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ABOUT VATICAN MUSEUMS & SISTINE CHAPEL TOUR

Home to some of the world’s most stunning artwork, the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel are a top destination in Rome. The building started out as a palace and the rooms were lavishly decorated by the popes. The collections of artwork grew over time, as did the palace itself, until it became what is now called Vatican City. 

A Vatican City Tour is simply essential when visiting Rome. When you enter the Vatican Museums and start exploring the various collections with your guide, you will be completely immersed in exquisite decor. The ceilings and floors have wonderful attention to detail which often goes unnoticed because of the extent of artwork on display which you will have the pleasure of admiring during your Vatican Tour. 

Your Vatican Tour guide will give you the history of the beautiful art held within the Vatican Museums as well as the interpersonal relationships between the popes, the artists and influential citizens. There is always much more than meets the eye. 

With literally thousands of pieces to see during the Vatican Museum Tour, your guide will introduce you to classical sculptures, like the Belvedere Torso that inspired Michelangelo. The breathtaking immensity and beauty of the Raphael Rooms are not to be missed as well as a view overlooking the Vatican Gardens. The awe-inspiring fresco work of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel is made all the more interesting when your guide points out a few of the likenesses in the Last Judgment that caused a stir at the time of its unveiling.

The Vatican Tours are a bucket list item for a reason, just walking through the galleries and admiring the incredible artistry is worth a trip to Rome. Whether you are interested in a Vatican City Tour or a Vatican Gardens tour, you are sure to find the ideal Vatican Museums Tour that suits your needs.

VATICAN TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel tour is sure to be a highlight of your time in Rome. The beauty of the paintings and the intensity of the sculptures will be unforgettable. The sheer size of the art collections held within the Vatican are impossible to see in just one visit. You may want a classic Vatican tour that covers the most important pieces in the museum or maybe you’re an art history buff and you want something that goes into more detail. Here a just a few examples of the types of Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel tours that you may be interested in:

  • Classic Vatican Tours: This is the ideal tour if it is your first time visiting the Vatican Museum or if you just want to see the old favorites. You will get in-depth history from a licensed guide while hitting all the major masterpieces of the collections.
  • Early entrance Vatican Walking Tour: Getting up early in the morning will be worth it when you get to stand in the Sistine Chapel with just a few other visitors. You will have time to admire the genius of Michelangelo’s frescoes before making your way back through the museum with your guide.
  • Vatican at Night Tour: This Vatican at Night tour is for the traveler who has been to the Vatican Museums more than once or the traveler that is searching for a truly unique Vatican Tour experience. You will have the opportunity to explore the Vatican at night and enjoy smaller crowds as the tickets are limited.
  • Vatican Skip the Line tickets: For travelers with limited time or on a budget, Vatican Museum tickets are the way to go. You can choose a time for your Vatican Museum ticket and either roam about inside the Vatican Museums or purchase a Vatican Museums audio guide tour. Either way you will be able to explore the beauty of the collections at your own pace.

VISITOR HIGHLIGHTS

  • One of the most impressive aspects of the Vatican Museums is the massive spiral staircase that you will see once you are inside the museums and have passed the security check. Although most Vatican tours don’t use the staircase, you can admire it at the end of your Vatican guided tour.
  • During your Vatican tour you will visit the incredibly beautiful ancient sculptures found in the Octagonal Courtyard. The Laocoön and the Belvedere Torso are particularly impressive and were said to have inspired Michelangelo.
  • Hearing your Vatican tour guide’s description of the priceless porphyry bathtub and envisioning the infamous emperor Nero bathing in his gargantuan marble tub full of donkey’s milk.
  • Enjoying the anticipation and buildup to entering the Sistine Chapel after your guide has described the frescoes, the very stern guards are warning you to remain silent just add to the excitement.
  • Standing in awe of Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel especially when you learn that painting wasn’t even his preferred method of artistic expression.
  • Examining the creatures of the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel and searching for the hidden figures that Michelangelo placed within his masterpiece.
  • Walking through the Gallery of the Maps during your Vatican guided tour and examining the incredible details and accuracy of the frescoed maps of Italy.
  • Wandering the Vatican Museums and admiring the Gallery of the Tapestries, especially when your Vatican guide points out that the eyes of Jesus follow you as you walk past.
  • The overwhelming beauty of the Raphael Rooms and the quiet reverence that you feel as you walk from painting to painting.
  • The gratitude and appreciation for your Vatican Tour Guide as they entertain and educate you with their passion and knowledge. Knowing that taking a Vatican guided tour was well worth and enjoying your newfound love of art history.

