Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica Private Tour

See the wonders of the Vatican on a tailored private tour with expert guide and skip-the-line entry

Travel Flexibly 5 / 5 See All 143 Reviews · 3.00h · Rome, Italy

Looking for a Vatican experience tailored just for you? On this private Vatican tour, join an engaging local guide for a journey through the Renaissance art, fascinating history, and grand architecture of the Vatican. Skip the line for more time exploring the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and more! Perfect for private groups, families, or if you'd like a more intimate Vatican tour that moves at your ideal pace and gives you more say in what you see.

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  • Vatican Museums
  • Laocoön and His Sons
  • Gallery of the Maps
  • Gallery of Tapestries
  • Gallery of the Candelabra
  • Raphael Rooms
  • Sistine Chapel
  • St. Peter's Basilica
  • La Pietà

You'll begin your private Vatican tour near to the Vatican Museums entrance, where you'll meet your friendly, knowledgeable local guide. There are multiple start times available throughout the day, so you can book a tour that fits with your other plans in Rome. With skip-the-line tickets, you'll head straight in to start exploring the highlights of the Vatican Museums which include the Candelabra Gallery, Gallery of the Tapestries, Gallery of the Maps, Raphael Rooms, and Borgia Apartments.

You'll also see the spectacular Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica on a private tour that moves at your pace, and your guide can even suggest lesser-known gems to see within the Vatican, depending on your interests.

Private Vatican Tour Description

Your 3-hour private tour includes:

  • Skip-the-line tickets to the Vatican Museums

  • Available entry times in the morning and afternoon

  • Pio Clementino and the best of the Vatican's galleries

  • Raphael Rooms and Borgia Apartments

  • Silent tour of the Sistine Chapel

  • Entry to St. Peter's Basilica

  • A private, English-speaking guide with art history expertise

The Main Galleries of the Vatican Museums

After meeting your private guide, your Vatican Museums tour begins. With your skip-the-line access, you'll walk past the long line of tourists and enjoy faster entry through security, even if you've booked an afternoon tour. Follow your guide to the Bramante Courtyard to see the Pio-Clementino Museum, the Candelabra Gallery, Gallery of the Tapestries, and our personal favorite, the Gallery of Maps.

Inside the Gallery of the Maps, the frescoes upon the walls provide valuable insight into how Renaissance Italians viewed their surroundings. Predating unified Italy by almost 300 years, the frescoes show the geography of the Italian peninsula circa 1580. Based on drawings by famous geographer Ignazio Danti, the maps were painted between 1580 and 1585. One of the most opulent and impressive corridors in the Vatican Museums, this collection extends for nearly 400 feet.

Depending on your interests and how quickly you want to explore, your guide will tailor the experience to make the most of your time in the Vatican Museums.

Raphael Rooms and 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 frescoed multiple rooms inside of the Vatican Museums. Among other masterpieces, see one of Raphael’s most famous works of art, The School of Athens.

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. As 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.

Sistine Chapel

One of the top things to do in Vatican City is visiting the Sistine Chapel. Only when you are inside, is it clear why the Sistine Chapel is one of the most celebrated works of art in Western civilization. Michelangelo painted more than 600 figures in all, and the sheer magnitude of his endeavor is mind-blowing. Since the Sistine Chapel is a place of worship, speaking inside is not allowed. Your guide cannot explain the frescoes while you are inside, so they'll provide you with a map/handout for reference before you enter.

Please note that the Sistine Chapel is a sacred place, so both men and women must cover their knees and shoulders, otherwise, you may be refused entry to a portion of your Vatican tour. We understand the summers in Rome are hot, so a great alternative is to bring a shawl/sweater to wrap around you when necessary.

St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica is a mammoth church filled with artwork from some of the most celebrated artists in history. Once you reach the outside of this incredible church, you'll listen to your guide share about the history and construction. As you explore the inside on your own, you'll admire masterpieces that include the Baldacchino, La Pieta, the statue of St. Peter and more. Even if you aren’t an art fanatic, just the size of the basilica will floor you.

Please note that St. Peter's Basilica is closed on Wednesdays for the Papal Audience and can occasionally experience other unexpected closures. If this happens, your guide will make up the time at other areas within the Vatican.

 

 

What you get with this tour
Skip-the-line tickets to the Vatican Museums
Available entry times in the morning and afternoon
Pio Clementino and the best of the Vatican's galleries
Raphael Rooms and Borgia Apartments
Silent tour of the Sistine Chapel
Guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica
A private, English-speaking guide with art history expertise
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143 total reviews

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5.0/5 (based on 143 reviews)
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1 stars
Great Tour with an extremely knowledgeable guide
07 June 2024
R
Reviewed by
Robert Helliwell

A very thorough tour with a great guide. Oxsana was knowledgeable, passionate, and a very nice person. We highly recommend The Tour Guy and Oxsana.

Alessandra was a fantastic tour guide!
02 June 2024
M
Reviewed by
Manuel Ordonez

The right tour guide makes all the difference. Alessandra was fantastic! She was thoughtful and insightful making sure we spent our time at all the right places, didn't rush through anything like some other guides and really elevated the experience.

Private Vatican tour
28 May 2024
A
Reviewed by
andrew wang

Our guide Maria was knowledgeable and had all the historical background to make the visit super memorable. To put it in perspective my son had now interest in the Vatican when we planned the trip but he left the tour feeling like it was a highlight of our Rome trip. Maria could teach art history!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to bring?

In addition to wearing or bringing clothing that covers your knees and shoulders, it's recommended to wear comfortable shoes. You're also welcome to bring a water bottle as it can get hot inside the Vatican during the summer months.

What is the dress code at the Vatican?

Inside the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica, you'll need to cover your knees and shoulders. Please bring a shawl or sweater with you if you're dressed for those hot Rome summers.

I have some doubts about my mobility. Is this tour right for me?

If you have any doubts about your mobility, this is your best bet for a Vatican tour. Private Vatican tours are more easily customized to the needs of people with reduced mobility.

What are the chances my tour will be canceled or the Vatican will close something.

Although it is rare, sometimes part of the Vatican closes with little notice. If an area normally covered on a tour is closed, your guide will be sure to make up the time in other areas.

Does the tour go directly inside without waiting in any line?

As an accredited tour operator we do not have to wait in the general ticket line, but we still have to wait in a security line. For this reason, we leave the meeting point as early as possible and get in the security line reserved for tour operators.

Does this tour always include St. Peter's Basilica?

Yes, St. Peter's is always included on this private Vatican Museums tour, except on Wednesdays when it is closed in the morning for the papal audience.

What to bring?

In addition to wearing or bringing clothing that covers your knees and shoulders, it's recommended to wear comfortable shoes. You're also welcome to bring a water bottle as it can get hot inside the Vatican during the summer months.

Can I take photos inside the Sistine Chapel?

No, photography is not allowed in the Sistine Chapel.

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