Courtyard of the Pigna: Our most recommended tours and activities

Rome: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Skip-The-Line Tickets

1. Rome: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Skip-The-Line Tickets

Design your own itinerary with a full-day skip-the-ticket-line ticket, map, and a brief orientation, so you can enjoy the highlights of the Vatican museums’ famous collections at your own pace. Start by exploring areas most tour groups never see, like the paintings in the Pinacoteca gallery and the Etruscan museum, or spend more time admiring the scenery in famous areas like the Pinecone Courtyard and Gallery of Maps.  No trip to the Vatican is complete without visiting its shining star: the Sistine Chapel. Your ticket includes entry to the chapel and your orientation provides information on what to look for when you visit this incredible treasure.

Rome: Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica Tour

2. Rome: Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica Tour

Discover the best of the Vatican in a single visit. Skip the ticket line to the key attractions and see outstanding examples of art and architecture in the company of your expert guide. Enjoy an optimized itinerary designed to allow you to get the best out of your visit to the Vatican Museums in a limited time frame, taking in the remarkable Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, and St. Peter’s basilica among other highlights in the company of one of our expert guides. Visit the Sistine Chapel, where you’ll get the chance to gaze up at Michelangelo’s ceiling as your guide explains the secrets behind Michelangelo’s masterful paintings. Close to the Sistine Chapel is the suite of private papal apartments known as the Raphael Rooms. These exquisitely decorated rooms contain some of the finest examples of Raphael’s work, including the “School of Athens," a group portrait of antiquity's most famous philosophers, many of them in the guises of Raphael’s contemporaries. Often overlooked by visitors who are in a hurry to get to the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms deserve more than a brief pitstop — your guide will ensure that you have plenty of time to admire Raphael’s works at your leisure. Your visit to the Vatican Museums is a great opportunity to discover its remarkable collections of ancient sculptures, including the legendary Laocoon and Apollo Belvedere. These classical artworks had a profound impact on the artists of the Renaissance, and their muscular anatomies and psychological intensity strongly influenced the work of Michelangelo and Raphael. Accompanied by an expert art historian, you’ll learn all about these ancient masterpieces and gain a greater appreciation of Greek and Roman art. Walk through the famous Gallery of Maps, admire the Pinecone Courtyard and visit the Belvedere Courtyard. Although it’s impossible to see the entire extent of the Vatican’s enormous collection in a few hours, on this tour, you'll see a series of unmissable highlights. After exiting the Sistine Chapel, enter St Peter’s Basilica directly, without having to wait in line. The basilica has been enriched over the centuries by the hands of countless artists and architects. During your St Peter’s Basilica tour, your guide will tell you the fascinating history of the basilica and put it in the context of Christian history, from its origins as a burial ground to its current state of splendor and international importance.

Rome: Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Reserved Entrance

3. Rome: 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, Pinecone Courtyard, Gallery of Tapestries, Gallery of Candelabra, and Raphael Rooms. Choose to add an open-top bus tour of the Vatican Gardens or an Italian breakfast. Redeem your voucher at the activity provider's office. Be taken by their staff to the Vatican Museums to get your official reserved ticket. Enjoy exploring at your own pace. Admire the immense art collection amassed by the Catholic Church, including Roman sculptures and Renaissance masterpieces. Visit the Sistine Chapel. 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. See what it takes to create a fresco and appreciate the work up close. Depending on the option chosen, then take a panoramic open-top bus around the Vatican Gardens. Listen to the multi-lingual audioguide to learn their secrets. Marvel at the elegant fountains and the sculptures as you tour the gardens.

Rome: Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel&St Peter's Guided Tour

4. Rome: Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel&St Peter's Guided Tour

Experience all the wonders and history the Vatican has to offer on this guided tour. See stunning art in the Vatican Museums, discover the Sistine Chapel, and admire the stunning St. Peter's Basilica. Meet your guide and step inside the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel with skip-the-line entry. Once inside, see the best of the Pinecone Courtyard and Gallery of Tapestries. Marvel at Michelangelo’s most famous masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel, and learn all about its history from your guide. Return to St. Peter’s Square to admire Bernini’s clever optical illusion and St. Peter's Basilica's heavenly facade.

Rome: Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Tour with Breakfast

5. Rome: Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Tour with 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 Vatican's Courtyard, before anyone else enters the museums. Feast on an Italian-American breakfast buffet of cooked-to-order eggs, meats, cheeses, muffins, croissants, fresh fruits, cereals, and pancakes made by the Vatican's pancake chef. Dine in the Vatican's Courtyard, alongside one of the Vatican Museums' most beautiful works of modern art, and experience tranquility rarely seen by Vatican visitors. Follow your guide to explore the Vatican Museums. With only 13 people per group, take the time and space to appreciate the art. See rooms such as the Hall of Maps, Gallery of the Tapestries, and the Gallery of the Candelabra. 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.

Vatican Skip-the-line ticket

6. Vatican Skip-the-line ticket

Enjoy extra time to view the largest collection of artwork at the Vatican Museums with these skip-the-line tickets. The Gallery of the Tapestries is accessible by foot from the Round Room. You can find the renowned Gallery of the Maps as well as the Belvedere and Pinecone Courtyards. Danti's topographical charts of Italy from 1583 are all throughout this room. You may view the Greek Cross Hall, the Gallery of the Statues, the Hall of the Muses, and other works by centuries-spanning painters by perusing the Pio Clementino Museum. Explore the Carriage Pavilion's magnificent collection of former ceremonial carriages. Visit the Raphael Rooms to take in the Vatican's treasures. Enjoy the spaces of the Vatican Museum and the magnificent High Renaissance paintings inside. Observe the Sistine Chapel, the most well-known structure in the world. Behold the exquisite frescoes by Botticelli, Rosselli, Perugino, and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling, which is the most well-known of them.

