Essential Sistine Chapel Tour, Vatican Museum & St. Peter's Basilica

3hours 30minutes
Small Group
Tour Guide
Entrance Fees
Max Group Size
13 people
Transportation from your hotel or lodging to the activity check in.
/ Adult
1:30 PM
Through E
Response rate: 
Response time:
several hours
  • The Raphael Rooms
  • The Map Rooms
  • Ancient Greek Sculpture of Hermes
  • Michelangelo's La Pietà
  • Sistine Chapel
  • St. Peter's Basilica
  • Statue of the 4th Emperor of Rome: Claudius
  • Expulsion of Heliodorus from the temple
Preview Description
Uncover great artistic masterpieces of the Vatican on this tour specifically designed for visitors with limited time.
Discover the figures, the technique and the meaning of the frescoes created in 4 years of Michelangelo's timeless passion on our Sistine Chapel tour. Find out how he lived and who the priests were that commissioned his works. Wander through Raphael’s rooms as you let our expert guide reveal the mysteries and insights of the depicted characters.

Discover how the church’s admiration for art has led to such a vast collection of treasures in the Vatican Museums recovered from underground after years of neglect. Skip the queues and find yourself inside St. Peter’s Basilica where you will be able to contemplate the long history of the Christian faith and be moved by Michelangelo’s world famous sculpture, Pietà.

An itinerary designed for you to visit the Vatican and discover the best of the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums and St Peter's Basilica.

On this skip the line Vatican tour you’ll discover the treasures of the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums and St Peter’s Basilica. In the company of one of our expert guides, marvel at masterpieces by Michelangelo and Raphael.

Enjoy the beauty of the Sistine Chapel

Gaze up at the ceiling and admire the frescoes while your guide explains the secrets of Michelangelo’s intricately detailed frescoes on our Stistine Chapel tour. s.

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel  contains hundreds of figures, including Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, saints, prophets, sibyls, and the decorative nude figures known as “ignudi”. The sheer size of the fresco can make it overwhelming. Where to begin? But the helpful explanations of your personal guide will reveal the meaning of Michelangelo’s masterwork, explaining the significance of different biblical scenes.

Years later Michelangelo returned to the Sistine Chapel to decorate the altar wall of the Last Judgement - a powerful work. As you study the painting alongside your guide, you’ll discover why it was initially so controversial, as well as gaining an even deeper appreciation of Michelangelo’s unique genius.

Discover the frescoes of the Raphael Rooms

Close to the Sistine Chapel is the suite of private papal apartments known as the Raphael Rooms. These exquisitely decorated rooms contain some of the finest examples of Raphael’s work, including the “School of Athens” - a group portrait of the most famous ancient philosophers.

On your visit to the Raphael Rooms, your guide will explain why a young painter from Urbino was chosen for such a prestigious commission, earning admiration and envy. Often overlooked by visitors who are in a hurry to get to the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms deserve a more relaxed, contemplative visit; your guide will ensure that you have plenty of time to admire Raphael’s works at leisure.

Explore the amazing collections of the Vatican Museums

Your visit to the Vatican Museums is a great opportunity to discover its remarkable. The displays of ancient art are particularly impressive, including the legendary Laocoon and Apollo Belvedere. These classical artworks had a profound impact on the artists of the Renaissance, influencing the work of Michelangelo and Raphael. Accompanied by an expert art historian, you’ll learn all about these ancient masterpieces, gaining a greater appreciation of Roman art.

A walk through the famous Gallery of Maps, Pinecone Courtyard and Belvedere Courtyard is an unforgettable experience. Although it’s impossible to see the entire extent of the Vatican’s enormous collection, your Vatican Museums group tour you’ll optimize your time, showing a selection of unmissable highlights. 

St Peter’s Basilica tour: millennia of art, history and faith

After exiting the Sistine Chapel, you’ll be able to enter St Peter’s Basilica directly, without having to wait in line.

An visit to St Peter’s Basilica - the very heart of the Christian faith, is always impressive. Built on the site of St Peter’s tomb, the basilica has been enriched over the centuries by the hands of countless artists and architects. As you admire masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s Pieta’ and walk around Bernini’s spectacular baldachin, you’ll understand how the basilica can be awe-inspiring even for those without faith. During your St Peter’s Basilica group tour, your guide will tell you the fascinating story of the basilica within the context of Christian history, from its origins as a burial ground to its current state of splendour and international importance. To learn more about the rise of Christianity in Rome, why not delve into the Catacombs deep beneath the modern city and find out where this story began 2,000 years ago on our Underground Rome tour?
Activity Level
The Vatican Museums are very large and contain numerous steps and stairways. Wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water
Places Visited
  • The Raphael rooms (Stanze di Raphael) are four rooms which were used as the residence of the popes between 1507 and 1585.
The Raphael rooms (Vatican museums) The Raphael rooms (Stanze di Raphael) are four rooms which were used as the residence of the popes between 1507 and 1585. The first pope to use ... morethe Raphael rooms as his residence was Pope Julius II. Pope Gregory XIII was the last Pope to use these rooms as his residence. Today, the Raphael rooms are part of the Vatican museum.

