Courtyard of the Pigna
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Our most recommended Courtyard of the Pigna Tours

Vatican: Skip-the-Line Vatican Museums Tour with Breakfast

1. Vatican: Skip-the-Line Vatican Museums Tour with 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. Enter 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 large buffet breakfast including hot and cold dishes, fruit juice, tea, and coffee. Once you’ve eaten your fill, 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. Visit the Gallery of the Candelabra with ancient Greek and Roman artworks. Learn about Raphael Sanzio at the Gallery of Tapestries, one of the most spectacular rooms of the museums.

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.

Rome: Vatican City and Sistine Chapel Guided Tour

3. 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.

Rome: Sistine Chapel, Vatican & St. Peters Private Tour

4. Rome: Sistine Chapel, Vatican & St. Peters Private Tour

On this special Vatican tour, you’ll discover the treasures of the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums and St Peter’s Basilica. In the company of one of your expert guides, marvel at masterpieces by Michelangelo and Raphael and explore one of the greatest art collections in the world. Many visitors are rushed through the Sistine Chapel, but on your Sistine Chapel tour, you’ll have time to gaze up at the ceiling and admire the artwork while your guide explains the secrets of Michelangelo’s intricately detailed frescoes. 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 the most famous ancient philosophers. On your visit to the Raphael Rooms, your guide will explain why a young painter from Urbino was chosen for such a prestigious commission, earning admiration and envy. These rooms also provide a fascinating insight into the life of the papal court, as well as the Renaissance fascination with the classical world. Often overlooked by visitors who are in a hurry to get to the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms deserve a more relaxed, contemplative visit; your guide will ensure that you have plenty of time to appreciate Raphael’s works at leisure. Your private visit to the Vatican Museums is a unique opportunity to explore one of the most remarkable art collections in the world. Accompanied by an expert art historian, you’ll learn all about these ancient masterpieces, gaining a greater appreciation of Roman art and understanding why these artworks are so important in the wider context of art history. A walk through the famous Gallery of Maps, Pinecone Courtyard and, Belvedere Courtyard is an unforgettable experience - an opportunity to be completely immersed in more than 2,000-years of art. Although it’s impossible to see the entire extent of the Vatican’s enormous collection, on your Vatican Museums private tour you’ll be able to optimize your time, seeing a selection of unmissable highlights along with some hidden treasures. After exiting the Sistine Chapel, you’ll be able to enter St Peter’s Basilica directly, without having to wait in line. During your visit to St Peter’s Basilica, your guide will tell you the fascinating story of the basilica within the context of Christian history, from its origins as a burial ground to its current state of splendor and international importance.

Vatican: Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums Small Group Tour

5. Vatican: Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums Small Group Tour

Skip the lines and visit the Vatican Museums on a small group tour with an expert guide. Learn in-depth knowledge about the Sistine Chapel and see it for yourself without the crowds. Visit the 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. Enjoy this full experience in intimate groups of 10 people tops led by a five star guide.

Rome: Vatican Early Entrance Private Tour

6. Rome: Vatican Early Entrance Private Tour

Enjoy a private tour of the Vatican. Thanks to a new partnership in 2022, you can now be among the first to enter into the Museums, with access reserved for only a handful of other tour operators. Take advantage of exclusive access and viewing of the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel 30 minutes before other tours and 1 hour before the general public. 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.

Rome: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Guided Tour

7. Rome: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Guided Tour

Explore the museums of Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel on your trip to Rome with a guide and skip-the-line entry. Learn about the Vatican's treasures from your guide as you stroll through its massive collections. Let your guide share stories about the Vatican's 4000-year history as you make your way through the halls. See the famous Gallery of Tapestries and view the beautifully detailed maps in the Gallery of Maps. Gaze in awe at the ancient sculptures and extravagant candelabras in the Gallery of Candelabras. See some of the treasures that once adorned imperial villas. Gain access to the Cabinet of Masks, normally closed to the public. Bathe in the sunshine in Bramante's Pinecone Courtyard and snap a picture by the bronze Pigna statue. Admire the dazzling artwork covering the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Stare up at Michelangelo's famous Creation of Adam. Finish your tour with a visit to the grand St. Peter's Basilica. Venture inside and immerse yourself in the splendor. Have the opportunity to see another of Michelangelo's famous works: La Pieta.

