Immersive Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica

Small Group
Tour Guide
Entrance Fees
Max Group Size
10 people
Transportation from your hotel or lodging to the activity check in.
/ Adult
Weekly on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
10:00 AM
Through E
Response rate: 
Response time:
several hours
  • Michelangelo's La Pietà
  • Sistine Chapel
  • The Belvedere Courtyard
  • The Belvedere Torso
  • St. Peter's Basilica
  • Ancient Greek Sculpture Halls
Preview Description
Our Vatican tour with skip the line tickets, explores masterpieces of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica.
Our in-depth skip the line Vatican tour will immerse you in the breath-taking art and history of the Sistine Chapel. Marvel at the great works of Michelangelo, getting an up-close look at his most ground-breaking masterpieces. Let our talented guide take you on a journey through the geniuses of the Renaissance who changed the face of Rome five centuries ago. Learn about the treasures of the Art Gallery, a treat most tourists never get to experience. Delve into the Athens School as you wander through the frescoes in Raphael's Rooms and admire The Transfiguration, the artist’s last work before his untimely death. Skip all the queues and arrive at St. Peter’s Basilica and witness the long history of the Christian faith, be moved by Michelangelo’s Pietà, the works of Bernini and other masterpieces, a unique and enriching experience not to be missed.

Our Vatican tour is a fascinating journey into the history and art of the past

Get the best experience of the Sistine Chapel, the Pinacoteca, the Vatican Museums and Saint Peter's Basilica with time to discover, learn and absorb the beauty and the meaning of great artworks housed in the Vatican city. There is only one route that brings you to the Sistine Chapel, passing through courtyards and palaces with on of the best art collection of the world. Don't rush through them; you'll be captivated by these extraordinary masterpieces, and even by the intricate details, such as the eyes of a statue or the frescoes on the ceiling.

Sistine Chapel Tour: Meet a Genius

Whoever explore the Sistine Chapel through the eyes of Michelangelo, whoever reads his thoughts and sentiments, encounters a genius. Learn who he was, how he lived and what he thought. Discover step by step how he learned to master the fresco technique used and consequently he changed the proportions and the subjects in the scenes painted in the Capel, according to his inspiration. Our guides will accompany you into the great building projects of the Italian Renaissance and together we will relive the environment of the Florentine Renaissance and the Papal court in Rome in which Michelangelo created his masterpieces. Appreciate the figures of Jonah, Adam, Eve, Noah and thousands of others on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and in the Last Judgement. Discover why were choosen by Michelangelo and the incredible storie they tell us. Understand how and why these frescoes have redefined not only art, but the way in which we look at the world.

Vatican Museums Tour: Stories of Art and History

Some of the the most important works that we will discover on our group tour of the Vatican, such as timeless Greek masterpieces like the Laocoon, the Belvedere Torso and the Apollo Belvedere, were excavated at the time of Michelangelo and Raphael, who studied and admired them in the same architectural context in which they are preserved today. The artworks that they created are the fruit of their careful study. And so we too will pass through the Pinecone courtyard, the Belvedere courtyard and the tapestry galleries, discovering a selection of masterpieces with a guide capable of recreating the climate of the epoch, helping you to appreciate the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel in their historical context.

The Pinacoteca (Picture Gallery): Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio and Raphael's Last Painting

Some of the finest paintings of the Vatican Museums are collected in the Pinacoteca, still ignored by most tours. In this tranquil part of the Vatican museums it is possible to appreciate the explosive force of Leonardo's Saint Jeromeand the spectacular realism of Caravaggio's Deposition, an artist of absolute and ungovernable genius. We will also encounter Raphael's Transfiguration, a work that would be his last when, struck by a terrible fever, he died at the height of his fame at the tender age of 37.

