Vatican City

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Vatican City: Our most recommended tours and activities

Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Entrance Ticket

1. Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Entrance Ticket

Take a stirring journey through art and religious history with skip-the-ticket-line entry to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Avoid the long ticket lines and then enjoy your visit at your own pace.  Wander through the Greek Cross Gallery to see elaborately-carved sarcophagi that might just contain the earthly remains of some of antiquity's famous kings and queens. Peek at the Cabinet of the Masks, or tour the Sala degli Animali to see a virtual menagerie of fantastic beasts, real and imagined. Walk the Upper Galleries, including the Gallery of Maps, to see how cartographers depicted the world through the ages. See masterpieces by Renaissance masters in the Raphael Rooms, and rest for a while in the Borgia Apartments. Then, it’s time to marvel at Michelangelo’s exquisite Sistine Chapel, the crown jewel of the Vatican, and perhaps even of all the world’s art treasures.

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Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel: Tour

2. 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 the Sistine Chapel. Learn the fascinating history and facts about these sites from your licensed guide, leaving the tour with a wealth of information. Marvel at the incredible frescoes and more along the way. First your local guide will show you around the Rotunda, the Gallery of Tapestries, and the Gallery of Maps. Marvel at the ornate ceilings, ancient statues, and intricate tapestries found throughout the Vatican Museums. A highlight will be an entire ceiling and wall completely frescoed by the Renaissance genius Michelangelo Buonarotti. Visit the world-famous Sistine Chapel, and see the Creation of Adam in real life. Listen as your guide tells you about Michelangelo’s private jokes and secret messages that were hidden amongst the painted frescoes on the ceiling of the chapel

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Rome: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Skip-the-line Tickets

3. Rome: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Skip-the-line Tickets

Drive straight into the action with skip-the-line tickets to the Vatican Museum and make the most of your time in Rome. Uncover masterpieces as you make your way through 15 kilometers of artwork and facinating historical items. Meet your host at the tour provider's office and be led to the entry point of the Vatican Museums. Breeze through the line and go through a quick security check that ensures your visit is safe. Use your map to help you navigate through the massive collection with ease. Stroll through over 3000-years of art history. Uncover a world of ancient secrets in the Gregorian Egyptian Museum. Appreciate at your own pace works by Caravaggio, Giotto, Raphael and Leonardo. Admire an impressive collection of classical sculptures in the Pio Clementino Museum. Wander the halls of the ornate and elaborate papal apartments at the Raphael Rooms and the Borgia Apartments. Finally, stand beneath Michelangelo’s most renowned masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel.

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Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel: Ticket with Host

4. Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel: Ticket with Host

Go on a journey through art and religious history with your ticket to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Skip the long ticket lines, inform yourself before entering with the help of a host, and enjoy your visit at your own pace. Find a treasure trove of Roman statues, Renaissance paintings, and Italian artworks. Discover works by Caravaggio and Titian, as well as more recent artists such as Picasso and Rodin. Keep an eye out for Michelangelo’s self-portrait. Walk through the Upper Galleries, including the Gallery of Maps, to see how cartographers depicted the world through the ages. See masterpieces by Renaissance masters in the Raphael Rooms, the pope's private apartments.  Then, enter the Sistine Chapel and contemplate the intricate details of Michelangelo’s renowned masterpiece.

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Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Dome to Underground Grottoes Tour

5. Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Dome to Underground Grottoes Tour

Meet your guide in St. Peter’s Square then start the tour by climbing your way to the top of the Basilica’s Dome. Enjoy an exclusive look at the Dome’s impressive mosaics then head further up to the top balcony. From here, marvel at panoramic views across the city, spot the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and other iconic landmarks. Descend into the Basilica and admire its impressive interior and discover why it took 150 years to build. Gaze at the colorful marble, golden ceilings, and intricate mosaics that surround you. Learn about the renowned works of Renaissance and Neoclassic artists that are housed here.  Next, head underground to the Basilica’s historic grottoes and visit St. Peter’s Tomb. Touch the ancient walls of the original 4th-century Basilica and admire its beautiful frescoes. Finish the tour in St. Peter’s Square and soak up its majestic architecture. 

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Saint Peter's Basilica Official Audioguide

6. Saint Peter's Basilica Official Audioguide

Explore one of Rome's most famous and magnificent sites! Discover why the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson described this site as "an ornament of the earth … the sublime of the beautiful". St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican is the primary temple of Christianity, and is built in the Renaissance style, with a central dome dominating the skyline of Rome. As you enter the church, you will see that its interior is much bigger than those of any other cathedral. Using an official audio-guide of the Basilica, you can start your visit at any point of the church, without having to follow the order dictated by the presence of a guide. You can decide, for example, to begin with the heart of the Basilica, beneath the high altar and the Bernini's Baldachin, where you will discover the “Confession” or “Chapel of the Confession”, in reference to the confession of faith by St. Peter, which led to his martyrdom and burial place. You may choose to end with "La Pietà", the masterpiece of Michelangelo Buonarroti, or with the St. Peter's bronze statue (so worshipped by all the pilgrims visiting over the centuries).

