Vatican Uncovered: A Private, Detailed Tour

Get an in-depth experience tailored to your interests of art, sculptures, and the Sistine Chapel

Travel Flexibly 5 / 5 See All 35 Reviews · 5.00h · Vatican, Italy

Hoping to spend more time exploring the Vatican with a passionate art guide? Then this extended private Vatican tour is perfect! You'll get an in-depth look at the wonders of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and more! Skip the line and explore like a VIP with a guide who knows every hidden corner and lesser-known artworks of these museums, as well as the fascinating stories behind them. This detailed tour lets you see parts of the Vatican that most tourists miss!

  • Skip the Line
  • Skip-the-line Vatican tickets
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Vatican Museums
  • Pinecone Courtyard
  • Vatican Pinacoteca
  • Laocoön and His Sons
  • Nero's Bath
  • Belvedere Torso
  • Gallery of the Candelabra
  • Gallery of the Tapestries
  • Gallery of Maps
  • Raphael Rooms
  • Borgia Apartments
  • St. Peter's Basilica
  • La Pietà by Michelangelo
  • Baldacchino by Bernini
  • The Papal Tombs

Our extended private Vatican tour is a one of a kind experience. Best for true art history buffs and museum lovers, this is the tour for you if you want to see every part of the Vatican Museums. You'll meet your expert private guide near the Vatican Museums entrance where you'll have skip-the-line tickets to get in quickly, and even the option of early entry depending on your start time. For the next 5 hours, enjoy a guided journey through the Vatican that shows you world-famous artwork and iconic galleries with many incredible sites and art pieces that most tourists won't see. Plus, on a private tour, you'll have some flexibility to make it your own!

Private In-Depth Vatican Tour Description

Your 5-hour private tour includes:

  • Early access to museums before general opening (early morning tour only)

  • Skip-the-line Vatican tickets

  • Private in-depth Vatican tour tailored to you

  • Pio Clementino Museum and Cabinet of Masks

  • Pinacoteca Art Gallery and Carriage Pavilion

  • Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries, and the Gallery of the Maps

  • Raphael Rooms and School of Athens

  • The Sistine Chapel

  • Guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica

  • A passionate English-speaking private guide

Private Vatican Tour

Private tours mean you get to explore at a pace that suits you, with more flexibility over what you see and for how long, and more chance to ask the questions you really want to ask. Your expert guide will have a detailed itinerary planned for you, but will be more than happy to go off track to give you the Vatican experience you want!

Pio Clementino Museum and Bramante Courtyard

Your guide will lead you through the Bramante Courtyard, designed by Donato Bramante. This part of the Vatican Museums is home to the Apollo Belvedere, Laocoön and His Sons, and the Belvedere Torso. Learn about the myths and legends associated with these iconic sculptures before visiting the oldest and largest bathtub in existence. Nero's bathtub is an incredible 25 feet long and is made from a rare red marble that isn't even available nowadays!

Cabinet of the Masks

Deep inside the Pio Clementino Museum is the almost-hidden Cabinet of Masks, locked away in a guarded room and considered one of the Vatican’s best-kept secrets. Most visitors to the Vatican miss out on the beautiful mosaics and frescoes kept here, but you'll have VIP access to this spectacular collection since access is only allowed for licensed tour guides.

Vatican Pinacoteca

On this in-depth Vatican Museum tour, your guide will take you to the famed Pinacoteca, also known as the Vatican Art Gallery. The Pinacoteca is home to some of the most impressive paintings in the Vatican, housed in a series of rooms in chronological order and divided by art school.

Art lovers will enjoy the chance to get up close and personal with 460 works of art painted by masters such as Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, and Leonardo da Vinci. The Pinacoteca is one of the more modern sections of the Vatican Museums, which is why it's often overlooked by other Vatican tours. Learn about stories behind these lesser-known artworks as your guide leads you through this stunning gallery.

Carriage Pavilion and the Popemobile

Since your tour takes its time exploring more areas of the Vatican, you'll also have a chance to see an area that most tours don't go to. Get your cameras ready to see the incredible Carriage Pavilion, where you'll find nine of the ceremonial carriages that were used by popes and Holy Roman Princes in centuries past.

Featuring an antique collection of vehicles driven by popes, you'll see the Fiat Campagnola where Pope John Paul II was almost assassinated in 1981, a Renault 4 that was donated to Pope Francis in 2013, and multiple "Popemobiles" used in years past.