Read more on the artworks of the Picture Gallery on our blog: 5 Highlights of the Vatican Pinacoteca 

From the Sistine Chapel we will directly enter St. Peter's Basilica without waiting in line

St. Peter's Basilica tour: The Story of Faith

This part of our Vatican tour will bring us to the heart of the Christian faith, and along the way we will discover an incredible collection of relics and religious tokens that have accumulated here over the course of nearly 2,000 years at the site of St. Peter's tomb. Our Vatican group tour is optimized to allow you to experience these amazing objects in their original context. At the same time you will have the chance to admire and understand enchanting works of art such as Michelangelo's Pietà, a work whose intimate embrace overflows with such tenderness that it can move even the hardest viewer to tears. The masterpieces of Bernini, the great genius of the Italian Baroque, also dominate St. Peter's, and the spectacular eponymous piazza dazzles with astounding optical effects. It is here that the faithful have gathered for centuries to celebrate the great events of Christianity, from the election of new popes to solemn masses. We will bring you here to read a history that will also become our own, a history lived by the protagonists of our fascinating Vatican group tour itineraries.

The Basilica of St. Peter's may be subject to unscheduled closings and late openings for religious ceremonies. Because these are often last-minute for security reasons, we may not have time to notify our guests but instead the full tour will be spent exploring other parts of the museums and Sistine Chapel. We do not provide refunds for unexpected closures of St. Peter's and your guide will still give you a introduction to the Basilica, should you wish to return in your own time during your stay in Rome.

Get the full picture of Rome’s cultural heritage by pairing your Vatican tour with our Immersive Colosseum tour, and explore the majesty of the ancient empire!
Activity Level
The Vatican Museums are very large and contain numerous steps and stairways. Wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water.
Places Visited
Pinacoteca The new Vatican Pinacoteca (Art Gallery) was inaugurated on 27 October 1932 in the building especially constructed by the architect Luca Beltrami for Pius XI. It was built ... morein the nineteenth century Square Garden, isolated and completely surrounded by avenues, in a place considered suitable for assuring the best lighting conditions for both the correct preservation of the works and their optimum aesthetic enhancement. Thus the age-old question of the exhibition of the paintings, which were constantly moved around the Apostolic Palaces due to the lack of a setting that matched their importance, was solved. A first collection of only 118 precious paintings was created by Pope Pius VI around 1790. It was of short duration due to the fact that, following the Treaty of Tolentino (1797) some of the greatest masterpieces were transferred to Paris. The idea of an art gallery, understood in the modern sense as an exhibition open to the public, was only born in 1817 after the fall of Napoleon and the consequent return to the Church State of a large part of the works belonging to it, according to the directions of the Congress of Vienna. The collection continued to grow over the years through donations and purchases until it reached the current nucleus of 460 paintings, distributed among the eighteen rooms on the basis of chronology and school, from the so-called Primitives (12th - 13th century) to the 19th century. The collection contains some masterpieces of the greatest artists of the history of Italian painting, from Giotto to Beato Angelico, from Melozzo da Forlì to Perugino and to Raphael, from Leonardo to Tiziano, to Veronese, to Caravaggio and to Crespi.
Attraction, Cultural, Historic, Museum
Bathroom, Drinking water
  • The works were collected by the church throughout the centuries and the collections include some of the most famous Renaissance masterpieces and sculptures from ancient Rome and Greece.
The Vatican Museums exhibit artworks from the Roman Catholic Church's Impressive collections. The works were collected by the church throughout the centuries and the collections include ... moresome of the most famous Renaissance masterpieces and sculptures from ancient Rome and Greece. The popes were great patrons of art and among the first sovereigns who opened their private art collections to the public.

Several sculptures collected by Pope Julius the second were the first items in what was to become the Vatican Museums collection. The Vatican Museums, as seen today are comprised of several pontifical galleries and museums that were assembled by various popes. Several masterpieces by Caravaggio, Raphael, Fra Angelico, Giotto, Nicolas Poussin the renown Sistine Chapel ceiling painted by Michelangelo, the Raphael rooms, and the impressive collection of maps are all part of the vast collection. They are the main attractions of the Vatican Museums and are considered treasures of immense value. There are also galleries displaying modern Christian religious art. Watch our 3-D virtual tours on to see with your own eyes some of the Vatican's most astounding treasures including the Sistine Chapel.

The Vatican museums also have changing exhibitions, special programs with lectures on Thursdays and many different kinds of guided tours, some specially suited for children. In the educational tours for children, the children get to have a close look at some artworks and even create small "masterpieces" of their own. In addition The Vatican Museums have tours for the deaf and the blind upon request and pre- booking. If you are in need of these tours you will also get two free tickets for entry.

