History of Christianity Tour with Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, Rome Catacombs and Appian Way

Skip lines at Vatican Museums and Catacombs

5 / 5 See All 7 Reviews · 8.0h 15 max · Rome, Italy

Since St. Peter became the first Bishop of Rome, the city has been integral in the history of Christianity and the Church. Join us on a journey from early Christian burial grounds to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica.

Tour Details
  • Capuchin Crypt
  • Private Luxury Transportation
  • Catacombs of Domitilla
  • Ancient Frescoes
  • Appian Way
  • Vatican Museums Tour
  • Galleries of the Candelabra, Tapestries and Maps
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Raphael Rooms
  • Borgia Apartments
  • Laocoön and His Sons
  • Nero's Bath
  • St. Peter's Basilica
  • La Pietà by Michelangelo
  • Bernini's "Baldacchino"

Spend a day in Rome immersed in the history of the Church as you travel through time from the second century CE to the present. On this tour you will visit the Catacombs of Domitilla, the ancient Appian Way, the Capuchin Crypts as well as a full three hour tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica.  This tour is an amazing experience for those who are religious, art and history fanatics, and those who want a spooky Catacombs experience. This full day tour includes: 

-Skip the Line tickets to the Capuchin Crypts and Catacombs of Domitilla

-Skip the Line tickets to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica

-Expert English Speaking Guide

-Transportation to and from the Catacombs and Appian Way

Please note: Because some of the sites on this small group tour are religious, knees and shoulders must be covered for both men and women at all times. This dress code is strictly enforced and should you not comply, you run the risk of missing parts of the tour. We know that Rome gets quite hot during the summertime - please consider bringing a shawl/scarf/sweater with you to cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.

Capuchin Crypts

Located under the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini Church, this underground crypt contains the remains of 3,700 Capuchin Friars. All of these individuals were buried during the age when the Roman Catholic Church permitted burial underneath and inside churches between 1500 and 1870. 

The historic crypt is consists of  five chapels; Crypt of the Resurrection, Crypt of the Skulls, Crypt of the Pelvises, Crypt of the Leg Bones and Thigh Bones and Crypt of the Three Skeletons. Many of these skeletons are found fully intact still in their Franciscan habit. Also found here are many individual bones designed in elaborate structures. In addition, above one of the chapels it reads "What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be." in three languages. The Capuchin Crypts provide a spine-chilling Catacombs experience

The Domitilla Catacombs

An extensive underground maze of tunnels which acted as a safe haven for early Christians. The Catacombs offers a view on early Christian life in Rome. Located a few miles outside the city, the catacombs were created to solve the lack of burial plots in Rome during the second century CE. Thousands of ancient Romans are buried in Catacombs of Domitilla.  

Along with the macabre and creepier aspects of the area, the Catacombs house many ancient artifacts and pieces of early Christian art. Highlights of this art include an intact second-century fresco of The Last Supper. If you are visiting in the summer, the Catacombs also provide a break from the Roman summer as temperatures remain cool below. 

Please note: The Domatilla Catacombs will be closed from mid-December to mid-January. In the case that your tour falls within this time, you will visit the Catacombs of St. Callixtus instead.

The Appian Way and Aurelian Walls

The second set of walls surrounding Rome, the outer Aurelian walls were built in the third century CE to stave off Barbarian invasion. We will visit the Aurelian Walls in our climate-controlled vehicle to see them as we exit the city. Outside the city you'll walk along the ancient Appian Way. One of ancient Rome's longest highways, it connected Rome to Magna Grecia, the area of southern Italy controlled by the Greeks. 

Highlights of the Vatican

Observe the Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries and the Roman Guy's favorite, the Gallery of the Maps. Based on painted topographical maps of the Italian peninsula by Dominican Italian friar Ignazio Danti, the Gallery of Maps is both beautiful and informative. The painted frescoes reveal the detail Renaissance Italians knew of geography and the regions they identified with. The maps dating from around 1580 are nearly 300 years older than the united Italy. These maps also show the importance of the Italian peninsula as an entity before the Italian state.  

Raphael - The School of Athens

Whether you are a renaissance art buff or first saw it on your Vatican Museums ticket, the School of Athens is Raphael's most famous work of art and one of the most famous pieces at the Vatican. Raphael was the ultimate Renaissance man and his frescoes can be found throughout the Vatican Museums. The Renaissance followed the Middle Ages and was the resurgence or art, literature, and culture throughout Italy and the western world.

