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Vatican Museums

Our most recommended Vatican Museums Pub 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 before most of the crowd 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, before anyone else enters the museums. While the general public waits in line outside, 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, 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.

Happy Hour in the Vatican Museums

3. Happy Hour in the Vatican Museums

Experience a cultural adventure and discover the Vatican in another light. Start with a lovely Italian-style aperitif in the Pinecone courtyard before diving into the best of the Vatican with your guide.  From the courtyard you'll cross some of the 54 museum galleries, stopping by the gallery of tapestries, where you can admire unique needlework. See how the overall understanding of the world has changed throughout the centuries in the Gallery of Maps. Fall in love with Raphael's delicate hand and gaze in awe at his frescoes which decorate the papal apartments. Last but not least, enjoy the Sistine Chapel without the daytime heat and huge crowds. Give yourself the time to experience the star of the Vatican museums and explore the detailed frescoes that decorate the walls and ceiling of the chapel. Learn all about how Michelangelo painted the Last Judgment. He even incorporated a self portrait  see if you can find it.

Sistine Chapel, Vatican Gardens & Castel Gandolfo Day Tour

4. Sistine Chapel, Vatican Gardens & Castel Gandolfo Day Tour

Start your day bright and early as you meet your tour guide at the Vatican Museums. Skip the line and enter 45 minutes before the general public with your special access ticket. After going through a brief security check, proceed inside to begin your tour starting with the best galleries. Follow your art historian guide along the tour route which includes the Gallery of the Tapestries, the Gallery of the Candelabra, and the Gallery of the Maps.  Then, learn about the history and process Michelangelo used to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel before entering to see it yourself. Continue to the Vatican Gardens, where only special tour groups are allowed to visit. With your exclusive Vatican Gardens tickets, breathe in the tranquil air of this mini paradise. After your Vatican Gardens tour, enter Vatican City’s only train station to board the train to Castel Gandolfo. Once the site of Emperor Domitian’s Villa, the Barberini Gardens boast beautifully-designed hedges situated amidst flowers, fountains and Ancient Roman ruins. Your guide will tell you stories about the history of the gardens and the many points of interest located within. Once you’ve explored the lush scenery of the Barberini Gardens, the tour will break for lunch (included with the tour). Sit down to a sumptuous spread of locally-sourced, organic Italian meats, cheeses, olive oil, tomatoes, and pasta. Then, have the opportunity to take a self-guided tour of the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence. Now a museum open to the public, enjoy exploring the Palace’s many rooms, art galleries, and collection of cars driven by former popes. Use your round-trip train ticket to return to Vatican City and conclude your memorable experience.

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What people are saying about Vatican Museums

Had a morning that will remain long in the memory banks and was exactly as described on the website. Breakfast was plentiful and in a lovely setting. Our guide Sabrina was fantastic and made the morning so much more special. Her knowledge of the many different buildings was incredible as you may expect but it was her enthusiasm that shone throughout and her explanations really bought the frescos and tapestries in the museums to life. There were quite a few staircases to get up and down throughout the tour and Sabrina was also very patient and attentive towards the fact that we were visiting with a less mobile member of the family, always mindful of waiting when needed. From our experience, I would definitely recommend this tour.

Excellent tour, our guide was really knowledgeable and really bought the Vatican to life. You could tell it was Sabrina’s passion. My only slight criticism would be that children that don’t have to pay, don’t get headsets which would have been dull for them. Luckily for us Sabrina was able on the day to help us fixed this. Thank you Sabrina for making this a brilliant experience for our whole family.

Overall the trip was excellent. Our guide was terrific (Edward)- his communication, his excitement, passion, enthusiasm, along with his huge knowledge was the making of the tour. He went above and beyond by also helping one of the other less mobile guests by taking their arm when they got tired. Breakfast also surpassed expectations.

Well worth the price. We weren’t sure about it at first, but after having done it, very grateful we booked. We had less of a crowd and didn’t have to wait in line to get in. Breakfast in also in a beautiful area. Our guide, Hilaria, was absolutely wonderful. It was more helpful than we thought to have her input and guidance.

Marina was a fabulous tour guide. Her love of art cam through in everything she showed us.