Skip the Line Vatican Tour with Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica

Visit the Vatican Museums with many start times per day

While most other skip the line Vatican tours are in the morning, this tour offers multiple start times throughout the day to give you the flexibility you deserve on vacation.

Active

This is a walking tour and involves occasional walking up & down stairs.

3 h
max 18
from 98 reviews
1 Skip the Line Vatican Tickets
2 Pinecone Courtyard
3 Pio-Clementino Museum
4 Laocoön and His Sons
5 Nero's Bath
6 Gallery of the Candelabra
7 Gallery of the Tapestries
8 Gallery of Maps
9 Raphael Rooms
10 Borgia Apartments
11 Sistine Chapel Tour
12 St. Peter's Basilica
13 Baldacchino by Bernini
14 La Pietà by Michelangelo
15 St. Peter's Square

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Pre-Opening Entrance
Sistine Chapel
St. Peter's Basilica
Primary Galleries
Raphael Rooms
Borgia Apartments
Pio Clementino
Visit the highlights of the Vatican (and some hidden gems) with a friendly art history expert. With multiple start times, skip the regular entrance line* and take this tour as an afternoon or morning Vatican tour. Like all our Rome tours, this experience is led by a friendly, English-speaking guide. If you’d rather wake up early, our Privileged Entrance Vatican Tour and 7:30 a.m. Express Vatican Tour both let you enter a full hour before the general public and experience the Sistine Chapel when it is practically empty. This 3-hour tour includes the following:
 
  • - A local English-speaking professional guide
  • - Skip the line Vatican tickets
  • - A guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica
  • - Both morning and afternoon start times
  • - A maximum Group Size of 18

COMPARE ALL VATICAN TOURS

*Short 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. 

Important! If you wish to stay in the Vatican Museums toward the end of your tour, you must forgo the guided visit of 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. 

Nero's Bath and Octagonal Courtyard 

Visit the Pio-Clementino Museum, home to the Apollo Belvedere, Laocoön and His Sons and the Belvedere Torso. Learn about the myths and legends associated with these iconic statues, before visiting a 25ft red marble bathtub. Believed to have belonged to Emperor Nero's, the massive tub is made from a red marble so rare and precious there’s no way to recreate it again.
 

Highlights of the Vatican

Explore the Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries and our personal favorite, the Gallery of the Maps. Based on painted topographical maps of Italy by Dominican Italian friar Ignazio Danti, the Gallery of Maps is both beautiful and informative. The painted frescoes reveal how Renaissance Italians saw themselves in terms of geography. Predating a unified Italy by nearly 300 years, the Gallery of Maps shows the length and breadth of the peninsula circa 1580. See if you can spot the sea monster in one of the maps.
 

Borgia Apartments

Downstairs from the Raphael Rooms and once 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.
 

Raphael - The School of Athens

Raphael is the epitome of a Renaissance artist. In the period of European civilization immediately following the Middle Ages, a great period of revival in art, literature and thought occurred. Raphael encompassed the ideals of a Renaissance man and designed and frescoed multiple rooms connected to the Vatican Museums. Among other masterpieces, see one of Raphael’s most famous works of art, The School of Athens.
 

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel

Only when you are inside, is it clear why it is one of the Sistine Chapel is one of the most celebrated works of art in Western civilization. The chapel is inside the Vatican Museums, so it’s included in your Vatican tour. Michelangelo painted more than 600 figures in all, and the sheer magnitude of his endeavor is mindblowing. Since the Sistine Chapel is a place of worship, speaking inside is not allowed. Your guide cannot explain the frescoes while you are inside - we provide you with a map/handout for reference before you enter. 
 
Please note: In order to enter the Sistine Chapel, both men and women must cover their knees and shoulders. Otherwise, you may be refused entry to this portion of your Vatican tour. We understand the summers in Rome are hot - a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way, you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.
 

Reserved Entrance St. Peter’s Basilica

The last stop on this Vatican tour is St. Peter’s Basilica. The massive church, the size of two American football fields, is filled with artwork from some of the most celebrated artists in history. Enter through a special door and skip the lines to get the most opulent church in the world. Once inside, admire masterpieces that include the Baldacchino, La Pieta, the statue of St. Peter and so much more. Even if you aren't an art history buff, the interior of this church will make your jaw drop.
 
Important: 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.

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