Detailed Itinerary Vatican in a Day Tour

For those who appreciate fine art and religious history

This five hour complete Vatican tour includes skip the line tickets, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica and hidden gems that include the Pinacoteca and Papal Tombs. Make the most of your time in Vatican City.

Rugged

There will be plenty of walking and also going up & down the stairs as we cross between galleries on different levels.

5 h
max 13
from 49 reviews
1 Skip the Line Vatican Tickets
2 Sistine Chapel
3 Vatican Museums
4 Pinecone Courtyard
5 Vatican Pinacoteca
6 Laocoön and His Sons
7 Nero's Bath
8 Belvedere Torso
9 Gallery of the Candelabra
10 Gallery of the Tapestries
11 Gallery of Maps
12 Raphael Rooms
13 Borgia Apartments
14 St. Peter's Basilica
15 La Pietà by Michelangelo
16 Baldacchino by Bernini
17 The Underground Crypts
18 Climb St. Peter's Dome

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Pre-Opening Entrance
Sistine Chapel
St. Peter's Basilica
Primary Galleries
Raphael Rooms
Borgia Apartments
Pio Clementino
Pinacoteca
If you're a major art history nerd or history buff and you want to experience the Vatican Museums as in-depth as possible, this is the best Vatican tour for you. On the Detailed Itinerary Vatican Tour, skip the regular entrance line and visit the best highlights and hidden gems of the Vatican Museums. With the help of a passionate Vatican guide, learn the most interesting and bizarre stories related to the Vatican City State, the popes, the collections housed at the Vatican Museums. This five-hour tour includes:
 
- Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel
- Skip the line early access Vatican Museums tickets
- A professional English-speaking guide
- Skip the line entrance to St. Peter's Basilica
 
Some delays at the security check may occur during the busiest months, June and July. We do, however, have a team of experts at the Vatican every morning to help our groups avoid delays as much as possible. 
 
If you wish to stay in the Vatican Museums toward the end of your tour, you must forgo the guided visit to St. Peter’s Basilica. If you choose to do this, you’ll lose the chance to use the special entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica from the Sistine Chapel and skip the lines with your guide. If you decide to leave the tour early, remember to return your headset to the tour guide.
 

COMPARE ALL VATICAN TOURS

 

Michelangelo’s Masterpiece - The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is one of the most famous sites in the world due to the monumental fresco paintings that cover the walls and ceiling. If you book this Detailed Itinerary Vatican tour in the morning, it includes early access privileges. This means you get to visit the Sistine Chapel before it’s open to the general public. Originally known as the Cappella Magna, the Sistine Chapel is located inside the Vatican Museums.
 
The private chapel of the pope, this is also where cardinals from around the world gather to elect a new pope. Now restored, every detail and color in the frescoes is easily admired. The best way to see the chapel is by entering as early as possible. Consequently, this is why an early access, skip the line Vatican tour is your best option to experience Michelangelo’s masterpiece.
 
The Sistine Chapel is a place of worship, therefore, speaking inside is not allowed. Since our guide cannot explain the frescoes while you are inside, we explain the chapel in advance and provide you with a map/handout for reference before you enter. Men and women must cover their knees and shoulders before entering. We understand the summers in Rome get hot, a good alternative is to bring a scarf or shawl to cover up with before you enter.

The Vatican Pinacoteca

One of the most rewarding rooms at the Vatican Museums is the Pinacoteca, also known as the Vatican Art Gallery. Arranged through a series of rooms, in chronological order and divided by art school, the Pinacoteca is home to some of the most impressive paintings in the Vatican. Get up close and personal to a total of 460 works of art, painted by the likes of Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian and Leonardo. The Pinacoteca (Picture Gallery) is one of the more modern sections of the Vatican Museums. This is why it's often overlooked by other Vatican tours. Not for you though, you get to experience it all!

The Carriage Pavilion

Another hidden gem of the Vatican, rarely visited by Vatican tours, is the Carriage Pavilion. This underground exhibit houses an impressive collection of historical vehicles used by different popes, including a Fiat Campagnola. This Fiat is known around the world because this is where Pope John Paul II was standing on the day of his attempted assassination in St. Peter’s Square back in 1981. The collection also contains three Popemobiles and the Renault 4 donated to Pope Francis in 2013. 

Pio-Clementino Museum Tour

Next up is a visit to the Bramante Courtyard. Designed by Bramante Lazzari, this part of the Vatican Museums is home to the "Apollo Belvedere", "Laocoön and His Sons" and the "Belvedere Torso". Learn about the myths and legends associated with these iconic sculptures, before visiting the biggest and oldest bathtubs in existence. Nero's Bathtub measures an incredible 25 feet in diameter. The massive tub is made from a rare red marble so precious, there's no way to recreate it again.

Top Three Vatican Galleries

Explore the Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries and our personal favorite, the Gallery of the Maps. Back in the day, pontiffs rarely left Rome. In order to explore the Italian peninsula without endangering his life, Pope Gregory XIII commissioned 40 giant meticulous maps. Most of these maps measure more than 15 by 16 feet, and the end result is nothing short of spectacular.

Raphael Rooms

Raphael, one of the most famous Renaissance artists, designed and frescoed a series of papal apartments now called the Stanze di Raffaello (Raphael Rooms). One of the most celebrated works on display here is the "School of Athens" - a painting that represents a gathering of the greatest mathematicians, philosophers and scientists. In an early version of a selfie, Raphael included himself in the painting.

Borgia Apartments

Downstairs from the Raphael Rooms and occupied by Borgia Pope Alexander VI, these private chambers were frescoed by early Renaissance artist Pinturicchio. A co-pupil of Raphael’s under master Perugino, Pinturicchio had a penchant for embedding fake jewels and other three dimensional objects like metal saddle studs in his frescoes. The Borgia Apartments also contain another hidden gem - the first European depiction of Native Americans. 

St. Peter's Basilica and the Papal Tombs

Except on Wednesdays

Skip the lines to St. Peter’s Basilica and enter through a special door to enter the most opulent church in the world. Once inside, admire celebrated artwork including the Baldacchino, La Pieta, the Statue of St. Peter and more. Then, go underneath the church’s floors to visit the tombs of hundreds of Popes, as well as a Swedish Queen who converted to Roman Catholicism. Learn the stories behind some of the most fascinating leaders of the Roman Catholic church, as you visit their final resting places. Please note: if your Vatican tour lands on a Wednesday, St. Peter's is not open for tours. This is because Papal Mass takes place on Wednesday mornings.

Remember, it isn’t possible to return to the Vatican Museums from St. Peter’s Basilica. If you want more time inside the museums, you must forgo the guided tour of the basilica. Also, if you’d like to stay in St. Peter's Basilica longer, don't leave with the guide to take photos in the piazza. Because the security line is long and re-entry on your own is not recommended, we suggest you stay inside St. Peter’s and explore on your own after the tour concludes.

Climb St. Peter's Dome

If you want to experience some of the best views in Rome, climb St. Peter’s Dome. Before leaving St. Peter’s Basilica, ask our guide how to access the dome. Either skip 231 steps by catching an elevator partway, or climb the entire way to the top like a champ. Tickets to the dome cost around 8-10 euros, but trust us, the views are incredible.

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