Rome: Vatican & Sistine Chapel Tour with Access to Basilica

7. Rome: Vatican & Sistine Chapel Tour with Access to Basilica

Join a guided tour in Rome to discover some of the most important masterpieces of the Greco-Roman world and of Renaissance art at the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel with skip-the-line entry tickets. Later, visit Saint Peter’s Basilica to explore it at your own pace. Enter the Vatican Museums from the priority entrance, skipping the long waiting hours in the ticket line. Start the tour in the Courtyard of the Armor for a glimpse of the Vatican Gardens, and continue to the Courtyard of the Pine Cone located in the middle of the ancient papal buildings. Cross some rooms of the Belvedere Palace, the Pope’s former summer residence while nowadays home to the Pius Clementine Museum, which hosts important findings of Greco-Roman art, including the Apollo Belvedere and the Laocoön Group. Then, arrive at the 3 Galleries that take you to the papal apartments – the Gallery of the Candelabra, the Gallery of Tapestries with works of the Flemish atelier of Peter Van Aelst on display, and the Gallery of Maps with frescoed maps of the Italian territory, commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII. End the tour by witnessing 2 unmissable sites in the Vatican collection – Raphael’s Rooms in the apartment of Pope Julius II and the Sistine Chapel, where you can admire Michelangelo’s masterpieces such as the scenes from the Book of Genesis and The Last Judgement. From the Sistine Chapel, use the private passage to arrive at the Saint Peter’s Basilica, where you can find brilliant works like the Statue of the Pietà, made once again by the great Michelangelo, the Baldachin of Bernini, and the Tombs of the Popes, all containing hundreds of years of history. Please note though that the passage between the museums and St.Peter's Basilica is closed on Wednesday mornings and subject to other unexpected closure. On such days we will instead spend the entirety of the tour in the museums.

Vatican: Museums & Sistine Chapel Tour with Basilica Access

8. Vatican: Museums & Sistine Chapel Tour with Basilica Access

Make your trip to Rome complete by doing a guided tour of the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel, and Raphael's Rooms, with skip-the-line entry included. Enjoy additional skip the line access to St. Peter's Basilica when available for tours departing before 2:30PM. If you want a more intimate experience, upgrade your tour so your group is no bigger than 10 people. Begin your tour by meeting your guide close to the Vatican museums. Follow your guide inside and enjoy skip-the-line entry. Receive a headset to easily hear the commentary as you explore. Wander around the museums and allow your guide to bring the works of art to life. Next, grab a breath of fresh air at the Pinecone Courtyard and Belvedere Courtyard. Enjoy the Room of the Muses, the Round Room, the Greek Cross Room, Candelabra Gallery, the Gallery of the Tapestries, and the Gallery of Maps, and admire a panoramic view of the Vatican Gardens below.  Visit Raphael's Rooms, painted by the master around the time Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel. Spend time ceiling-gazing inside the Sistine Chapel. This tour concludes with Skip the Line Access to St. Peter's Basilica when available, for tours departing before 2:30PM and except Wednesdays. Visit the Basilica on your own, and take in Michelangelo’s Pietà and Bernini’s Baldachin altar. Leave the tour with a wealth of information.

Rome: First-Entry Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Tour

9. Rome: First-Entry Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Tour

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 8 AM entry. Once you pass the security check, 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. Admire the famous Sistine Chapel, home to the breathtaking frescoes painted 500 years ago by Michaelangelo. Move on to St. Peter's Basilica using a passage reserved for tour guides and receive a brief explanation of the works of art you will see inside.

Rome: Vatican Gardens with Bus Tour & Vatican Museums Visit

10. Rome: Vatican Gardens with Bus Tour & Vatican Museums Visit

Explore the green heart of the world’s smallest state on a minibus trip to the Vatican Gardens. Admire the lush cultivated areas and discover every single corner. Finish off your experience with a visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Uncover the secrets of this rich verdant space that occupies one-third of the Vatican city's 44 hectares. Hear Bby audioguide about how the gardens have been enriched by the initiatives of various Pontiffs and experience a unique encounter with nature, art, and the Christian faith. Find out about the artists, architects, and creators who took care to create this harmonious location. If you're looking for the complete Vatican experience, this tour is perfect for you, with Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel visits to explore all of Vatican City's beauty. See the Hall of Maps, the Pinecone Courtyard, the Gallery of Tapestries, the Gallery of Candelabra, and the incredible Raphael Rooms. Enjoy the definitive highlight of your visit, the Sistine Chapel. Take some time to admire the details, including Michelangelo’s interesting self-portrait.

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What people are saying about Courtyard of the Pigna

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 11,465 reviews

Took an unguided tour because we want to have our own time as we fly back that same day. I must admit, I had that cheeky feeling looking at the people at the long queue where we just enter casually in the entrance just showing our ticket and off we go inside. It was a lovely experience inside the museum and the Sistine chapel, if it’s your thing. Ceiling paintings was absolutely incredible.

If you want to skip the line (in my case, there were at least a thousand people in line, that's not an exaggeration) then this is the perfect ticket. You'll still need to wait in line for security and pick up tickets inside, but the process took less than 30 minutes.

Ricardo was both knowledgeable and most important, conscientious. He made sure none of our tour got lost in the crowds!

Our Guide, Lindsy(?) from Netherlands was amazing and very passionate about the tour and content and stories etc.

Great tour, great guide. Place itself was very growded, so it was convenient to visit with the guide.