In order to skip the long entrance queues if you're visiting the Vatican Museums without a guide, it's best to pre-book your Vatican Museum tickets online. When booking online you will need to choose the time of entry. If you haven't booked online it's best to try and come in the afternoon, after 12:00. Take into account that you'll need at least three hours just to see the main attractions. The Vatican museums are the biggest museum complex in the world. Upon entry take into account that you may need to wait about 20 minutes to get through the security check as all visitors need to pass through metal detectors at the security check point. The entrance to the Vatican Museums is on Viale Vaticano.

Opening hours for the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel ticket offices are Monday to Saturday: 9 am to 4 pm. The Museums close at 6 pm. You must exit the rooms half an hour before closing time. The Vatican museums are closed on Sundays apart for the last Sunday of every month when there is free entrance to the museums from 9 am to 12.30 pm. On these Sundays the Vatican museums close at 2 pm.

Ticket Tarrifs: The price for a ticket to the Vatican Museums is 16 Euros and reduced price is 8 Euros. The added price for booking your Vatican museum tickets online is 4 Euros.
Public traansportaion to the Vatican Museums

By Metro: line A to Ottaviano-San Pietro Musei Vaticani station
by bus: number 49, stops right in front of the Museums Entrance.492, 990, Via Leone IV / Via degli Scipioni. 32, 81, 982, Piazza del Risorgimento, end of the line.
by tram: 19 to Piazza del Risorgimento.
Attraction, Cultural, Historic, Museum
Bathroom, Drinking water
  • The construction of Cortile del Belvedere was the initiative of Pope Julius II and Bramante who wanted to connect an ancient pontifical palace on the right side of St. Peter’s
Cortile del Belvedere The construction of Cortile del Belvedere was the initiative of Pope Julius II and Bramante who wanted to connect an ancient pontifical palace on the right side ... moreof St. Peter’s, and the palace which was built for Innocent VIII by Pollaiolo on the little hill known as del Belvedere. Pope Julius was a great collector of statues when he was still a cardinal. After he was elected as pope he carried all his collection to the Vatican. The Belvedere was one of the places that contained the pope’s several sculpture collections and started making the place more attractive and popular.

As a result of the demand to connect the two palaces, Bramante designed two long corridors which created a big courtyard. Pope Julius II was a great fan of architectural works and wanted to build something impressive which would enhance the grandeur of both palaces. Just as expected, Bramante designed a spectacular court yard which connected the Vatican Palace and the Villa Belvedere. He designed a series of terraces which were connected by stairs and had narrow wings on its sides.

Bramante was very innovative when designing the Cortile del Belvedere. The courtyard contained six narrow terraces which were crisscrossed by a central staircase that led to the wide middle terrace. The long wings on the sides of the terraces of Cortile del Belvedere are what now house the Vatican Museums and the Vatican Library.

The Cortile del Belvedere provided an easy and comfortable means of passing from a garden terrace to the palace court. Bramante originally designed the uppermost terrace as a garden ground but as a result of the small size of the house, he came up with another idea. He made another decorative erection of a garden structure within the colossal semicircular niche, with a loggia on top of it. This provided a spectacular view over the landscape and the entire city.

The Cortile del Belvedere courtyard was used for several occasions due to its spectacular design and atmosphere. In 1565, Pope Pius IV held here a festival event in honour of the wedding of his nephew.

The construction of Cortile del Belvedere led to several developments of outstanding structures in the Vatican City. As a matter of fact, the courtyard led to the establishment of the Vatican Library, Gallery of inscriptions, the Museum of Christian Art, the Gallery of Urban VIII, the Sistine Hall, the Pauline Rooms, and the Gallery of Maps, among others. These are some of the structures rich in the Roman Catholic Church history continue to attract many visitors from all over the world. Until today, Cortile del Belvedere still remains one of the greatest architectural works in the Vatican. The courtyard provides a spectacular view of the entire Vatican City and it houses numerous sculptures and collections.
Attraction, Historic
  • Erected in honor of the Prince of Apostles
The Latin inscription above the entrance states: "Paul V Borghese, Roman, Pontiff, in the year 1612, the seventh of his pontificate, erected in honour of the Prince of Apostles".... more

The entrance to Saint Peter's Basilica has spitirual significance as it is written: 

“I am the gate. Whoever enters through me, will be safe. He will go in and out, and find pasture”. 

