Vatican City tours are the smart ways to see the best of the vast collection of art, chapels, secret rooms, galleries and museums. We're not the only ones who think so. Some of our fave Vatican tours are among the most popular activities in the world! It makes sense since, at a time when Italian art led the world, powerful popes hired only the best Renaissance & Baroque artists and architects to create iconic sculptures, carvings, frescoes, churches, and paintings.
On favourite VIP tours, you meet the artists who maintain the 10,000 square meters of mosaics; you get inside St Peter's Basilica after the doors have been closed and the crowds have left; then there's the VIP Vatican breakfast tour, resplendent with Italian delicacies. These tours have great reviews, so book and enjoy your insider experience at one of the biggest attractions on the planet — Vatican City.
Your special day starts with a leisurely breakfast in the Pigna Courtyard before it's open to the public. That's right — you breakfast at the Vatican!
After cappuccino and cornetto (Italian croissants), you head to the Vatican Museums, before its doors are open to the public. See the Gallery of Tapestries, Raphael's Rooms, and of course, the stunning Sistine Chapel. Then head inside St Peter's Basilica though a special entrance reserved for VIPs. Guess what? You're one of them!
You have got to take this tour! We started with a delicious breakfast with freshly-made dollar pancakes and a wonderful spread of pastries, meats, cheeses and milk, made specifically for the Vatican. We proceeded to tour the Vatican gardens on a open-air mini-bus before entering the Vatican Museums, through the Sistine Chapel and finishing off at St. Peter's Basilica."
– 5-Star Review
It's hard to feel like an insider at the Vatican, however this tour manages to do just that. Few tourists will ever go inside the 16th-century Mosaic Studio (Studio del Mosaico) — one of the Vatican's hidden treasures — and meet the artists responsible for restoring and creating the state's intricate mosaics. But you will.
You meet up with your guide in St Peter's Square and go directly to the studio, where artists use age-old techniques to preserve prized mosaics and create new works of art to be used as papal gifts for visiting dignitaries. From there, you skip the line at St Peter's Basilica, where Michelangelo's exquisite marble Pieta is kept. The skip-the-line service continues to the cupola where you climb to the top of the dome (also designed by Michelangelo) to admire the sweeping views of Rome beneath you.
Absolutely amazing, photos don't do it justice. The mosaic studio was so interesting and we actually saw commissioned pieces being made. The gentleman who explained everything that goes on was excellent. So worth a visit!"
– 5-Star Review
Why be a tourist when you can be a VIP? You will be accompanied by a Vatican guard whose sole job is to unlock doors to secret rooms normally not viewed by the public. Discover the Vatican in the style of presidents, prime ministers and royal families.
Highlights are the rarely viewed Sala degli Ori, an opulent golden room that holds a dazzling collection of papal jewelry and Etruscan jewels; and the Niccoline Chapel (Cappella Niccolina), which is on par with the Sistine Chapel for beauty, adorned with gold brought back from Christopher Columbus. Of course, you'll also see all the other Vatican classics as your guide entertains you with tales of art, power, and treachery.
The tour ends on a high note with private access to the Sistine Chapel after the doors are closed to the public. There you'll spend 30 minutes inside the empty chapel admiring Michelangelo's fresco, The Creation of Adam.
OMG!!! Worth every cent. This was without a doubt the highlight of my trip to Italy. First if all, our tour guide, was amazing, clearly very knowledgable about the Vatican and the artwork, but made the tour extremely entertaining with inside stories about the art/artists. The access to the private rooms, balcony, and Raphael rooms without a crowd was awesome, but the private access to the Sistine Chapel was priceless. Being in the Chapel for 1/2 hour without a crowd really gives you enough time to take in everything,"
– 5-Star Review
This comprehensive tour combines two tours of Rome & Vatican City to cover all the highlights — the Sistine Chapel, the Gallery of Maps, Raphael's Rooms, St Peter's Basilica, Santa Maria Maggiore, and St Paul's Cathedral. This is the only tour that gets you to all the Basilicas in one day. Choose from either a morning tour or afternoon tour.
Fantastic tour, well worth it! The morning was spent at the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St Peter's Basilica, and seeing the lines, we were very happy to skip them! Our tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable and knew all the interesting bits of history trivia. In the afternoon, Rebecca took us to see the three Papal Basilicas outside the Vatican. Being an art historian, Rebecca knew every detail of these masterpieces, the art, and the artists who made them. She made the history come to life and made it truly enjoyable!"
– 5-Star Review
The official language of Vatican City is Latin. That's right, like ancient Roman Latin.
Go to a Vatican bank machine and the default command is: Insertio scidulam quasi ut faciundam cognoscas rationem. In case your Latin is just a tad rusty, it that means, "insert your card for the account to be recognized."