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.
What you get with this tour
What you will see on this tour
- Skip the Line Vatican Tickets
- Pinecone Courtyard
- Pio-Clementino Museum
- Laocoön and His Sons
- Nero's Bath
- Gallery of the Candelabra
- Gallery of the Tapestries
- Gallery of Maps
- Raphael Rooms
- Borgia Apartments
- Sistine Chapel Tour
- St. Peter's Basilica
- Baldacchino by Bernini
- La Pietà by Michelangelo
- St. Peter's Square
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
*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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where to meet?
In front of Caffé Vaticano on Viale Vaticano, 100. This is across the street from the Vatican Museum Entrance. 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.
Q: Is there a dress code to enter the religious sites on this tour?
A: 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.
Q: Will the Vatican Museums be crowded during this tour?
A: The Vatican is often slow in the late afternoon, but there is a chance the museums may be crowded while we are inside.
Q: Does the Vatican ever experience unexpected closures?
A: 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.
Q: I have some doubts about my mobility. What do you suggest?
A: If you have any doubts about your mobility, we strongly suggest you take a Vatican Private Tour.
See what people are saying
103 total reviewsLeave a review
Lots to see at The Vatican
We made reservations about a month before travel. On the day we arrived, it was very crowded (it's the tourist season after all). But we were greeted in a friendly and professional way and made to feel welcome. Our guide, Yamuna, was able to get us started slightly early, since everyone in the group had arrived. Yamuna did an excellent job, ferrying us here and there throughout the labyrinth of the Vatican. She had an extensive understanding of the history surrounding the Vatican and even provided her own laminated photos of the Sistine Chapel to show us important highlights to look for. Yamuna kept a cool head, even when some members of our tour party got temporarily lost. Being a tour guide in such hot, crowded conditions must be stressful but our guide Yamuna was a trooper and we were happy to be in her group. Would definitely recommend The Roman Guy.
Wonderful Tour Guide!
Yes, it was hot. Yes, it was extremely crowded. (Hence 4 starts.) But thanks to Roman Guy, we were able to skip most lines instead of waiting under the hot sun for eternity like many others were. And our tour guide, Yamuna, was so knowledgeable, passionate, kind, and patient, she made the magnificent experience of seeing all the art and architecture even better!! I am so happy we had her as our guide! Thanks, Roman Guy, thanks, Yamuna!
Our tour guide Isabella was spectacular. She met us promptly outside and helped us navigate through the (very hot) long line to get into the Vatican. She was very patient with our large group of 10, which included 2 children. Being an Art Historian, she was very knowledgeable and was able to answer all of our questions. The tour was definitely one of greatest things we did in Rome