I was not so thrilled about this tour as I was into more of history and our tour guide was more of the arts...

Anthony R

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
July 2016

This tour was the worst in our Italy experience. Our guide seemed like a nice and knowledgeable individual but he was too soft spoken and he often speed-walked ahead of us to the point of losing our small group of four. We had no audio assistance and with the large crowds we could barely hear him if at all. When we stopped in a quiet area and he spoke to us, he actually spoke at us and never asked us if we had questions. Several times we had to actually interrupt his monologue in order to ask him a question. It was as if he had the whole tour memorized and was taking himself on the tour. He apologized for rushing us but he said that his company had wanted him to go to the Coloseum to do another tour there at 11:00. We were supposed to see Secret Rooms but if we did, they were a secret too us because none of us recall any secret rooms. When the tour completed, he showed us the exit and left us in St Peters so he could make it to his next tour, when we walked outside we had no idea where we were and because we walked out past the gate, we were not allowed back in and thus we had to walk around the entire perimeter of the vatican to get back to where we started a 45 min walk in 95 degree heat. We were very disappointed and we would never recommend this company for this tour. The Vatican and St Peters were beautiful so go and see them. There were many other tours to choose from and most offered audio devices to be able to hear your guide as it gets extremely noisy in the large crowds. Also, don't be misled by the claim that this tour skips the lines there is a line but albeit much shorter than when the Vatican opens to the public. This experience completely ruined our high expectations that we had for the Vatican and St Peters.

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