History of Christianity Tour with Vatican, Sistine Chapel, and Catacombs

Skip lines at Vatican Museums and Catacombs

Travel Flexibly 5 / 5 See All 8 Reviews · 8.00h 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, and the Sistine Chapel.

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 on Your Own
  • 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 and Sistine Chapel.  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

-Expert English Speaking Guide

-Transportation to and from the Catacombs and Appian Way

* As of June 23rd, 2021, the Vatican has closed the "licensed guide entrance" to St Peter’s Basilica for all tour companies and tour guides. Therefore a guided visit to the Basilica won’t be possible due to the distance between sites. Not to worry! Your awesome guide give you a detailed introduction of the church and will explain how to visit on your own at the conclusion of the tour.. Hopefully, this changes very soon!

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. 

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5.0/5 (based on 8 reviews)
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A Very Good Friday
04 May 2022
J
Reviewed by
Joy M Lapseritis

We booked 5 people for the History of Christianity tour of the Capuchin crypt, Appian Way, Catacombs, and Vatican museum & Sistine Chapel. In total, the tours were great. The only slight glitch was that we thought this was a single, 8-hour continuous tour with a break for lunch; however, this was really 2 separate tours and we were responsible for teleporting ourselves across the city while also eating lunch - not what we had in mind! Fortunately, the drivers from the morning at the catacombs helped us sort out the situation and we arrived on time if not relaxed and refreshed. Clearly, the people employed by The Roman Guy are masterful troubleshooters who care that the people on their tours enjoy the city, and they succeeded with our family! We met Fiona, a native English speaker and longtime resident of Rome, and another small family by the Piazza Barberini for our morning tour of the catacombs. Our start was delayed 15 minutes which was well communicated in advance and helpful given we were still a little jetlagged. We started with a short tour of the Capuchin crypts which was fascinating if strange and a nice beginning. We were then transported in a very nice small bus and a Tesla outside the city gates up the ancient Appian Way (beautiful!) and to one of the catacombs. This was a highlight, although the site rules required that Fiona couldn’t attend with us, as the catacombs have their own guides that know the place well and keep each small group on schedule for safety and to alleviate bottlenecks. Nonetheless, Fiona was a welcome addition, adding fun personal touches throughout the morning. Her humor was approachable and fun and made us feel like a knowledgeable friend was showing us around with a personal touch. When we arrived outside the Vatican museum, Catalina was gathering the tour group and tending to some guests who were quite perturbed that their plans weren’t going as expected. While we don’t know exactly what they were complaining about, Catalina was empathetic to their plight but unable to change the circumstances to their satisfaction. They departed and she was upset that she couldn’t help them; slightly rattled but professional, she took a moment to gather herself before turning her attention to the rest of us. Note to future guests: always be sure to bring your COVID vaccination cards with you! Note to TheTourGuy: when guests ask what they need for the day, tell them to carry their vaccination cards! Throughout the remainder of the afternoon, Catalina was delightful and a wealth of knowledge about all things art history. Our tour was given in perfect English and she offered both foundational information and more advanced details. She made everyone feel welcome, answered our questions, had lots to say about the museum collection and Sistine Chapel, and maintained her enthusiasm for over 3 hours on Good Friday afternoon! This was a very long and busy day in which 2 teens, 2 parents, and a grandparent felt well entertained and educated at the end of it all. Grazie, Catalina & Fiona!

History comes alive!
09 February 2020
Reviewed by

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.

Excellent!
05 February 2020
Reviewed by

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

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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: $120.59

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