The Vatican Galleries In-Depth

You'll follow your personal guide through the Gallery of Candelabras, Gallery of the Tapestries, and Gallery of Maps. Admire the ancient Roman and Greek statues, the Flemish tapestries created by Raphael's students, and the gorgeous topographical depictions of Italy.

At the height of the Roman Empire, pontiffs rarely left Rome. In order to understand the Italian peninsula without endangering his life, Pope Gregory XIII commissioned 40 giant meticulous maps to be created for his use. Most of these maps measure more than 15 by 16 feet, and the end result is nothing short of spectacular.

Raphael Rooms and the School of Athens

Next, you'll get to know some of the most famous works by Raphael, one of the most famous Renaissance artists. He designed and frescoed a series of papal apartments now called the Stanze di Raffaello or Raphael Rooms. His most celebrated work is the School of Athens which is on display here. The painting represents a gathering of the greatest mathematicians, philosophers, and scientists. Raphael included himself in the painting, much like an early version selfie.

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is one of the most celebrated sites in western civilization, thanks to the monumental fresco paintings that cover the walls and ceiling over several decades in the 16th century. While Michelangelo certainly wasn't the only famous painter here, his works are the most well known and celebrated alongside other key frescoes depicting scenes from the Old Testament. Now restored, every detail and color of the frescoes is easy to admire.

In addition to its status as a masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel is also where cardinals gather to elect new popes. You'll get to hear the stories of this famed chapel from your expert guide before enjoying time to experience this wonder on your own. Sit along the walls and pick out the details in the Last Judgement, the Sistine Chapel, and more.

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

The final stop on this private Vatican tour is St. Peter's Basilica. Your guide can take you through a restricted passageway that lets you skip the line to the basilica. As home to the Baldacchino, La Pieta and more, St. Peter's is absolutely massive. To put it in perspective, the Statue of Liberty, pedestal and all, would fit inside it. Just like the Florence Duomo, St. Peter’s Basilica’s dome was inspired by the Pantheon. The tallest dome in the world, St. Peter's dome is distinct amidst Rome's classic skyline.

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
Early entrance before general opening (early morning tour only)
Skip-the-line Vatican tickets
Private in-depth Vatican tour tailored to you
Pio-Clementino Museum and Cabinet of Masks
Pinacoteca Art Gallery and Carriage Pavilion
Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries, and the Gallery of the Maps
Raphael Rooms and School of Athens
See inside the Sistine Chapel
Guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica
A passionate English-speaking private guide
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35 total reviews

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5.0/5 (based on 35 reviews)
5 stars
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1 stars
Informative yet fun!!!
30 May 2024
C
Reviewed by
Chris Cortez-Elliott

Ele truly was amazing from start to finish. She really gave us a great history around each thing we saw and often shared why things happened the way they did, which drew us in even more. She maximized our time and hit everything we wanted to see, and we never once felt rushed. Her energy and personality really matched ours and made this our best tour of our entire Rome trip!

Great tour
26 March 2024
J
Reviewed by
John Moore

RAF was a great guide and she made the tour fly by. Highly recommended!

21 February 2024
N
Reviewed by
Nicholas Pridgin

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to bring?

Please be sure to meet Vatican dress code requirements by covering your knees and shoulders in the most sacred religious areas like the Sistine Chapel. You'll also want to wear comfortable shoes since this is a walking tour.

What are the chances my tour will be cancelled 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.

Do we get skip-the-line tickets AND early access this tour?

Our tours always skip the main admission line, but early access is only possible if you pick the 8:00 am start time. The Vatican opens at 9:00 am to the general public, so once you've gone though admission you'll have some time before the main crowds arrive. You can avoid the longest line for general admission, but there is still a short security line to go through before actually entering the Vatican.

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

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.

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?

Please be sure to meet Vatican dress code requirements by covering your knees and shoulders in the most sacred religious areas like the Sistine Chapel. You'll also want to wear comfortable shoes since this is a walking tour.

What if I have concerns about my mobility on this tour?

A private tour of the Vatican is your best bet if you aren't completely confident in your mobility. Your guide can tailor the tour to suit your needs, and on this extended tour you'll have more time to cover the parts you want to see.

Is a similarly in-depth group tour available?

Yes! If you'd rather save some money and join an in-depth small group tour, check out our Detailed Itinerary Vatican in a Day Tour

Start From: $694.35

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