Borgia Apartments

Down the stairs form the Raphael Rooms, these lavish apartments were commissioned and occupied by Pope Alexander VI, a member of the Borgia Family. The chambers were frescoed by Pinturicchio who was a contemporary of Raphael and studied under the same master Perugino. Pinturicchio was unique in his affinity for embedding jewels below his painting to present an effect of three dimensions. The Borgia Apartments also contain the depiction of Native Americans by Europeans. 

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel

One of the most celebrated and impressive works of art in the history of Western Civilization, the Sistine Chapel is Michelangelo's masterpiece like no other. Take a moment to look up and appreciate the vast amount of depth and detail of the fresco across the massive ceiling. The Sistine Chapel is a place of worship and holiness therefore no talking is allowed inside. Before entering, your guide will explain the amazing work and its significance as well as providing a map/guide. 

St. Peter’s Basilica Reserved Entrance 

The last stop of the day is St. Peter’s Basilica. This gigantic church, larger than two soccer pitches includes world class art from some of history's most celebrated artists. Enter through a special door not accessible to the public and skip the hours long security into one of the world's most important churches. Once inside, you will see famous works including the Baldacchino, La Pietà, the statue of St. Peter and many more. 

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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Average customer rating
5.00 / 5 based on 7 total reviews
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2/9/2020
History comes alive!

As someone who is very interested in Christian history, this tour was perfect for me. The tours of the Vatican and of the Catacombs are experiences that I will never forget.

S
Reviewed by
System Admin
2/5/2020
Excellent!

This was a great tour to see everything I wanted to see in Rome

S
Reviewed by
System Admin
1/30/2020
Very Cool

What a cool experience. I grew up learning about all of this so to be able to see it all in person was really important to me. I couldn't have asked for a better tour!

S
Reviewed by
System Admin

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where to meet?

Piazza Barberini - in front of the Fontana del Tritone. A representative will be there holding a sign with our company name on it.

What to bring?

The Vatican dress code dictates you cover your knees and shoulders. If you do not meet the dress code, you may be denied entry! No need to dress like the people living there, covering your knees and shoulders is sufficient. Wear comfortable shoes.

Is there a way to see the Vatican without a guided tour?

Of course. Click here for skip the line Vatican tickets.

I have some doubts about my mobility. What do you suggest?

If you have any doubts about your mobility, we strongly suggest you take a Vatican Private Tour.

Does the Vatican ever experience unexpected closures?

During State visits or special religious events, parts of the Vatican may be closed unexpectedly. If an area normally covered on a tour is closed, our guide will still provide explanations of the closed areas from outside. Plus, we will show you an extra site or gallery to compensate.

Will the Vatican Museums be crowded during this tour?

The Vatican is often slow in the late afternoon, but there is a chance the museums may be crowded while we are inside.

What Catacomb does this tour visit?

Usually the Catacombs of San Domitilla, although if there is any closure we will substitute the site with another catacomb site nearby.

Will we see bones?

Yes! This tour visits the Church of Santa Maria della Concezione which houses a 17th-century ossuary under it. There you will see the bones of around 4,000 Capuchin friars!

Why doesn't this tour run on Sundays?

The Vatican as well Via Appia Antica, the road we travel on to access the Catacombs, are closed on Sundays.

Why does my kid 6 or under have to pay? C'mon!

Sorry about this. We're parents too and we understand! Unfortunately, they must be seated due to traffic regulations so they take up a seat in our vehicle. We even bring a car seat for children who require one. If it makes you feel any better, we don't make money off your kids for this tour.

Is there a dress code to enter the religious sites on this tour?

We ask both men and women to cover knees and shoulders, otherwise you may be refused entry to religious sites and miss out on a portion of your tour. We understand the summers in Rome can be hot, so a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way, you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.

What to bring?

The Vatican dress code dictates you cover your knees and shoulders. If you do not meet the dress code, you may be denied entry! No need to dress like the people living there, covering your knees and shoulders is sufficient. Wear comfortable shoes.

Where to meet?

Piazza Barberini - in front of the Fontana del Tritone. A representative will be there holding a sign with our company name on it.

Total: $125.23

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Free cancellation up to 24 hours before on all small group tours.

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