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Enjoy a unique, in-depth Vatican experience on this private tour that includes visiting the cupola of St Peter’s Basilica and the usually-closed Vatican Mosaic Studio (Studio del Mosaico). With an informative private guide, you’ll ride up to Michelangelo’s enormous dome for an up-close look at his mosaic design and an unbeatable view of Rome. At the fascinating and rarely visited Mosaic Studio, learn about the expert artists who work on the restoration of the historical mosaic pieces. Skip-the-line entry to the very popular St Peter’s Basilica is the icing on the cake! Select a departure time when booking.

Highlights

  • 4.5-hour walking tour of the Vatican with a private guide
  • Bypass the queues with skip-the-line entry to St Peter’s Basilica and its cupola
  • Marvel at the magnificent art and architecture of the church
  • Take in panoramic views from the cupola
  • Gain exclusive access to the Mosaic Studio
  • Meet the diligent master craftsmen who restore the Vatican’s elaborate mosaics
  • Private, small-group tour limited to 10 people, ensuring an in-depth, personalized experience

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Vatican Private Tour of St Peter's Basilica including the Cupola and Vatican Mosaic Studio

Admire the 'cupola' (dome) of the Basilica from inside!

Your private tour starts in the heart of the Vatican, where you’ll meet your guide at St Peter’s Square. Begin your walking tour at the Mosaic Studio, a workshop typically closed to the public where skilled artists use traditional techniques to restore and protect the Vatican's many mosaics. Learn how they keep the historical pieces in prime condition, and hear about the gifts often given by the pope to dignitaries who come to the Vatican on official visits.

Next, walk over to St Peter’s Basilica, home to Renaissance treasures like Michelangelo’s La Pietà sculpture. Go straight inside with your skip-the-line entry to ride the elevator up to the cupola, Michelangelo’s famous dome that dominates the Rome skyline. Look down at the nave below, and enjoy an up-close look at the mosaics that line the cupola’s interior. Then climb 300 steps to the upper level, the highest viewpoint in Rome, for unparalleled views of the city.

Return to ground level to continue your walking tour with your private guide, listening to tales about the Vatican’s long history and many popes. Your tour ends at St Peter’s Square, from where you can explore more on your own.

Please note: The order of your tour may vary based on events taking place at the Vatican on the day of your tour. The afternoon tour begins with the St Peter's Basilica portion. Click on the 'View additional info' link to see a map of the meeting location.

View additional info

Customer Reviews

Christine E

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. It said private and it was. Tour guide and just us 2. No one else. We were introduced to the director of the Mosaic Studio who showed us the operation of his workshop of 11 artisans. Great. And then, again, just us 2 with a private guide through the Basilica and to the Cupola with earphones so we could hear the guide clearly - good quality and a knowledgeable guide. We will do a similar tour again.

Michael B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

one of the best experiences ever ...

Dava S United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2016

Amazing tour. We had limited time in the mosaic studio, but it was amazing! The guide for our tour of St Peter's was phenomenal. We went up to the cupola, but did not hike it to the top for view. I did that last year and got very claustrophobic. Would highly recommend.

Diane T

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2016

Cosimo was the best tour guide, he spoke perfect English which made everything so much better. He was very knowledgeable and we enjoyed every minute of this tour. It is amazing the mosaic - they are so beautiful and the people designing them are so very talented. I would recommend this tour guide and tour to everyone. Cosimo also gave us a wonderful pizza suggestion, it was the best we had.

joannemason

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2016

Absolutely amazing, photos don't do it justice, and the mosaic studio was so interesting and we actually saw commissioned pieces being made. The gentleman who explained everything that goes on was excellent. So worth a visit

Terry

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2015

Excellent Tour Guide. Very knowledgeable, friendly, and professional.

John C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2015

First class experience excellent guides!

Jennifer C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2015

This is one of the best tours in Rome. I had previously done a tour of the Vatican museum and the Sistine Chapel with St Peter's added on at the end. I wanted a more in depth look of the basilica and this was the perfect tour. We started in the Vatican Mosaic Studio which is next to the residence of the Pope! where the director of the studio gave us the entire tour. You are given special access to a behind the scene view of how artists work on and restore the mosaics in the basilica. The intricacy and artistry of their current and ongoing work was amazing to see up close. Later on my friend and I marveled that we were taken to an area of Vatican City where very few tourists go. It also gave us a special appreciation for the art work that we viewed later in the church. After this is completed about an hour then you meet with your guide to St Peter's. We appreciated the small private tour as we could take our time and enjoy at our leisure. Our guide was Mercedes. She was friendly, very informative, and allowed us to ask as many questions as we wanted. She has a good knowledge of the history, special sites in the Basilica and stories to go along with the history.
We finished our tour with a skip the line elevator ride up to the dome where Mercedes again spent time pointing out special areas that we would have missed on our own. The last part of the tour involves a climb up 320 steps to the very top. It's an arduous climb but she allowed us to take a rest when needed and I never felt rushed. It's very doable and the view from the top phenomenal! Mercedes again spent time with a very detailed tour from the top pointing out special areas of Vatican City and other areas of Rome. She even knew where the best pictures were and made sure we had these done before leaving. All in all a great day!

Francisco J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

This tour was excellent... Both tour guides were excellent and very nice... had a great time and it was so worth doing.... highly recommended...

robert b

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

We were a group of 10. Two families mine was Wife and I, 10,9,7 years old. Theirs was Husband and Wife, 16,14,11. We started where they make the Mosaic's after skipping all lines. It was unbelievable the access they gave us while showing us the process of maintaining the Vatican's mosaics and creating new art as well. I am not an art guy, but this was impressive. The rest of the tour was St Peters basilica and Cupola. our guide spoke perfect English and very well educated. She made everything interesting and informative.

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