The Raphael rooms form part of the apartment located on the second floor of the Pontifical Palace that was first chosen by Pope Julius II della Rovere as his own residence and was later used by his successors for the same purpose. The decoration of the rooms was done by Raphael and his pupils between 1508 and 1524. Although Raphael died in 1520, his pupils continued with the project until its completion in 1524.

The Raphael rooms are: Room of Constantine, Room of Heliodorus, Room of the Segnatura and Room of the Fire in the Borgo.

Room of Constantine: this is the largest room of the four Raphael rooms. It is the room which is dedicated to the victory of Christianity over paganism. The frescoes contained in this room represent the struggles from the life of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Some of the features in the Room of Constantine include: the Vision of the Cross, the Baptism of Constantine, the Battle of Milvian Bridge and the Donation of Constantine.

Room of Heliodorus: this is the private chamber that symbolizes the heavenly protection provided by Christ to the Church. The room contains four paintings, namely: the Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple, the Mass at Bolsena, the Meeting of Pope Leo I and Attila, and the Deliverance of Saint Peter from Prison.

Room of the Segnatura: it was the study room of Pope Julius II. The room symbolizes bringing into harmony the spirits of Antiquity and Christianity. Here is where most of the papal documents were signed and sealed among these were: The Disputation of the Holy Sacrament, the School of Athens, the Parnassus, the Cardinal Virtues, among others.

Room of the Fire in the Borgo: it shows Pope Leo IV making the sign of the cross to put out a raging fire in the Borgo. During the reign of Pope Leo X, this room was used as a music room. Most of the frescos in the room portray events that took place from the lives of Pope Leo III and Pope Leo IV. Some of the paintings in this room include: the Oath of Leo III, the Coronation of Charlemagne, Fire in the Borgo and the Battle of Ostia.

The Raphael rooms are decorated with paintings that make them look magnificent. The rooms are located a few steps away from the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Cathedral. The next time you visit Rome, pay a visit to these rooms and you will be astonished by the paintings within them. The Raphael rooms are one of the most visited parts of the Vatican museums and they have a grand history which is significant for the Roman Catholic Church.
Attraction, Cultural, Historic, Museum
Named after Pope Sixtus IV, the Sistine Chapel is perhaps the most famous chapel in the world. It is renowned both for its function as the Papal Conclave and for its incredible artwork.... more

The ceiling and western wall of the Sistine Chapel are adorned with some of the most astonishing paintings in the world created by the famous artist – Michelangelo Buonarroti.

Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in 1508 and he completed his work in 1512. The middle section depicts nine stories from the Book of Genesis, including the renowned ‘Creation of Adam’ where the hand of God is seen reaching to Adam to instill him with life.

In 1535 Michelangelo was commissioned once again to paint the western wall over the altar. He completed this spectacular painting of the‘Last Judgment’ in 1541. The painting depicts the end-of-days and second coming of Christ when according to Christian faith all souls will be judged by Jesus,the Saints and God and sent to heaven or hell.

Despite being one of the most celebrated works of art in history, Michelangelo was originally hesitant to paint the ceiling of the chapel for he considered himself as more of a sculptor than a painter.

The original ‘Last Judgment’ painting included fully nude human figures, but these were later covered by another artist due to the demands of some Papal members who claimed that the nudity was obscene and improper.

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was painted by Michelangelo who depicted nine stories from the book of Genesis including the famous 'Creation of Adam'.

The first three stories are:
1. The Separation of Light from Darkness: Genesis 1:1-5;
2. The Creation of the sun, moon and planets: Genesis 1:11-19;
3. The Separation of Land from Sea: Genesis 1,9-10)

Following these paintings of the Sistine Chapel ceiling in the Vatican are the mid-section patintings:
1. The Creation of Adam & Eve (Genesis 1:26- 2:25), with the figures of man and woman in their nakedness.
2. The Banishment from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22-24).

The last three frescoes of Michelangelo include:
1. The Sacrifice of Noah: (Genesis 8:15-20)
2. The Flood (Genesis 6:5-8,20)
3. The Drunkenness of Noah (Genesis 9:20-27)
* All these show the fall and rebirth of humanity

The ceiling and western wall of the Sistine Chapel are adorned with some of the most celebrated paintings in the world created by the famous artist – Michelangelo Buonarroti. Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the ceiling in 1508 and he completed his work in 1512.

