Private Tour

Highlights of the Vatican Private Tour: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s Basilica

Art & History
Duration: 3 Hours
Languages: EN, ES, ZH, RU

The Vatican is Italy’s most popular attraction with roughly 6.9 million visitors annually. Get the most out of your trip to Rome on this Vatican private tour covering the highlights of Vatican City in just three hours! All with enlightening storytelling from a licensed guide and skip the line access at both the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica.


Perfect for:
  • First Timers
  • Art & History Lovers
Covid-19 Health & Safety Measures

What to Expect

Visit the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica on this must-do Vatican private tour with personalized attention from your guide! With some 12,000 rooms spanning nearly 4,000 years of history, the Vatican’s magnificent museum complex can be overwhelming, so let an expert guide introduce you to its defining highlights on this Vatican private tour curated to your preferences. Whether you want to see the Vatican’s greatest hits or are seeking an in-depth understanding of the art that most catches your interest, your guide will pace and shape the visit to your preferences.

 

Feast your eyes on one of the world most extensive collections gathered by art-loving Popes and see for yourself why the Vatican is a mecca for millions of travelers. Along with the well-known artists, you will also be introduced to lesser-known masterpieces lurking just off the beaten tourist path waiting to be discovered. This complete Vatican private tour engages first-timers and regular museumgoers with art and architecture in a personal way.

 

Our carefully planned Vatican private tour takes you out of the line and into the company of an art historian who guides you through its lavishly decorated galleries. Corners of the Vatican such as the Pio-Clementino courtyard with the famous antique marble statues of the Laocoon and Apollo Belvedere, as well as the galleries of the Candelabra, Tapestries, and Maps will be passed through en route to the Sistine Chapel.

 

In the Sistine Chapel, gaze in amazement at the 1200 square meters ceiling where Michelangelo painted key scenes from the Book of Genesis. Learn entertaining little details behind the fresco and understand the Creation of the World. Marvel at the Christian-inspired Last Judgment fresco covering the whole altar wall of the Chapel. Between the two frescoes is an interval of almost twenty-five years and you will realize the evolution and development of Michelangelo’s painting style.

 

With special access directly from the Sistine Chapel, entry to St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest and holiest place of Christian worship in the world where you will take a journey into the history of the Popes and the Catholic Church. The tour concludes in the Basilica with its imposing dome and the sculpted marble masterpiece of the Pieta’, both designed by Michelangelo. Bernini’s impressive Baroque baldachino above the high altar, where only the Pope is allowed to say Mass, is lavishly covered in gold and bronze.

 

Where does the Vatican Private Tour start?

You will meet your guide directly at the Vatican – at an easy to find point near the entrance to the Museums. Your confirmation email – which you will receive when you book your tour – will have the exact meeting point details.


Highlights

  • Pinecone Courtyard
  • Belvedere Apollo
  • Laocoön
  • Belvedere Torso
  • Greek Cross Hall
  • Gallery of Candelabra
  • Gallery of Tapestries
  • Gallery of Maps
  • Sistine Chapel
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Michelangelo’s Pietà
  • Bernini’s Baldachin

What Is Included

  • Private licensed professional local guide
  • Tickets & reservation fees for skip the line access to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel with pre-reserved entry time
  • St. Peter’s Basilica fast track entrance tickets

What Is Not Included

  • Transportation
  • If your group numbers more than 6, the Vatican requires that you rent earphones at the door for 3 Euro/person, paid directly on site (earphones prices may vary slightly without notice)
  • Food & drinks
  • Tips (optional)
  • Anything not expressly mentioned as included

Meeting Point

At an easy to find location near the entrance to the Museums. Full details provided upon booking. Upon request, we can arrange a private luxury vehicle for commuting to the Vatican.

Important Information

  • This private tour is available on request from Monday to Saturday.
  • Vatican Museums Closing Days in 2022: 11 February, 19 March, 18 April, 29 June, 15 August, 1 November, 8 and 26 December.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica is an active church and can be subject to unscheduled last minute closures due to liturgical celebrations or unforeseen circumstances. If this occurs during your visit, you will be offered an extended itinerary within the Museums.
  • For safety reasons, all visitors must pass through metal detectors and there is sometimes a line for this.
  • On Wednesday mornings, except late July and August, the Pope holds an audience during which access to St. Peter Basilica could be closed. To avoid problems in entering the Basilica, on that day please choose an afternoon tour.
  • Mandatory Covid-19 Rules – Traveler Requirements starting from August 6, 2021 until further notice:
    All participants who are over 6 years old are required to bring and wear a facemask.
    In accordance with government guidelines, during the service all participants must maintain a safety distance of 1 meter from other people.
    All participants who are over 12 years old must present one of the following: proof of full vaccination, proof of first vaccination administered at least 15 days before the activity starts, proof of a Covid-19 infection in the past 6 months, or a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before the activity starts.
    All participants who are over 12 years old must bring and present a valid government-issued photo ID (e.g. passport, driver’s license, etc.) matching the vaccination or test results.
    Those who will not present the required documents will not be entitled to any credit or refund. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, read here or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

