The Roman Guy

How to Discover the Vatican Museums Highlights

We know that you could spend days, weeks, even months in the Vatican Museums, there is so much to see and visit that you would discover something new each day.  Unfortunately, we don’t all have the luxury or privilege to spend that amount of time in the Vatican City. For most of us, we’ve only got a couple of days to split between Rome and the Vatican City, and a long list of places to visit…

So “how on earth am I going to visit the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica without wasting 3 hours in a long and boring queue?” Well, I think I found the solution for you, a Vatican express tour.

What’s a Vatican express tour?

Gallery of Tapestries

A Vatican express tour was designed for those of us that have little time but still want to visit the Vatican City and its highlights, including the famous Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica. Except you’ll see so much more than that in just two and a half hours! Amazing right?

How long is the tour?

St Peter’s Baldachin

The express Vatican tour lasts 2,5 hours.

An early start will mean you’ll meet your expert guide at 07:15.  You will enter the Vatican Museums at 8am, an hour before the general public. Thus, allowing you to enjoy the galleries with less people and more space to walk about and admire all the amazing masterpieces.

Around 10:30am, as you make your way past St Peter’s Square after finishing your tour, you will see the never-ending queue of people waiting to visit St Peter’s Basilica. You’ll smile to yourself as you head off to the next place on your bucket list! Coffee anyone?

What will I see?

Gallery of The Candelabra

Well, I know your eyes are set on the Sistine Chapel but there is so much more to see. As you make your way towards the Sistine Chapel, you will walk through the Belvedere Courtyard admiring the Sphere within Sphere by Arnaldo Pomodoro as well as the colossal 4 meter bronze pinecone. You’ll stroll through the beautiful galleries, including the Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of Tapestries and my personal favorite, the Gallery of Maps. Make sure you look down at the colorful floors in the Candelabra room, look up at the ceilings in the Gallery of maps, and well, look EVERYWHERE in the Sistine Chapel.

You’ll finish off your tour at St Peter’s Basilica where you will observe Michelangelo’s Pietà and Bernini’s Baldacchino to name a few of  the many wonders hidden within this amazing basilica.

On Wednesday’s, St Peter’s Basilica is closed. Instead you will visit Bramante’s courtyard. You’ll see some of the most iconic statues in the world including Laoocon & Sons and Belvedere’s torso.  So make sure you remember this when planning your trip schedule. If you want to visit St Peter’s, book the tour any other day than Wednesday!

What’s the difference between a Vatican tour and an express Vatican tour?

Vatican Tour Vatican Express Tour
Length of tour 3,5 hours 2,5 hours
Group size Max 13 people Max 16 people
Skip the line tickets
Gallery of Candelabra, Gallery of Tapestries and Gallery of Maps
Sistine Chapel
St Peter’s Basilica (except Wednesday)
Raphael Rooms and Borgia apartments

If you have an extra hour on your hands and you’d like to visit the Raphael Rooms, I recommend you take the Vatican Tour, as the express tour does not include The Raphael Rooms or Borgia Apartments. If you aren’t big on art and just want to see the highlights of the Vatican, than the express tour is the best choice for you! Alternatively, private Vatican tours are also available!

How can I join a Vatican express tour?

Laocoon & Sons

Don’t rock up on the day and expect to find a tour you can join!  Especially if you have limited time, book your early access Vatican tickets in advance. It’s quick and fast to book online and once you receive your confirmation email, you can schedule this into your trip itinerary and relax, finally!

Discover more

Read how to climb St Peter’s Dome for the best views of the city! Don’t miss these 5 must-see masterpieces when you visit the Vatican Museums.

What’s your favorite area of the Vatican City? Let us know via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

How to Discover the Vatican Museums Highlights was last modified: October 20th, 2017 by