Our No Wait Access Vatican Tour gets you past long lines at the Vatican Museums, so you spend more time exploring the world’s most incredible art collection and less time waiting outside. Travelling in groups of 30 people or less, we visit the highlights of the Vatican.
With commentary from your expert, English-speaking guide you’ll see the Hall of Maps, the Gallery of Tapestries, the Gallery of Candelabra and the incredible Raphael Rooms. Listen as your guide brings these works of art to life for you – pointing out things you never would have noticed on your own and teaching you about the characters behind these great works.
A definite highlight of our tour comes when we visit the Sistine Chapel. Guided tours are not permitted within the chapel, so your tour guide will have already filled you in on the details with the aid of photographs of the paintings. Take some time inside this world-famous room to pick out the details you heard about – Michelangelo’s boneless self-portrait for example, in which he expresses to the world that he would rather be skinned alive than paint the Sistine Chapel again. As incredible as his work is, it must have been back-breaking – a fact you’ll understand all the better after you learn what it takes to create a fresco.
We will then embark on a train journey on the Vatican train to Castel Gandolfo in the verdant Alban Hills, where you will be treated to a private guided visit of the Papal summer residence, including the Apostolic Palace, coveted Private Papal Apartments, and the Barberini Gardens.
Riding through the hidden parts of Vatican State, just in recent years opened to the public, your guide will entertain you with historical anecdotes and intriguing facts. Be among the few, most privileged, to see Vatican railway station, the giant Year-2000 Jubilee bell, the stunning meditation gardens in use by popes since 1279, and the Pope’s private heliport which Roman Pontiffs use regularly for pastoral passages.
An official Vatican guide will welcome you for a spectacular visit to the Apostolic Palace for an insider’s look at the rare treasures it contains, with the Papal Apartments including the Pope's private bedroom, study and chapel. This 17th-century abode has served as a summer residence to the Popes since Urban VIII chose it for its stunning position and panorama in 1626. Explore this remarkable complex, often referred to as the ‘Second Vatican’, culminating in the breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape from the Papal Terrace, a privilege that may even pale in comparison to the view.
Continue for a stroll covering the best of the Barberini Gardens, some of the most beautiful in Italy, built over the ruins of Emperor Domitian’s villa. This Renaissance masterpiece is nothing less than a feast for the senses. Admire the evocative natural and archaeological features of this earthly paradise, including the Magnolia Garden, Path of Roses, with the impressive ruins of the imperial theatre, the ancient ‘crypto-portico’ covered passageway, and more until you reach the Belvedere Gardens with views that sweep to the sea, before joining your train for your journey back to Rome.