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Spend a morning or an afternoon at the Vatican with this 2-hour skip-the-line tour of the Vatican Museums (including the Sistine Chapel) and St. Peter's Basilica. Get an up close and personal look at Michelangelo's masterpiece, his murals in the Sistine Chapel that changed the history of painting forever. See Raphael's cherubs. Gawk at the Gallery of Maps. Explore St. Peter's Basilica. And if you want more, upgrade to a full-day tour and visit the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Catacombs and more. Lunch can also be included.

Highlights

  • Vatican and Sistine Chapel tour with transport from Rome to Vatican City
  • Skip the lines at the Vatican Museums with a fast-track entrance ticket
  • See top Vatican attractions: Giuseppe Momo’s spiral staircase, Gallery of the Tapestries and Gallery of Maps
  • Visit the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica and admire Michelangelo masterpieces like La Pieta
  • Upgrade to a full-day tour with an optional lunch, and see the sites of Christian Rome in the afternoon
  • Visit Basilica of San Giovanni, the Roman catacombs and Baths of Caracalla (full-day tour only)

Why Our Insiders Chose This Tour

It's a Vatican tour that can fit a variety of budgets and schedules. Whatever option you choose, you'll avoid long lines at the Vatican Museums and see some top sights in Rome, too!

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Skip the Line: Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Tour

See the spiral stairs in the Vatican Museums

Morning or Afternoon Tour: After choosing between the morning and the afternoon tour, climb aboard the comfortable air-conditioned coach near Rome's Termini railway station. As the bus meanders through the streets of the Eternal City, take in the views and learn about the places you're about to see from your local guide. Pass through aesthetically pleasing Piazza del Popolo and cross the Tiber River, getting a view of the imposing Castel Sant' Angelo. 

Hop off the coach and skip the usually long line to get into the Vatican Museums, home to some of the world's most renowned and recognizable art works. Follow your guide down Guiseppe Momo's bronze spiral staircase to the art and linger in the great Gallery of Tapestries and Gallery of Map. 

Learn about the Flemish tapestries that grace the walls and about how they were based on paintings by students of Raphael, the Renaissance-era painter whose wall frescos of angels and cherubs are also in the museum. Then head to the Sistine Chapel, the room that Michelangelo painted and, perhaps, boasts some of the most famous images in the history of painting. Look out particularly for The Last Judgment and The Creation of Adam

After lingering in the Sistine Chapel for a while, head over to St. Peter's Basilica, the most important Catholic church in the world. And don't miss another Michelangelo masterpiece: his amazing sculpture of La Pieta. Also don't miss Bernini's Baldachino, used from bronze stripped off of the Pantheon. Learn about the history of the church from your guide and hear little-known stories about the building and its construction. 

Full-Day Tour or Full-Day Tour with Lunch:
Upgrade to a full-day tour which combines the morning with a walking tour of Christian Rome in the afternoon. 

Meet the guide and get ready for an engaging tour of Rome, seeing the most legendary Christian landmarks in this city. Stroll around Esquiline Hill, one of the city's famed seven hills, and home to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, a massive church. Then head over to San Giovanni in Laterano, or St. John Lateran, a basilica that is the official church of the pope. Next door take a moment to see the Holy Steps, supposedly the staircase that was part of Pontius Pilate's palace in Jerusalem, which Christ would have walked on for his trial. Today pilgrims ascend the 28 steps on their knees, saying a prayer for each step. 

At the top of the steps in the Sancta Sanctorum, or Holy of Holies, a room that was once a depository for some of the holiest relics in Christendom. Objects included the heads of Sts. Peter and Paul, a chunk of wood from the table where the Last Supper was eaten, and the Holy Foreskin, the prepuce of Jesus, which was stolen in 1527 by a marauding German soldier in the Sack of Rome. (It ended up in the medieval hill town of Calcata, just north of the city.)

Later head to the Appian Way, an ancient Roman road to visit some important early Christian churches, including the Chapel of Domine Quo Vadis, which boasts a cemented imprint of the ghost of Christ. Also visit some of the catacombs, burial grounds of the early Christian community. After exploring underground, visit the old spa ruins at the Baths of Caracalla, and then finish your tour with a hotel drop-off or a drop-off in town.

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Customer Reviews

David S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

Great day, skipping the lines on a rainy day was really helpful. Speed of tour about right to see the museums and Sistine Chapel. Audio equipment supplied meant we could get some insight to the exhibits and kept as close to our guide in a very busy attraction. Luckily the rain had stopped when we left St.Peters, but it was quite a long walk back to the bus. The bus did do 'drop offs' as we went back through Rome to Terminii station. A good day and worth the money.

Danielle B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2016

The tour was very well done and the guide very knowledgeable. well wroth seeing if you have the time. It takes a whole morning or afternoon.

markschimel

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

We were very fortunate to have an amazing tour guide in Vanessa. She was very knowledgeable, charming, warm, funny and just a perfect tour guide. This is a very crowded venue, with a lot to see and discover so a tour guide is all but essential in any case. Vanessa gave us an in depth talk about the ceiling of the Sistine chapel using a scarf she has as you can not talk in the chapel. Overall, the Vatican is a must see if you are in Rome and a great tour guide makes is the only way to see it.

Dwinderjit V

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

Incredibly interesting and fascinating tour.

Karim C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

Very interesting and the guide was very good

Jerry G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

So happy we did this tour, well worth the money!

Ronald L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

The Vatican a nightmare of tourists in the summer. If you can skip visiting Italy in the summer, do it, otherwise do this tour. The tour goes into the art Museum, Sistine Chapel, the Tomb of the Popes, and St Peter and #39;s Basilica. I and #39;d recommend this to anyone visiting Rome the first time.

Claude C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

This tour was amazing!

kevinsoares

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

Our tour guide Max was our favorite tour guide!!! He was very passionate and fun! Possibly would want more time to shop at the end.

Craig T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2016

Our guide was amazing as he described so much stuff on this tour. He was very informative and a joker at the same time. He recommended trying to get the earlier tours which we had as there are more people that go in the afternoon and then you don't have the time to talk about stuff because you are being herded through the hallways. But I definitely recommend doing this tour and try for the morning!

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