Despite being one of the most adored works of art in history, Michelangelo was originally hesitant to paint the ceiling of the chapel for he saw himself as more of a sculptor than a painter. The original ‘Last Judgment’ painting included fully nude human figures, but these were later covered by another artist due to the demands of some Papal members who claimed that the nudity was obscene and improper.

The middle section of the ceiling depicts 9 stories fromthe Book of Genesis, including the iconic ‘Creation of Adam’ where the hand ofGod is seen reaching to Adam to give him life. In 1535 Michelangelo was commissioned once again to paint thewestern wall over the altar.

Michelangelo completed this spectacular painting of the‘Last Judgment’ in 1541. The painting depicts the end-of-days and second comingof Christ when according to Christian faith all souls will be judged by Jesus,the Saints and God and sent to heaven or hell.
Attraction, Cultural, Historic, Museum
The Notorious Roman Emperor Caligula(37-41AD) built a circus at the area of the current Vatican. St Peter the apostle was buried in anecropolis to the north of the circus. ... more

Traditionally it issaid that The See of Rome was founded by Saint Peter who firstheld the position of the Bishop of Rome (Pope).Between the years 324 and 326 AD, theEmperor Constantine built a basilica on top of St. Peter's grave. It was replacedby the present St. Peter's Basilica between the 16th and 17th centuries. And was designed and decorated by Renaissance andbaroque geniuses such as Raphael, Bramante, Bernini Michelangelo, and Maderna. St.Peter's basilica is the largest religious building in the world. 

St. Peter's Basilica, Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano or Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Italian, is a Church located in Vatican City that dates back to the Renaissance age. Michelangelo, Bernini and Bramante were the main architects of the magnificent basilica and it is one of the most famous architectural works of the Renaissance era. The building of the current church (replaced the old 4th century Church over St. Peter's tomb) began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626.

According to Roman Catholic tradition St. Peter's Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, one Christs' 12 apostles. Additionally in Roman Catholic tradition, St. Peter was also the first Bishop of Rome and thus was the first in the papal (pope) lineage.

Saint Peter's Basilica is located within the Vatican and thus it serves the Popes for ceremonies. Throughout the year a number of services are conducted by the pope and they attract audiences of 20,000 to over 90,000 people who come to the Vatican Basilica (St. Peter's) or St. Peter's Square. In addition to serving the papcy, St. Peter's is one of the four churches of Rome that hold the rank of Major Basilica.

Saint Peter's tomb is located directly below the altar of the St. Peter's Basilica and soem hitorical evidence supports this. Many Popes have been buried at St. Peter's for this reason and this is also why there has been a church at this location in Rome since the times of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (4th century)

The basilica has great architectural structures that tooks everal years to design and build. One of the major contributors to the amazing structure of St. Peter’s Basilica is the Master Michelangelo. The following are some ofthe spectacular architectural features of the basilica: the Bramante’s dome, Maderno’s façade, St Peter’s statues, narthex and portals, and Maderno’ nave. St. Peter also has a lovely Piazza, fountains, altars, towers. It also known for the statues in the piers of the dome ( among them are the statues of Saint Helena, St.Longinus, St. Andrew and St. Veronica).

The specifications of the St. Peter’s basilica are approximately: length: 730 feet (220 m); width: 500 feet (150 m); maximum height: 452 feet (138 m); outer dome diameter: 137.7 feet (42 m); inner dome diameter: 136.1 feet (41.5 m). These dimensions are indeed an indication of how huge the basilica is. With its spectacular furnishes, architecture, tombs and collections of art, St. Peter’s Basilica is and will always be one of the largest churches in the world and oneof the holiest Catholic sites.
Attraction, Historic, Museum
The Gallery of Maps is called the Galleria delle carte geografiche in Italian.  Situated in the Vatican on the west side of the Belvedere Courtyard, the gallery contains a series of ... morepainted topographical maps of Italy. These maps were based on drawings by Ignazio Danti a Dominican Italian friar, mathematician, astronomer, cosmographer and geographer which was born as Pellegrino Rainaldi Danti in Perugia in 1536.

The galley was commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII in 1580 . Pope Gregory XIII ordered it made as well as many other works of art. The Pope commissioned these works of art in order to decorate the Vatican. The completion of the work on the gallery took Danti three years (1580–1583). Today the gallery consists of 40 panels which go along the 120 m gallery. 

The panels map the entirety of the Italian peninsula including Sardinia and Corsica. The maps are in fact frescoes. Each fresco features a different region. Special detail was given to the region's most prominent city. With the Apennines serving as the dividing line, one side features the area surrounded by the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas and the other shows the area near the Adriatic Sea.