TRAVEL TIPS

  • Know where you are going. Check the Vatican Museums entrance location and Vatican Museums hours in order to make sure you arrive at your correct meeting point and have enough time to visit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel.
  • Always make sure to wear comfortable shoes in Rome. This doesn’t mean the shoes can’t be stylish but keep in mind that you will be walking on cobblestone streets, marble staircases and uneven pavement.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. The Vatican Museum's entrance requires that you cover your knees and shoulders. A fashionable scarf that can cover your shoulders is the perfect accessory when walking around Rome in the summer.
  • Multiple tours may be better than one long tour. Instead of booking a full day of tours that visit multiple attractions, spread the tours out throughout your stay in Rome.
  • Make sure you are charged. Nothing is worse than your phone or camera running out of battery in the middle of your Vatican Museums tour. Bring an external charger just in case.
  • Check the Vatican Museums hours and the map of Rome when booking your tours. Arranging your tours and itinerary will save you loads of time and you won’t be constantly traveling from one side of the city to the other.
  • Don’t book tours back to back because you may want to spend more time in the Vatican Museum. Avoid the stress of rushing from one tour to the next by allowing ample time in between tours.

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

  • Make sure you have enough time to find your Vatican Museums meeting point. Try to arrive at least 15 minutes before the Vatican tour departure time.
  • Vatican group tours may not be wheelchair accessible. Not all Vatican tours will follow a path that is wheelchair accessible so be sure to check the tour details. Private Vatican tours are the easiest option.
  • Security at the Vatican Museums has been increased and visitors are required to pass through a metal detector and scan their belongings.
  • Only bring what you plan to carry. While the Vatican Museums do provide luggage storage, it is located at the entrance and you may have to retrace your steps to get back to the storage area. Of course, if it is absolutely necessary, you can use the Vatican Museums luggage storage. Just be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to retrieve your bags.
  • Don’t slow your Vatican group tour down, make sure to use a bathroom before the Vatican tour begins. There are toilets at the Vatican Museums entrance, after the security check, as well as throughout the Vatican Museums. Be sure to tell your Vatican tour guide that you are using the facilities so you don’t get left behind!

SAFETY MEASURES

  • Face masks covering the nose and mouth are required
  • Temperature checks will be carried out at entrances
  • Social distancing measures will be enforced inside monuments and churches

What to Bring:

  • Passport/ID card or photocopy
  • Student ID if applicable
  • Clothing that is weather appropriate
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle (there are fountains all around Rome)
  • Scarf to cover shoulders for entrance to the Sistine Chapel

 

GETTING THERE

How to reach the Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums are located in the northern part of Rome and across the Tiber River from many of the city’s main attractions.

  • Train: The Stazione Roma San Pietro is a regional train station that connects with Termini Station, Tiburtina Station and Ostiense Station. The Vatican Museum's entrance is at least a 20 minute walk from the San Pietro station.
  • Metro A: The Vatican Museums are accessible by foot from either Ottaviano or Cipro metro stations (A line).
  • Metro B: Take the metro to Termini station and switch to the A line (direction Battistini). Get off at either Ottaviano or Cipro station.
  • Metro C: Take the metro to San Giovanni and switch to the A line (direction Battistini). Get off at either Ottaviano or Cipro station.
  • Bus: Many public buses stop in front of/nearby the Vatican Museums - 40, 62, 64 and 81
  • Tram: The #19 tram passes close to the Vatican. The route is quite long and it is only recommended to take this tram if you are only traveling a few stops.
  • Car: Paid parking is available around the Vatican Museums. Make sure to leave your ticket on your car’s dashboard. It is recommended to pay for extra time just in case.
  • By foot: The Vatican Museums are located close to the center of Rome and are easily accessible by foot. Allow enough time to reach the Vatican Museums by walking at a leisurely pace, you don’t want to be tired before your tour begins!
  • By bike: Make sure to park your bicycle outside of the Piazza San Pietro area because it may be removed by the authorities. Always lock your bicycle securely to avoid theft.
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