Things to do in
Courtyard of the Pigna

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Courtyard of the Pigna: Our most recommended tours and activities

Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel: Tour

1. Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel: Tour

Discover one of the greatest art collections in the world on a guided tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.  Your local guide will take you to the most interesting galleries within the museums – the Rotunda, Gallery of Tapestries and Gallery of Maps. Each of these rooms contains ornate ceilings with the walls decorated with ancient statues, frescoes, and tapestries. Of course, the greatest gem of the Vatican collection is not a painting on any wall, but an entire ceiling and wall completely frescoed by the greatest genius of the Renaissance period – Michelangelo Buonarotti. From the Creation of Adam to the Last Judgement, Michelangelo dedicated some of his greatest years to the Sistine Chapel, working day and night – even sleeping in the chapel – to satisfy the popes of Rome. He also expressed his frustration with his employers with jokes hidden in his work. Today these have been uncovered and understood. Listen as your guide lets you in on Michelangelo’s private jokes.

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Vatican Museums Early Entry Tour with Buffet Breakfast

2. Vatican Museums Early Entry Tour with Buffet Breakfast

Have the Vatican to yourself on this exclusive early morning tour that whisks you through closed doors for a buffet breakfast in the peaceful Pinecone Courtyard, 1.5 hours before anyone else enters the museums! While the general public waits in line outside, you’ll feast on an Italian-American breakfast buffet of cooked-to-order eggs, meats, cheeses, muffins, croissants, fresh fruits, cereals, and even pancakes, flipped by the Vatican's pancake chef. Dining in the beautiful Pinecone Courtyard, alongside one of the Vatican Museums' most beautiful works of modern art, experience a level of tranquility rarely seen by Vatican visitors. Then follow your guide to explore the Vatican Museums. Still closed to the general public, the Museums are quieter now than throughout the rest of the day. With only 10 people per group, you’ll have time and space to really appreciate the art. See rooms such as the Hall of Maps, Gallery of the Tapestries, Gallery of the Candelabra and incredible Raphael Rooms. Your guide will bring works of art to life, pointing out things you would have missed on your own. Continue to the legendary Sistine Chapel. Then, skip the ticket lines to enter St. Peter’s Basilica. See the altar and marvel at Michelangelo’s La Pietà sculpture.

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Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel: Reserved Entrance

3. Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel: Reserved Entrance

Take in the highlights of the Vatican Museums, from the Sistine Chapel to lesser-known gems of the collection. Visit the Hall of Maps, the Pinecone Courtyard, the Gallery of Tapestries, the Gallery of Candelabra and the incredible Raphael Rooms. A definite highlight of your visit is the Sistine Chapel. Take some time to admire the details you have heard about, including Michelangelo’s boneless self-portrait, in which he expresses to the world that he would rather be skinned alive than paint the Sistine Chapel again! As incredible as his work is, you’ll appreciate it even more up close and after you’ve seen what it takes to create a fresco. Redeem your voucher at the Touristation office then the staff will accompany you into the Museums to get your official reserved ticket.

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Rome: Vatican City and Sistine Chapel Guided Tour

4. Rome: Vatican City and Sistine Chapel Guided Tour

Enjoy a comprehensive tour of the Vatican City and see some of the highlights from the papal collection in the miles of galleries that form the Vatican Museums. Marvel at masterpieces of art from across the centuries on an itinerary focused on the most important areas of the museum. Go to the Cortile della Pigna (Pine Cone Courtyard) to see the fountain of a pine cone that once stood next to the Temple of Isis. Marvel at the octagonal courtyard of the Cortile Ottagono. Next, go to the Gallery of the Candelabra to see some 2nd-century candelabra from Otricoli. Continue to the Gallery of Tapestries to admire Flemish tapestries by some of Raphael’s students. Discover historic maps of the world in the Gallery of Maps, before visiting one of the most beautiful Renaissance rooms in the world. Enter the apartments that Raphael painted for Julius II, before going to the private chambers of the Borgia Pope Alexander VI. Enter the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo's masterpiece frescoes and ceiling painting of the “Last Judgment.” Then, go inside the Basilica of St. Peter to experience the grandeur and spirituality of one of the world’s most important cathedrals. Discover a treasure trove of art contained within, such as the “Pietà” by Michelangelo and “St. Peter's Baldachin” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

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Rome: Vatican Morning Tour with Breakfast

5. Rome: Vatican Morning Tour with Breakfast

Be amongst the firsts and spend the morning touring the Vatican Museums. Choose from either a shared or private guided experience to stroll through quiet galleries, see the museums' highlights, and experience the Sistine Chapel before the crowds arrive. Your morning experience in the Vatican begins with an American-style breakfast in one of the most beautiful parts of the Vatican, the famous Pinecone Courtyard. Once you finish up your coffee, your tour guide will take you through the peaceful museum galleries to show you the highlights from the vast collections Popes have acquired throughout centuries. Your tour continues towards the Sistine Chapel, home to the breathtaking frescoes painted 500 years ago by Michaelangelo. The last stop of the tour will be inside St.Peter's Basilica accessible directly from the Sistine Chapel. During the course of the pandemic, the tour will end in the Sistine Chapel.