The maps are both beautiful and informative as they reveal the way that the renaissance Italians saw themselves and their surroundings in pre- national Italy. Italy was not one nation in the time of the renaissance when the maps were made. The maps also provide insight to the art of cartography ( making of maps) of these times.The gallery is a fascinating place to visit whether you take a special interest in maps or not.

In the gallery of maps the vaulted ceiling is also decorated. These decorations were done by a group of Mannerist artists including Girolamo Muziano and Cesare Nebbia.
Attraction, Historic, Museum
AdultGroup Tour
Age 5-18 (and students under 25)
4 and under
Daily1:30 PM
Payment & Cancellation
Cancellation Policy
Custom policy
  • Cancellations made 15 days before will be fully refunded except for a service fee of 3%.
  • Cancellations made 8 days before will be refunded 50% of the amount paid.
  • Cancellations made at a later date will not be refunded.
14 reviews   0 comments
Was the tour accurately described on the webiste? In other words did it meet your expectations?
(5.0 of 5)
Vatican City museums and St. Peter’s basilica
Jon our guide was very polite and informative, had a great day and would highly recommend booking in advance! Gracie
Vatican Tour Jan2,2019
Awesome tour! Enrica made the experience memorable & intriguing! Loved her sense of humor! Thank you!
We really enjoyed the tour. Very informative and our guide very expertly negotiated our group through the multitudes of visitors. The meeting point was easy to find and the headsets functioned well.
Vatican tour ... splendid
What a great tour and our guide had so much knowledge. She took us on the beat tour I've ever been on. She always has an explanation for our questions and she didnt disappoint. Thank you so much for an amazing day at Vatican City
An amazing experience
I will take other family members on this tour again. Very much worth it! We went on the one o'clock tour and I was able attend the five P.M. mass which was a truly amazing experience. We are all thankful we were able to experience the tour. The tour offers you the ability to pass through the lines as a small group and get the first hand experience that would be left out without a guide. There is no ... more way that anyone could have the same experience and receive the amount of knowledge the tour guide offfers to the group.
Another terrific tour with Through Eternity Tours, Federica brought to life all the amazing historical details regarding the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica, pointing out many informative and interesting facts that were a testament to her depth of knowledge regarding the Vatican Museum, answering questions with charm and humour, and giving us insight into behind the scenes information. ... more Entrance to the Museum was so easy and efficient, once again we wouldn't hesitate to recommend this tour, we will return, thank you.
Maria was a wonderful tour guide. She guided our attention to the major points of the Sistine, and gave lots of background information that gave us greater understanding of the Chapel and St, Peter's. This kind of tour is an excellent way to experience such a massive place.
Excellent tour, Our guide was very informative, We learned so much about the Vatican and knew interesting facts to look for in the many paintings and works of art. We will definitely use this company again.
Fantastic tour with Caterina Panetta. She did a great job to ensure that we were immersed in the history that brought meaning to tour. I also commend her on managing our group to ensure that all members could hear, see and enjoy the tour, despite the crowds. OUTSTANDING!
Let me just say Maria was exceptional. Her enthusiasm shone all through the tour. I didn't want it to end at all. She was friendly, warm and sincere. She is also knowledgeable and my 11 year old son said he learnt a lot from the tour. This is a big shout out to Maria and to thank her for making the tour worthwhile. I will strongly recommend your company to friends and family most esp MARIA. Thank ... more you!
Ulsan was very knowledgeable and did a great job! Our group was just the right size and the headphones were a plus in the busy Vatican. It was very hot and Ulsa made sure we found shade and got water. We enjoyed the tour and I would definitely use Through Eternity again.
Our tour guide was wonderful. His knowledge was extensive and he kept me interested the entire duration of the tour. My family is not religious and we don't have much knowledge of the catholic religion or history.. but that didn't matter as our tour guide explained everything and answered every single question we asked. My two children (ages 12 and 16) also found the tour guide very interesting and ... more he kept their attention throughout the afternoon. Thank you!
We were delighted with our tour. Over the years(7 to be precise) we have taken that tour with each one of our grand children(one more to go) and this was definitely the best. To the point but with lots of interesting information. Not a dull moment. Our 10 yearold grandchild was delighted and so were we as we learnt some new things. We just hope John will be there when we book that tour again in two ... more years' time
We used through eternity tours over 10 years ago for Rome and Vatican tours. This tour was 3 hour essential Vatican with Enrica. Wonderful and informative, excellent! Enrica expertly guided us through the very crowded museum, Sistine chapel and St. Peter's. Learned many new things and saw so much. Thank you