LivingTravelThe 7 Best Vatican Tours of 2019

The 7 Best Vatican Tours of 2019

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Vatican City, the former seat of the Pope and the spiritual and administrative heart of the Catholic Church, is home to some of the most famous and beautiful works of art and architecture in the world. The Vatican itself, completely surrounded by Rome, is small and easy to navigate, but due to the overwhelming amount of history contained within the walls of its museums and churches, a tour guide can be an invaluable resource. A good tour company will provide both an expert guide in religious and artistic history and the Vatican itself, and will often also help navigate the sometimes complicated processes of obtaining tickets and entry to some of the museums and chapels. Do you want someone to give you the scoop? Take a look below at the best Vatican tours to book today.

01
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Best Comprehensive Museum Tour: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and more

Buy tickets with Viator

Avoid getting confused and overwhelmed by the labyrinthine buildings that make up the Vatican Museum complex, and instead let your guide guide you, enter through a special entrance, and wander from one masterpiece to another. Your guide will help you understand the context and history of the Gallery of Maps, the Gallery of Tapestries, the Raphael Rooms, the magnificent Sistine Chapel with its frescoes by Michelangelo on the wall and ceiling, as well as the enormous Basilica of Saint Peter. An after hours experience and a small group upgrade are also available.

02
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Best Sistine Chapel Tour: Sistine Chapel Private Tour

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This tour takes visitors on a private behind-the-scenes VIP experience through the Sistine Chapel and several less-seen rooms in the Vatican Museums. Guests will enter through a private entrance, accompanied by a Vatican guard, who unlocks special rooms and hallways just for you and your guide. The rooms visited during the tour depend on those used for formal church or papal functions, but generally include the Bramante staircase, the treasure-filled Sala degli Ori (Golden Room), and the frescoes by Fra Angelico in the Niccoline Chapel. The highlight, however, is the after-hours small-group tour of the Sistine Chapel, including commentary from your guide (not allowed during regular opening hours). The Sistine Chapel portion lasts at least half an hour, so you can really stop, relax, and absorb the beauty of the place while learning about the painstaking process of its creation.

03
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Best Private Tour: Vatican with Early Entry

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Get out of bed early and meet your guide for a special private tour that begins a full hour before the museums officially open to the public. The tour lasts approximately three hours and includes the highlights of the Vatican Museums’ extensive collection of visual art, the Sistine Chapel (live commentary is not allowed, but your guide will bring you up to speed before entering), plus the quirky St. Peter’s Basilica, through a special private passage that allows you to skip the line at the latter. At each stop, your guide will illuminate specific pieces of art and the symbolism and theology behind them, offering more insight into the millennia of history, politics, and interpersonal intrigue contained within these walls.

04
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Best VIP Tour: Awakening the Vatican – Small-Group VIP Tour Before Museums Open

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The Vatican is a unique trip for Catholics and art lovers of all religious beliefs. Why not do it in style? Get the behind-the-scenes tour when you arrive early in the morning and accompany the Vatican clavigero (keeper of keys) as they open doors and turn on lights in the labyrinth of elaborate chapels and chapels, including Raphael’s Rooms and the Gallery of Maps . You will have some private time inside the Sistine Chapel, accompanied by a guide, a rare gift that is not available during normal opening hours, when strict silence is imposed inside the chapel. Do you have any questions? Ask away! After all the lights are on and the Vatican opens, you are invited to serve yourself a buffet breakfast on Pinecone’s patio.

05
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Best Combination Tour: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, Colosseum and more

Buy tickets with Viator

Sign up for two tours in one day with this skip-the-line, priority entry tour that starts the day by touring the extensive holdings of the Vatican Museums and, of course, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s. After some free time for lunch on your own, your guide will recommend places for lunch, if you need ideas, you will meet again for a tour of the Colosseum, the ancient Roman amphitheater where gladiators and Caesars once walked. You’ll also visit the neighboring Roman Forum and climb the Palatine Hill, whose summit will give you a view of the ancient Circus Maximus. It’s a day filled with education, history, art and fun, and particularly with the cost savings that come with the package, it’s a fantastic deal.

06
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Best Breakfast Tour: Exclusive Vatican Breakfast with Early Museum Access

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Breakfast at the Vatican? Sure why not? Begin your Vatican tour in the Pinecone Courtyard or Vatican Cafe for a hearty breakfast, followed by an optional 45-minute open-air bus ride through the Vatican Gardens, where you will see everything from the meditation gardens used by the popes to the private Heliport located on the grounds. After this excursion, return to the Vatican Museums for a guided tour of its most notable rooms, as well as the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica, where your glamorous morning ends.

07
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Best Tour for Kids: Private Vatican Tour for Kids

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If your children prefer Michelangelo and Raphael in their Ninja Turtle form, you may fear trying to drag them through the Vatican Museums, but this tour is specifically geared to be fun and exciting for them (and quite informative and fascinating for your children. Adults). , also). You will skip the lines (crucial) and your guide will point out the most important pieces of art, but also objects of art for children, including the huge bathtub of Emperor Nero and the real mummy found in the Egyptian Museum in the Vatican. You will also, of course, visit the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica, but your guide will make sure both stops are a blast for the whole family.

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