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Vatican: Small Group Tour with VIP Access and Breakfast

6. Vatican: Small Group Tour with VIP Access and Breakfast

Start your day at the Vatican early and skip the notoriously long ticket lines by following a special route through the museums that gets you to the Sistine Chapel just as it opens for the day. Arrive with a small group of 15 people or fewer a full hour before most of the crowd does and spend a peaceful half hour soaking up Michelangelo’s masterpiece along with stunning frescoes by other important Renaissance artists. Continue on to the Pinecone Courtyard for a large buffet breakfast including hot and cold dishes, fruit juice, tea, and coffee. Once you’ve eaten your fill, we’ll head back into the museums for a tour of the most famous artifacts, including the Belvedere Torso, the Apollo Belvedere, the Laocoön Group, and the Raphael Rooms, widely considered to be among the most beautifully-frescoed interiors in the world. The last stop of the tour is St. Peter’s Basilica. But instead of heading outside to wait in line, slip through an underground tunnel that takes you directly into the Basilica for a full tour including highlights such as Bernini’s Baldachin, Michelangelo’s Pietá, and more.

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Vatican: Skip-the-Line Afternoon Tour

7. Vatican: Skip-the-Line Afternoon Tour

On this 3.5-hour afternoon tour you’ll skip the lines and enter the Vatican Museums directly to discover the wonders and the stories hidden inside. Visit the Pavilion of the Carriages, the Pinecone Courtyard, the Hall of the Maps, the Gallery of Tapestries, the Pinacoteca, the Round Room, Belvedere Courtyard, Room of the Muses and Candelabra Gallery. Your guide will provide information about the Sistine Chapel before entering, as it is forbidden to talk once inside. Marvel at the beauty of Michelangelo's most important masterwork without the crowds, as you’ll be visiting at the end of the day. From the Sistine Chapel, you’ll enter St. Peter's Basilica directly, avoiding the security lines. Inside you will have a full tour with your guide. Please note that the Basilica is subject to closure, sometimes without notice. If this happens, you will be provided with an extended tour inside the Vatican Museums.

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Rome: Full-Day Vatican and Colosseum Guided Tour Combo

8. Rome: Full-Day Vatican and Colosseum Guided Tour Combo

Start your experience with a visit to the Vatican Museums. Learn about the Vatican’s 4000-year-old history, and see the Galleries of Tapestries, Maps, and Candelabras, before taking a stroll in Bramante’s Pinecone Courtyard. Next, proceed to the Sistine Chapel, and stare in delight at Michelangelo’s famous The Creation of Adam, as well as The Last Judgement. Whilst here you can also spend time taking in the enchantment of the Pope’s private chapel. Continue with a visit to the beautiful St Peter’s Basilica. Admire works like La Pietà, a stunning Michelangelo sculpture created by the artist when he was just 24, as well as Bernini’s Baldacchino. In the afternoon, move onto the Colosseum for a tour. Admire the engineering and architecture of this fascinating monument, and learn from your guide about the history behind it.

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Rome: Vatican Early Entrance Private Tour

9. Rome: Vatican Early Entrance Private Tour

Enjoy an exclusive and private tour of the Vatican, with early entrance to avoid the crowds. The tour starts at 08:00, before the general public are admitted, providing a special opportunity to see the treasures of the Vatican Museums and visit a freshly awakened Sistine Chapel almost unhindered Explore the highlights of the papal palace, from the Greek statues of the Lacoon to the Tapestries and the exquisite Raphael Rooms. Tailor your visit to include the aspects of the collections you want to see, whether in the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, or St. Peter’s Basilica. Your personal guide will not only enlighten you with the Vatican’s fascinating history, but share bits of papal gossip and little-known stories about the popes and artists represented.

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Skip-the-Ticket-Line Vatican Tour and Sistine Chapel

10. Skip-the-Ticket-Line Vatican Tour and Sistine Chapel

Step inside the Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel with skip-the-line entry. Experience all the wonders and history the Vatican has to offer on this guided tour. Skip the queues and be whisked straight into the Vatican. Once inside, your expert guide will show you the best of the Pinecone Courtyard, Gallery of Tapestries, and the highlights of the Papal art collection in the Raphael Rooms. Marvel at Michelangelo’s most famous masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel, and hear the history from your guide. Continue to St Peter’s Basilica, which is larger than the Statue of Liberty. Gaze up into its massive dome and see its iconic sculptures, mosaics, and hidden details. Finish your tour at St. Peter’s Square, where the faithful gather to listen when the Pope appears. Come away with an understanding of the Vatican's history and see how it has impacted the modern world.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Courtyard of the Pigna

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What people are saying about Courtyard of the Pigna

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 9,709 reviews

Alessandra, our guide, was very helpful and provided all the necessary information about the sightseeings with details. Would definitely recommend this page to everyone in order to avoid the lines.

Even though I booked the tour at 1:30 pm, our guide gave us the 3:30 pm tickets. If you want to visit this museum, book directly on the museum website. It is more convenient and less expensive.

This was a great way to tour the Vatican. There is so much history and material here that having a guide makes everything more digestible. Highly recommend.

It was a great tour. Enjoyed it a lot. Wish we could have more time. Not sure if it would be more helpful to also have an audioguide.

The experience was excellent!! The guide was on time waiting for us and she knows about everything a lot!!!