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

8. 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.

Rome: Skip-the-Line Vatican and Sistine Chapel Guided Tour

9. Rome: Skip-the-Line Vatican and Sistine Chapel Guided Tour

Skip the ticket lines and enjoy fast-track entry to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel with this combo guided tour. With the help of your guide, get an inside look at the most famous aspects of these sights and discover masterpieces by Bernini, Michelangelo, Raphael, and others. After meeting your guide, you’ll enter the Vatican Museums to start exploring. Follow an itinerary centered on the museum's most important regions, featuring treasures of art from across the centuries. Your guide will lead you to some of the museums’ highlights from the papal collection at the Vatican Museums' kilometers of galleries, explain everything along the way. The Cortile della Pigna (Pine Cone Courtyard) will be the next stop, where you can view the fountain of a pine cone that previously stood near the Temple of Isis. The octagonal courtyard of the Cortile Ottagono is a sight to see. Your trip will continue to the 40 frescoed maps on the walls of the Gallery of Maps, the hanging Renaissance artworks at the Gallery of Tapestries, and the four Raphael Rooms. Finally, at the Sistine Chapel, marvel at Michelangelo's fresco, "The Creation of Adam." At the end of your guided visit, your guide will lead you to St. Peter's Basilica, via a route that will let you avoid waiting in the lines. Here, you can finish your day exploring the basilica freely.

Rome: Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Skip-the-Line Tour

10. Rome: Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Skip-the-Line Tour

Start your tour by skipping the (always long) ticket lines to get into the museum and diving right into the galleries holding some of the most famous works of art in the world. This specially-designed route encompasses all the can’t-miss pieces while also including some of the lesser known works that will really dazzle you. Your expert, English-speaking guide will give you eye-opening insight and context (along with some great stories) as you explore the Raphael Rooms, the Belvedere courtyard with ‘Apollo Belvedere’ & the Laocoön group, the Pinecone Courtyard, the Gallery of the Candelabra, the Gallery of the Maps, and the Gallery of the Tapestries. The piéce-de-resistance is, of course, the Sistine Chapel. Your guide will prep you for your time here by telling you the stories behind the creation of the iconic frescoes as well as what they mean. When you enter, you will then be able to appreciate the full majesty of the room, spotting little details like Michelangelo’s self-portrait and the rather painful revenge he plotted for the Pope’s aide (he wasn’t his biggest fan…) The Vatican is more than just a museum. It's home to the Pope and Catholicism and is one of the world's smallest yet powerful states. On this intimate tour, your guide will ensure that you get an overview of it all – from papal scandal to Renaissance masters and the day-to-day operation of Vatican City.

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What people are saying about Courtyard of the Pigna

Our guide, Ettore (I hope I spelled that right) was the best guide that we had so far on our trips around the world, he was funny, relaxed, speaks great English so we understood everything and he was really passionate while explaining us Vatican Museums. I am so glad that we have taken this tour and would do it million times more. Also, organisation of the tour was really good, we managed to find meeting point without problem and we didn’t wait in lines and it was Easter. Groups were not too big and we received audio guides so everyone could hear Ettore. We definitely recommend it :)

Pick up point easy to find, as was the guide. Our guide Vivien was excellent, very knowledge, a wee bit of humour thrown in too. The museum was heaving so you need to keep an eye on your guide/group. So much to see and try and take in but if you go early enough you can stay in after your guided tour and revisit bits you might want to spend more time there. Write down what you want to see, we forgot to go back to see the Pope mobile museum and a couple of other places. Skip the queue was a godsend as the queue was huge but it was Easter weekend after all

The guide was very well informed and excellent at conveying her knowledge. The tour was well organized and the opportunity to see the Sistine Chapel with the guide was amazing. Breakfast was meh.

La guida era bravissima. Ho dimenticato il suo nome ma mi ricordo che è Argentina.

Amazing guide..Kylie was great explaining everything