Private Detailed Itinerary Vatican in a Day Tour

A Private Vatican Tour for Art History Nerds

Skip the lines and take a private tour of the Vatican Museums, with your own personal art historian guide. This private in-depth Vatican tour is your chance to see all the best galleries in the museums, both famous and off the beaten path.

Rugged

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

5 h
custom size
from 2 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

Our Private Detailed Itinerary Vatican Tour is a one of a kind experience. Best for true art history buffs and museum lovers, this is the best experience for you if you're interested in every part of the Vatican Museums. From the Carriage Pavilion to the Sistine Chapel, learn about all the most intriguing and bizarre stories associated with the Vatican Museums. This private and exclusive experience includes skip the line tickets - learn about Vatican City as in-depth as possible on a tour. This 5-hour tour includes:

  • - Early access to museums before general opening (morning tour only)
  • - Skip the line Vatican tickets including Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica 
  • - A comprehensive visit to sections and galleries usually not seen on most Vatican tours
  • - Your own personal English-Speaking Guide

Short delays at the security check may occur during our busiest months, often during the summer. We do, however, have a team of experts at the Vatican every morning to help our groups avoid delays as much as possible. At 7:30 a.m., meet your guide who will explain the Sistine Chapel while you prepare to enter the museums when the doors open for special groups at 8 a.m.

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.

Private Sistine Chapel Tour

The Sistine Chapel is one of the most celebrated sites in Western civilization, thanks to the monumental fresco paintings that cover the walls and ceiling. If you book the earlier time slot of this private Vatican tour, it includes early access privileges. This means you get to visit Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel before the general public is allowed inside at 9 a.m. 
 
In addition to its status as a masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel is also where cardinals gather to elect new popes. Now restored, every detail and color of the frescoes is easy to admire. 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 the best way to see Michelangelo’s work.
 
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.

Vatican Art Gallery

One of the most fascinating rooms at the Vatican Museums is the Pinacoteca, also known as the Vatican Art Gallery. Made up of a series of rooms, in chronological order and separated by school of art, the Pinacoteca is home to some of the most extraordinary paintings in the world. Get up close and personal to over 450 works of art, painted by the likes of Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian and Leonardo. On other private Vatican tours, this part of the Vatican Museums is often overlooked, but not on this one.

The Popemobile

The Carriage Pavilion is another collection that's almost never included on other tours. Featuring an antique collection of vehicles driven by popes, the Fiat Campagnola where Pope John Paul II was almost assassinated in 1981 is on display here. Plus, see three other Popemobiles and a Renault 4 that was donated to Pope Francis in 2013.

Bramante Lazzari's Architecture

The next stop on the tour is a visit to the Bramante Courtyard (designed by Bramante Lazzari) and the Pio-Clementino Museum. Home to the "Apollo Belvedere", the "Belvedere Torso" and "Laocoön and His Sons", these iconic statues reveal so much about the history of art. Then, visit the biggest bathtub you'll ever see, designed for Emperor Nero himself. Measuring 25 feet in diameter, the tub is made from a type of red marble so rare that there's no way to recreate it.

The Peninsula Before it Was Italy

Led by your personal guide, visit our favorite galleries. Walk through the Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries and Gallery of the Maps. Predating a unified Italy by nearly 300 years, the painted topographical maps in the Gallery of the Maps are an incredible look into how Italians saw their surrounding geography and political boundaries. In one of the maps, there's a sea monster. See if you can spot it! 

A Gathering of Great Minds

Frescoed by Raphael, visit the series of papal apartments now called the Stanze di Raffaello (Raphael Rooms). By far, the most celebrated works of art here is the "School of Athens". Depicting here, a gathering of the greatest mathematicians, philosophers and scientists discuss ideas in the epitome of Renaissance art.

Borgia Apartments

Next, go downstairs and walk through the private chambers of Borgia Pope Alexander VI. The Early Renaissance art here is by Pinturicchio, a fellow pupil alongside Raphael himself. In 1503, after the death of Borgia Pope Alexander VI, the rooms fell out of use for centuries. Finally, in 1889, Pope Leo XIII restored the apartments. Besides the frescoes, the collection is home to about 600 sculptures and other works of art by Chagall, Dalí, Kandinsky and others.

St. Peter's Basilica and the Papal Tombs

Except on Wednesdays
 
The final stop on this private Vatican tour is St. Peter's Basilica. Skip the lines and enter through a special door to see the most opulent church in the world. Home to the Baldacchino, La Pieta and more, St. Peter's is absolutely massive. To put it in perspective, the "Statue of Liberty", pedestal and all, would fit inside it. Just like the Florence Duomo, St. Peter’s Basilica’s dome was inspired by the Pantheon. The tallest dome in the world, St. Peter's dome is distinct amidst Rome's classic skyline.
 
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.
 

FAQ

WHERE TO MEET

WHAT TO BRING