Extended Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Tour, with Bramante Staircase & St. Peter's Basilica

As an Official Vatican Museums Partner, we can show you more of their collection, including the Bramante Staircase and the Vatican Art Gallery, and enable you to see St. Peter‘s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel without the crowds.


4.5 Hours

Operating Days

Operating Days
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat

Start Time

Start Time
08:00 & 08:45

Meeting Point

Meeting Point
Near Museum Entrance
Details at Booking

Tour inclusions: you get all of this

  • Special access to the Bramante Staircase, usually closed to the public
  • Official No Wait Partners’ Entrance at the Vatican Museums
  • Skip the Line Access at St. Peter’s Basilica
  • All tickets and reservations costs
  • Expert, English-speaking guide
  • Small group sizes of only 20 people or less
  • Audio headsets so you can always hear your guide

What makes this tour special?

Dig a little deeper at the Vatican on our Extended Vatican Tour – visiting all the highlights of the collection plus some incredible little-visited gems. With special access to the historic Bramante Staircase, we take you past velvet ropes to experience more of the history, art and architecture of this enigmatic state, while still visiting all the most iconic sights of the Vatican.

Our Vatican tour starts at a central location near the Museums where you’ll meet your expert, English-speaking guide. We have No Wait Access here so they’ll lead you past long lines through a special partners’ entrance saving you time better spent inside.

As experts in their field, specially-qualified to lead tours at the Vatican, our guides are the perfect people to lead your journey through the art, history, architecture and culture of the world’s most enigmatic state. And with small group sizes of 20 people or less and audio headsets for everyone, your guide will be easy to hear and interact with and difficult to lose.

With your guide on hand to tell you the stories behind the works, you’ll visit the Pinacoteca, the Vatican Art Gallery. Rarely visited by independent travellers (who mostly sprint from the entrance to the Sistine Chapel), this is one of the quietest parts of the Museums. View masterpieces by Raphael, Caravaggio and the only da Vinci work still in Rome. As you wander this modern gallery your guide will tell you about not just the techniques and subjects of these works, but the lives of their creators – Caravaggio in particular will surprise you.

A sure highlight of the tour comes when we visit the Bramante Staircase. Usually closed to the public, the Bramante Staircase was once an entrance from street level to the Papal apartments, built to accommodate even horses. You’ll have this stunning helical staircase to yourself on our Vatican tour, with space to admire the views and listen to your guide as they tell you about the architecture that inspired countless copycats.

Of course we’ll see all the iconic sights of the Vatican too. We’ll visit the stunning Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel, where you’ll be able to pick out the little details and stories your guide has highlighted (like the punishment Michelangelo envisioned for his enemies). We’ll also see some of the less famous (but no less interesting) sights such as ancient sculptures in the Gallery of the Candelabra, medieval maps in the Gallery of the Maps and perhaps the first optical illusion in the Gallery of the Tapestries.

With Skip the Line Access directly from the Sistine Chapel, we’ll gain immediate entry to St. Peter’s Basilica where your guide will show you around the world’s biggest ancient cathedral. Admire the incredible carved altar, spot the carving in the belt of Michelangelo’s ‘Pieta’ and discover whether St. Peter really is buried underneath Christianity’s most iconic house of worship.

Our Extended Vatican Tour is the perfect option for visitors who want to experience a little more of the world’s finest art collection, not to mention one of its most interesting histories. With an expert, English-speaking guide on hand you’ll spot details you never would have seen on your own and with our team taking care of all the details you can relax and enjoy, confident that you’re getting the very best from your Vatican visit.

*St. Peter's Basilica and other religious sites may be subject to unscheduled closures for religious ceremonies. When this occurs, we will provide guests with an extended tour of the Vatican Museums, or appropriate alternative. While we undertake to tell guests beforehand if there are any planned disruptions to the Basilica's opening hours, this is not always possible. In these cases, we are unable to provide refunds or discounts. Please note that appropriate dress is required for entry into some sites on this tour. Knees, shoulders and backs must be covered.

*Due to increased security measures at many attractions some lines may form on tours with 'Skip the Line' access.

Visit the Bramante Staircase, Usually Closed to the Public

We have special access to visit the stunning Bramante Staircase. Usually closed to the public we travel with a Vatican guard who unlocks the gate for us.

Admire Masterpieces Rarely Visited

Our Extended Vatican Tour includes the little-visited Vatican Art Gallery, home to works by Caravaggio, Raphael and the only da Vinci work in Rome.

Experience all the Most Famous Works

As well as those extra sights, we visit all the most famous works on our Extended Vatican Tour, including The Raphael Rooms, The Sistine Chapel and even St. Peter’s Basilica.

Last 5 Reviews out of 700 Reviews

DANNICA 26 February 2017
Gio was an amazing guide! She expertly shepherded us through the chaos of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel (and a few other places too), sharing her knowledge of art and history. Her passion and enthusiasm never wavered through the 4.5h tour. Hers was the most informative tour we were on during our 10 day trip to Italy, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

SUZANNE 24 February 2017
Gio was a great guide, very knowledgeable, interesting and fun.

CHRISTY 23 February 2017
She kept the group interested and was very knowledgeable.

TIMOTHY 22 February 2017
Gio was amazing and she made the tour a really special experience. Her knowledge of the history of the Vatican and especially her background in art history really made everything come alive. She pointed out details that I would never have seen and I was both educated and entertained. There is an awful lot to see and Gio was very good at taking us straight to the best and most important exhibits. She navigated the crowds extremely efficiently and made sure that we got the best vantage points and made the most of every room. On top of her vast knowledge and obvious passion for what she was showing us, she was very funny. Her vignettes of how, for example, Michelangelo argued with the Pope or the relationship between Michelangelo and Raphael (and how that could be decoded from the Stanza della Signatura) were funny and knowledgeable and left me wanting to seek out more Renaissance art. Not something I'd very thought I'd be doing. Gio obviously had the experience and knowledge of having done the tour countless times but she still managed to keep it fresh and for it to feel like she cared that we enjoyed the whole experience. Thank you Gio. A real highlight. Tim and Cheryl. UK. February 2017.

EMILY 15 January 2017
Gio was excellent. Had a fantastic detailed tour. She even captured the interests of my children ( 11-14)through her own way!

(Read All Reviews)
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About City Wonders

With City Wonders it's not just facts, our passionate guides tell you the stories that bring the sites to life.

  • All of our guides are experts in their field
  • We only hire fluent English-speakers so nothing is ever lost in translation
  • We focus on the little details and anecdotes that make City Wonders so special

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