Vatican tours with skip-the-line access are sought-after, so even the fast-track lines are long. This experience includes admission through a special entrance, so there are no lines whatsoever. Follow your guide directly inside the vast collection of private artwork that is the Vatican Museums.
Walk through the Gallery of the Maps and Gallery of Tapestries as you listen to tales of Vatican intrigue. Gaze at artifacts such as timeworn yet fascinating Italian maps, and admire the sculptures and candelabras of the Gallery of Candelabras. Stop for photos in front of the Pigna statue in the Pinecone Courtyard, designed by Donato Bramante.
Raphael’s Rooms are a series of galleries that highlight the talent of the lauded Renaissance artist himself. Pass through the rooms, and then step inside the Sistine Chapel—the pope’s personal place of worship and a highlight of any Vatican trip. Stand beneath Michelangelo’s 'The Creation of Adam,' which cloaks the ceiling, and admire 'The Last Judgement,' his colorful mural that adorns a wall.
After your Sistine Chapel visit, continue to St. Peter’s Basilica, the symbolic heart of the Catholic church. Learn about its history and see more Vatican art including Michelangelo’s 'La Pietà,' which was sculpted when the maestro was only 24 years old. Gaze at the baldachino by Bernini, and then say goodbye to your guide in St. Peter’s Square.
Keep in mind that St. Peter's Basilica and St. Peter's Square might be unavailable on Wednesdays due to the weekly Papal Audience. As an alternative, enjoy an extended itinerary within the Vatican Museums, which still includes the Sistine Chapel and Raphael's Rooms. If you want to make sure that St. Peter's Basilica and Square are included in your tour, don't select Wednesday as your travel date.
If you want to enhance your Vatican experience, select one of the following experiences:
Small-Group Tour in the morning: Enter the Vatican Museums as soon as it opens, before the other lines enter. Your tour is limited to 12 people for personal attention and information about the Vatican’s must-see sights.
Tour in the evening: Explore the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel after the doors close to the general public. A visit to St. Peter’s Basilica is not included.