Though the Vatican Museums are a must when visiting Rome, sometimes a guided tour isn’t in the cards. Not to worry! Here’s how to make the most of your solo Vatican experience and get skip-the-line Vatican tickets without a guided tour.
Pro Tip: Planning can be tough, but it’s easier to organize your trip when you have all your resources in one place. Create a browser folder and bookmark this post along with our dedicated guide to planning your visit to the Vatican, where you’ll find everything you need. Also, check out the top things to see in Vatican City.
Best Skip-The-Line Vatican Tickets with Last-Minute Availability
The Vatican is a bucket-list item for anyone traveling to Rome, but it’s important to plan ahead if you want to have the best experience possible. Ticket lines can be very long. So without a ticket, you could be waiting for quite a while—possibly several hours during the busiest seasons, like summer.
Sometimes a guided Vatican tour that helps you navigate the crowds just doesn’t fit in the budget. Fortunately, you can purchase an affordable skip-the-line Vatican ticket that will get you past the crowds and fast-track you into the museums.
With our skip-the-line Vatican Museums ticket, you’ll receive a voucher when you purchase a ticket. Once you get to the Vatican, you’ll find our representatives at the meeting point and receive your tickets along with guidance on how to get inside the museums.
Please note that this ticket does not include skip-the-line access to St. Peter’s Basilica. You’ll need to exit the Vatican, then walk around to St. Peter’s Square, then enter the security line. If you’d prefer priority access between sites, you’ll want to book our exclusive Vatican tours.
Recommended Itinerary For A Solo Vatican Visit
Your tickets grant you full access to the Vatican Museums, so make sure you don’t miss these important stops on your solo Vatican visit:
The Sistine Chapel
If you’re visiting the Vatican Museums in the morning, you’ll want to make sure you visit the Sistine Chapel first to see it at its least crowded. Don’t miss seeing Michelangelo’s masterpiece.
The Sistine Chapel is one of the most celebrated pieces of art in the world, covered in breathtaking frescoes by Renaissance master Michelangelo. It is also a place of worship, so speaking inside is forbidden—this magnificent artwork will render you speechless anyway.
Pio Clementino Museum
Your next stop is the Pio Clementino Museum, which holds some of the Vatican’s most famous Greek and Roman statues. Here you’ll find Nero’s Bathtub which, at 25 feet across, is probably the largest tub you’ll ever see. In the Belvedere Courtyard, you’ll find Laocoön and His Sons, as well as the Apollo Belvedere and the Belvedere Torso.
The Pinecone Courtyard
Here you can enjoy a beautiful green space designed by Donato Bramante. Named after the massive bronze pinecone, this courtyard offers a great view of St. Peter’s Dome and a chance to spin the giant sphere sculpture in the center.
The Main Vatican Galleries
The Gallery of the Candelabra, the Gallery of the Tapestries, and the Gallery of the Maps are the Vatican Museums’ main galleries. They are definitely at the top of the list of things to see in the museums. Our favorite is the Gallery of Maps, where you can find a number of frescoes that show how Renaissance Italians viewed the peninsula over 300 years before a unified Italy.
Room of the Immaculate Conception
This room was created in the 19th century to celebrate the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Pope Pius IX commissioned a number of frescoes from artist Francis Podesti in a room next to the Raphael Rooms. The paintings include images depicting the virtues of the Virgin Mary, as well as a depiction of the discussion of the dogma.
Raphael was an artist who embodied the perfect Renaissance man. He created amazing works of art and was constantly competing with his contemporary, Michelangelo. These rooms are full of some of his best works, including the famous School of Athens, which depicts some of history’s greatest minds gathering and sharing knowledge. Raphael even painted himself into the picture.
Your final stop is the Borgia Apartments. Once the personal apartments of Alexander VI, the Borgia pope, these elaborate rooms were decorated by Pinturicchio. There are several rooms decorated with elaborate frescoes. In many of them, you can find depictions of bulls, which was the Borgia crest.
Entry to St. Peter’s Basilica is not included with your Vatican Museums ticket, but the largest church in the world is a magnificent sight to see while you’re in the Vatican. Only accredited tour guides can access it via passageway from the Sistine Chapel, so if you’d like to visit the basilica on your own, you’ll have to wait in line in St. Peter’s Square.