Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel: Tour
- Skip the ticket line
- Duration options: 2.5 - 3.5 hours
Vatican City – everyone’s heard about it, but what is it exactly? Is it a part of Rome, is it independent, are only priests allowed in? There are a lot of mysteries and misconceptions surrounding Vatican City, so here are 5 fascinating facts.
With a tiny population of 842 and an area of 110 acres (roughly an eighth of New York’s Central Park), Vatican City is the world's smallest independent nation-state.
As a completely non-commercial economy, all of Vatican City’s money comes from donations, museum admission fees and the sale of postage stamps, books and tourist souvenirs.
Featuring the world-famous Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City is a highly popular tourist destination, attracting over 4 million visitors yearly.
In 1277, a secret passageway was built between the Vatican City and the nearby fortified castle Castel Sant’Angelo, providing an escape route for the pope if the city was attacked.
The colorfully dressed men standing in front of the city’s entrances are the famous Swiss Guards. Former mercenaries, they are now the permanent de facto army of Vatican City.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Esperienza molto positiva. Sono riuscita a vedere tutta la città con una guida personale ( guida esperta e molto preparata). L’esperienza è molto ben fatta perché nella piena autonomia ti permette di visitare la città sfruttando 2 circuiti. Il promo parte dal Colosseo e il secondo da San Pietro. Entrambe hanno una frequenza di circa 1,5 ore tra una partenza e l’altra. La guida attraverso il suo smartphone parlava e spiegava la città e io la ascoltavo dal mio telefono attraverso l’integrazione di una radioguida digitale. Ho potuto godere appieno della libertà di seguire, lasciare e riprendere il tour guidato e sfruttare pure percorsi alternativi utilizzando a volte l’audio guida geo-localizzata che sempre attraverso il mio smartphone mi offriva percorsi e informazioni. La società sembra essere italiana e sono fiera di questa eccellenza nazionale. Ottima esperienza. La suggerisco
Am Ende unseres Wochenaufenthaltes in Rom nach den vielen Besichtigungen nochmals die Stadt abzulaufen mit einem Thema und einem sehr belesenen und einem grossen Wissen gesegneten Guide, war eine Bereicherung und schöne Abrundung unserer Reise. Die Geschichte von Robert Langdon und irgendwie auch die Vielschichtigkeit von Rom so packend erzählt, dass wir fasziniert und mit unseren Füssen am Ende zufrieden ankamen. Ich habe noch nie zuvor eine so lebendige Tour erlebt und kann nur jedem raten, an dieser Tour teilzunehmen.
We were very happy with our guide on this tour - he was very knowledgeable, answered all of our questions, kept the tour moving, kept it interesting for our 12 & 14 year old girls, and also helped entertain / interact with the 3 & 6 year old also in our tour group. He was energetic, fun, and seemed to be sure that EVERYONE got what they wanted out of the tour. He definitely knows his stuff, and I would recommend this tour to anyone - including families with teens or kids.
This was a fantastic tour made particularly good by our excellent tour guide Matej. The wealth of art and architecture on display was incredible, and Matej's knowledge of it all was very impressive. If anything, 3 hours wasn't enough, and in fact by the time we left St Peter's Basilica it had been closer to 4. It was nice to go at a time when it was less busy due to Covid, and I would highly recommend it to anyone in Rome.
All the important areas of the Vatican were covered in great detail without going on too long. The Vatican may be the single most impressive site on the entire planet, and we were able to see it in great and splendid detail. Our guide was top of the line and was able to develop a great relationship with everyone in the group. Plus, no queues for obvious reasons, so that made it a pretty unique experience.