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This unique Vatican experiences 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 skip-the-line-entry, 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.

Highlights

  • 2.5-hour St Peter’s Basilica walking tour and Mosaic Studio
  • Skip the lines with 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 Our Insiders Chose This Tour

Meet the local artists working on the mosaics of St Peter’s Basilica and tour the Mosaic Studio, which is not normally open to the public. A great tour for art lovers!

What You Can Expect

Skip the Line: St Peter's Basilica Walking Tour Including Vatican Mosaic Studio

Finish your tour and enjoy free time to admire St Peter's Square

Start your tour in St Peter’s Square, where you’ll meet your guide and walk to St Peter’s Basilica, skipping the entrance line with 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.

Your tour then ends at Conciliazione, a gate manned by St Peter’s Swiss Guards.

Click on the 'View additional info' link to see a map of the meeting location.

View additional info

Customer Reviews

myraucr

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2016

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.

Louis C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2016

Outstanding tour! Easy to find meeting point thanks to detailed instructions from tour provider, Vox Mundi, quick security check with virtually no waiting in line, then a nearly 1.5 hour tour of the Basilica in a group of only 4! by a friendly and extremely knowledgeable guide a nice Romanian lady, can't remember her name although I believe it began with an A. She spoke excellent English and helped us to understand the long and rich history of the site, the Catholic church, and the current basilica new St. Peter's, as well as enlightening us with regard to all of the incredible art and architecture. After the basilica tour, since my mom and I were the only two who'd signed up for the mosaic studio visit, we had a private tour! We were led out of the church and into the heart of Vatican City all of a sudden, there were no throngs of tourists, felt like we were entering behind the scenes by our very kind and personable guide, Valéry. A couple minutes walk took us to the workshop, right next to where Pope Francis lives!, where Valéry gave us a thorough explanation in good English of the workings of this amazing artistic enterprise that creates breathtaking mosaic paintings to be given by the pope as gifts to world leaders and also sold to collectors, in addition to their main role of restoring all of the mosaics in St. Peter's, showing us all of the materials used, examples of different styles of finished pieces, and taking us around to view the half-dozen or so craftsmen as they did their incredible and incredibly painstaking work. Truly fascinating to see them work at all different stages of the process. Felt privileged to have witnessed these artists/artisans carrying on these centuries old traditions. Both parts of the tour were remarkable, and are highly recommended to lovers of art and history, and especially to those who've already visited the Vatican once before as we had and who want something more in-depth and unique. Many thanks!

Tiffany W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

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.

Myrene B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2015

This tour was amazing!

JoyceDC

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2014

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.

Kathryn D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2014

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.

Lorraine W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2014

This was an excellent tour. The meeting place was a bit confusing but everyone was very helpful. The tour of Saint Peter's Basilica was the best one so far! We really enjoyed the intimacy of the Mosaic Studio. I thought it was amazing. The art of the work was incredible. The opportunity to see the work in action was great.

SCOTT L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2014

It was great

Turney T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2014

This tour was very private and had exclusive entry into the Vatican Mosaic studio. Most of all, now having visited the mosaic lab, one can appreciate more of its art work.

Marianne L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2014

We had an amazing tour guide and the Vatican Mosaic tour was an experience not many in group so really personal.
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