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.