(John 10:9)

Above the entrance to St. Peter's Basilica is the central balcony where the election of the new pope is announced - the famous Latin saying: "Habemus Papum" which means "We have a Pope". It is also where the Pope gives the Urbi et Orbi blessing, and for this reason the balcony is also called the "Loggia of the Blessings",
Attraction, Church, Historic, Museum
AdultGroup Tour
Over 18 years old
Under 24 years old
Under 18 years old
Under 5 yars old
Payment & Cancellation
Cancellation Policy
Custom policy
  • Cancellations made 30 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.
10 reviews   0 comments
Was the tour accurately described on the webiste? In other words did it meet your expectations?
(5.0 of 5)
Great tour!
Thomas was terrific - lots off anecdotal stories in addition to historical and art information. We would have liked more time in the contemporary galleries, but the tour was long enough already and there simply wasn’t time to do everything one might want to do. My feet gave out before my interest did....
Vatican tour
Excellent!! So beautiful, the Holy Spirit is truly at work inside of the Vatican. The tour was very good and our guide was knowledgeable.
The tour was great. On time for a meeting and location. Easy to get in and Great to see everything.
Maria R.
Valeria was the best We are very pleased with the tour.
My wife Laura and I are very happy that we selected the Immersive Vatican tour with through Eternity! Gracelyn was passionate and knowledgeable about all of the subjects covered; we couldn't imagine trying to sift through all of the art, history, and religion on our own. Grazie!
John is outstanding!!!!! There are not enough words to explain his knowledge and enthusiasm and willingness to ensure that his guests have THE BEST POSSIBLE experience. From making sure we knew when and where to sit when the opportunities presented themselves, to going the extra mile to help us choose a spot for lunch, to his breadth of understanding and knowledge, to his eagerness and enthusiasm ... more in sharing Vatican City with us; every moment of our day was outstanding!!!!!
Spending the day with Luca touring the Vatican grounds was one of our best tours during our time in Europe. Luca was an excellent guide, offering not only historical information about the Vatican Museums, Chapel and Basilica, but he also brought an emotional side to the tour. While viewing some of the paintings, I was moved to tears by the mental picture he was able to paint. He was friendly and personable, ... more and made our time together well worth the cost of the tour. Luca took time to thoroughly answer all our questions about the things we were viewing, as well as offering instructions on how to use the public transit system to return to our hotel. He was a fabulous guide! The tour itself was well organized, from instructions for where to meet, to including headsets for ease in hearing Luca while in the crowded surroundings. The tour company also included instructions about clothing requirements so that tour members were not surprised when there admittance was denied because of what was considered immodest apparel as we saw happening with other groups.We could not have been happier with our experience with Through Eternity Tours or with Luca. You will not be disappointed!
Our Immersive Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica Tour was just spectacular!! In all honesty, it was my personal highlight of our two-week vacation in Italy! Gracelyn, our guide, was fantastic. She was lively and energetic, organized, well-informed, and fun. She really made the experience worthwhile. The tour was long, almost 6 hours, but I was never tired or bored. Everything was ... more so fascinating, and having a guide like Gracelyn really helped. The entire complex is massive and could be very overwhelming to some, but she put things into context, gave lots of back story and information, and made the tour fascinating from start to finish. I would highly recommend this tour!!
Luca is a deeply knowledgeable and engaging guide. We were very glad to have his guidance through the vast Vatican Museums. He gave us information all along the way with a lunch break half way through. He found our small group a shady bench in a lovely courtyard where he told us about the Sistine Chapel in advance, since no talking is allowed in that room. The museum was crowded, but with a guide ... more you have a purposeful route and we did not have any trouble viewing the artwork and architecture. We appreciate your expertise, Luca!
We have taken several tours during our month visit to Italy and this tour was absolutely the best. Not only because of the subject matter but mainly because of our guide, Anna. She was brilliant! She made all the difference in what could have been a very difficult visit because of the volume of people. Limiting the number of people on the tour is a real plus. We will highly recommend Through Eternity.