Good to Know

  • All members of your party must present at the Vatican Museums a valid proof of identification prior to entrance (copies of passports or ID on your phone will be fine).
  • The Vatican has a strict dress code. Men and women must have their shoulders and knees covered at all times. Access to the Museums will be granted only to appropriately dressed visitors (sleeveless and low-cut garments, shorts, mini-skirts and hats are not permitted).
  • You may only carry small handbags inside the Vatican (smaller than 40cm length x 35cm width x 15cm depth). Anything bigger than this, or any umbrellas or camera tripods, must be checked into the Vatican Museums cloakroom at the beginning of the tour. The cloakroom storage is free of charge, but please be aware that it is located approximately 20 minutes walking distance from the conclusion point of the tour. And because the cloakroom closes at 4pm, those doing the afternoon tour may not be able to retrieve their belongings until the following day. Thus, we recommend traveling light and leave any unnecessary belongings at the hotel.
  • The Vatican Museum reserve the right to deny entrance to any individual not adhering to their entrance rules and restrictions including, but not limited to, providing proper identification and conformance to its dress code.
  • This tour is not suitable for wheelchair users or those with impaired mobility.

How to Book Your Private Tour

  • Send Us Your Inquiry
    Fill out the tour inquiry form and we will respond with availability and price quote.
  • Payment Policy
    Full payment by credit card is required to make a reservation. We use industry leader Stripe for all card transactions.
  • Tour Voucher
    Within two business days of payment, we will email you a voucher with all the booking details. Such email constitutes your proof of purchase.

Tour FAQs

Can I bring a bag with me to the Vatican Museums?

Yes, you can bring a small handbag inside the Vatican with you (smaller than 40cm length x 35cm width x 15cm depth). Anything bigger than this, or any umbrellas or camera tripods, must be checked into the Vatican Museums cloakroom at the beginning of the tour. The cloakroom storage is free of charge, but please be aware that the tour ends on the other side of the Vatican Museums entrance, an approx. 20 minutes’ walk away from the bag collection point. Visitors who are forced to check bags must therefore walk back to the entrance after their tour. And because the cloakroom closes at 4pm, those doing the afternoon tour may not be able to retrieve their belongings until the following day. Thus, we recommend that visitors travel light and leave the majority of their gear at the hotel.

Is this Vatican Private Tour suitable for kids?

We've specifically designed a different version of this tour for families interested in taking their children to experience the Vatican. Please see our Vatican for Kids Private Tour.

At the end of the tour, will I be able to explore the Vatican Museums on my own?

Yes, you can but you would have to refrain from entering St. Peter’s Basilica with your guide and thus miss out on that part of the tour. This Vatican private tour leaves the Vatican Museums through a one-way special access door from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s Basilica. Once you have exited the Museums, you cannot re-enter without waiting in the line and purchasing a new ticket, as the Vatican tickets are single entry only.

Can I remain in the Basilica once my Vatican private tour is over?

You are more than welcome to linger after the tour in St. Peter’s Basilica. The tour ends inside the Basilica, which is a very convenient location to visit the Vatican post office or climb the Dome. Your guide will be happy to point you in the right direction.

Does this Vatican Private Tour includes a climb to St. Peter’s Dome?

No but you are more than welcome to climb the Dome on your own after the tour is over. Please note that the skip the line Vatican entrance tickets do not cover admittance to the Dome and you will need to purchase a ticket directly on site. Also not that there may be a line to enter throughout the high season. The Dome closes at 5 pm (October-March) or 6 pm (April-September), so make sure you plan your day accordingly.

Do you use headsets on your Vatican tours?

Only when needed. The Vatican makes it COMPULSORY for all groups of 6 or more participants so that your guide can clearly communicate with your party without disturbing other visitors and with consideration for the Holy nature of the Vatican.

Would you like to personalize this tour?

If you would like us to put together a bespoke tour tailored to your needs, our dedicated trip planning specialists are on hand to help you develop an experience that will be just right for you and yours.
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Highlights of the Vatican Private Tour: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s Basilica

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