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Rome: Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Official Guided Tour

7. Rome: Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Official Guided Tour

Skip the ticket line and gain fast access to both the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Once inside, meet your guide who will conduct your tour and reveal the intriguing story behind the seminal design. Enter the Pio Clementino Museum and get up close to the astonishing classical Roman and Greek sculptures, before walking through to the Gallery of the Candelabras which is populated with majestic marble structures throughout. Continue on to see the 40 maps frescoed on the walls of the Gallery of the Geographical Maps, the hanging renaissance artworks at Gallery of the Tapestries, and the four Raphael Rooms. Finally, marvel at Michelangelo's fresco "The Creation of Adam" in the Sistine Chapel.

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Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

8. Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

Explore St. Peter's Basilica, one of Rome's most famed and magnificent sites. Known as the Queen of all the Basilicas, this Renaissance-style church and its dome dominate the skyline of Rome. Discover why the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson described it as "an ornament of the earth...the sublime of the beautiful". Marvel at the interior, lavishly decorated with marble, reliefs, architectural sculpture, and gilding. At the heart of the basilica, beneath the high altar, discover the Chapel of the Confession, named after the confession of faith by St. Peter. Marvel at the curving marble staircases that lead to this underground chapel. Also, listen to the Vox City Guide, a self-guided audio tour with stories from local experts. It works online and is included in the experience. Learn about points of interest, hidden gems, public transport, and where to take the best photos and access Wi-Fi.

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St. Peter's Basilica: Tour with Dome Climb

9. St. Peter's Basilica: Tour with Dome Climb

Meet your art historian guide in St. Peter's Square and stroll across the piazza into Vatican City. In the Basilica, take the elevator part of the way up and then climb the remaining 171 steps. You can climb at a leisurely pace and enjoy the journey up with frequent stops. At the summit, witness the breathtaking 360-degree views of the Vatican City as it extends out into Rome and its seven hills. Take as many photographs as you can because you are very high and will be able to see for a long distance. After heading back down to ground level, take a brief break before entering St. Peter's Basilica. This famous monument is a triumph of art and architecture, unmatched anywhere else in the world. This is where Bernini's sculptures and Michelangelo's art rise above holy papal tombs and the necropolis of St. Peter himself. 

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Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel: Tour

10. 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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Planning Your Visit

  • Best Time of Year to Visit

    Although Vatican City is extremely popular with tourists all year around, if you’re looking for a quieter visit, your best bet is during the low season between November and February.

  • Give Yourself Enough Time

    There is so much to see in Vatican City, make sure you’re not pressed for time. Importantly, if you want to see the Sistine Chapel, it’s essential that you enter the Vatican Museums before 3:00 PM so you can reach the chapel before it closes.

  • Book a Tour?

    Although there is more than enough to take in as an individual visitor, those who want to learn about Vatican City’s rich history would benefit from one of the many excellent tours offered. There are public as well as private tours. Note that latter need to be booked well in advance.

  • See the Pope

    You’re unlikely to run into the pope on your visit to Vatican City. However, every Wednesday the pope holds a public audience on St. Peter’s Square in the summer and in the Audience Hall during winter. The audience starts at 10:30 AM, but most visitors arrive earlier to secure a good seat. Security opens between 8:00 AM and 8:30 AM.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    365 days a year!
  • Is it expensive?
    Free to look at from the outside. Admission tickets vary.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Not compulsory, but recommended.
  • How to get there
    Taxi, bus, metro, tram or by foot from Rome. Look here for more detailed directions.
  • Additional information

    • Large bags are not allowed in the museums, so pack light!

    • There is often no air conditioning in the museums so make sure to dress accordingly and bring a bottle of water.

Other Sightseeing Options in Vatican City

Want to discover all there is to do in Vatican City? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Vatican City

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 126,675 reviews

The guide (Daniela) was excellent. Very knowledgeable and super friendly. She gave lots of interesting information and did so in an engaging way. The tour started right on time. Everything was well organized.

Nous avons fait un tour guidé du Vatican avec le guide Mathéo, un excellent narrateur, passionné ! Grave à lui et à la splendeur du Vatican nous avons voyagé à travers le temps. Excellente expérience.

We got a lot of great insight and information within a compressed timeframe. It captured the attention of the entire family (teens and elementary aged children)

Davide, la nostra guida, è stato fantastico e ci ha trasmesso moltissime nozioni durante la visita. Davvero molto bravo, consigliato A+++

Marcius was an excellent guide who made our trip to the museum Extremely interesting!