Visiting the Vatican Museums is at the top of the bucket-list for many visitors to Rome. People are drawn to exploring the Vatican either for deeply held faith reasons and/or to experience some of the most majestic art in the western hemisphere. Our Vatican tours offer you a range of unique ways to experience this sovereign state and all its treasures. Let’s begin by taking a look at our Sistine Chapel tour, and then explore more of the Museums' lesser known but equally fascinating sights.
Start your day at the Sistine Chapel
Word to the wise: The Vatican Museums are spread over a big space. There are 54 galleries in total making up the Museums, and the Sistine Chapel is one of the most special.
You may have heard of the lines to gain entry to the Vatican. People from all over the world travel here to spend time in the Vatican City. Don’t worry about losing any of your precious time waiting to gain entry into the Museums. When you tour with us, you will enjoy special benefits that allow you to skip the lines and enter the Vatican to begin your tour immediately.
Our Sistine Chapel tour offers an even more exclusive benefit to you. This tour allows you to enter the Museums a full 90 minutes before any other tour group or visitors are allowed access. As the only Official Vatican Partner, we are the only tour operator that provides this exclusive offer.
Can you imagine being one of the first people to step into the Sistine Chapel on the day you visit? Your guide will lead you straight to Michelangelo’s stunning frescoes and paintings for you to discover amidst the peace and quiet.
You may have seen countless photos or reproductions of the magnificent artworks to be seen in the Sistine Chapel, especially of the chapel’s majestic ceiling. However, seeing them in person for the first time is an awe-inspiring experience.
Your Sistine Chapel tour ticket is flexible. This means that once you have completed the guided tour part of you visit, you can stay for as long as you like experiencing other highlights inside the walls of the Vatican Museums. Our list below includes a selection of the top things to see at the Vatican.
The Gallery of Maps
The Vatican is visually rich no matter which museum or gallery you are in, but the Gallery of Maps is well worth an extra mention. The Gallery of Maps is to be found to the west of the Belvedere Courtyard and contains maps painted of Italy by geographer and friar, Ignazio Danti.
Pope Gregory XIII commissioned the gallery in 1580 and it took Danti three years to complete the decoration of the 120m long site.
Raphael’s Rooms (four in total) to be found in the Palace of the Vatican are famous for their delicate and detailed frescoes. These paintings, created by Raphael and the artists in his workshop, stand next to Michelangelo’s frescoes on the Sistine Chapel ceiling as the best illustration of the High Renaissance in Rome.
Gallery of Candelabra
The Gallery of the Candelabra is a long, narrow passage that was originally built as an open-air passageway in 1761. The gallery derives its name from the intricate and imposing candelabras that blend perfectly with the colorful marble columns that line the length of the corridor.
In the late 18th century, the hallway was walled and closed in and today is divided into six distinct sections. All six contain important and beautiful statues and artworks.
St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica was designed by Michelangelo, Donato Bramante, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The basilica is renowned for being the largest church in the world and one of the most admired works of Renaissance architecture. It’s believed that the remains of St. Peter, one of the chief apostles of Jesus, is buried beneath the basilica.
More than half of the sovereign state of the Vatican is covered in gardens. Most are to be found in the west of Vatican City and are owned by the Pope. You can experience the beauty and peace of the gardens for yourself when you choose our Vatican Tour with Breakfast and Gardens.
The atmospherically named Pinecone Courtyard (or Fontana della Pigna) can be found facing the Cortile della Pigna inside the Vatican walls. The pine cone statue has been standing on this site since 1608. Prior to that, this ancient Roman statue stood near the Pantheon, located beside the Temple of Isis.The statue also spent time in Old St. Peter’s Basilica courtyard before being moved to its current location.
Visit the Vatican your way
We have 16 different tours of the Vatican for you to choose from. These range in time depending on how long you have to explore (our Sistine Chapel express tour is particularly popular with visitors who want to see the Vatican’s treasures but are pressed for time).
You even have the choice to experience the Vatican after dark!
One thing is for sure; no matter what type of Vatican tour you book for yourself, you’ll remember your trip for years to come. That’s what bucket list experiences are all about!