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

Duration
3hours
Inclusions
Tour Guide
Entrance Fees
Headsets
Skip-the-lines Access
Language
English, Italian
Transportation
Transportation from your hotel or lodging to the activity check in.
Optional
$
725
87
/ 2 People
Available:
Fri, Jun 21 2024
Time:
9:15 AM, 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM
Through E
Response rate: 
86%
Response time:
several hours
Highlights
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Vatican Museum
  • St. Peter's Basilica
Preview Description
There are certain experiences that are guaranteed to change your life. Discover the Sistine Chapel before it opens its doors to the public where you can admire the detail and the figures that appear 3D in how much they are lifelike. Learn about the ideas and passion of Michelangelo, explore the characters he created on the iconic ceiling and in The Last Judgement without battling the crowds on our private Sistine Chapel Tour.
 
Description
On this special 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 and explore one of the greatest art collections in the world. Many visitors are rushed through the Sistine Chapel, but on your Sistine Chapel tour, you’ll have time to gaze up at the ceiling and admire the artwork while your guide explains the secrets of Michelangelo’s intricately detailed frescoes.

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. These rooms also provide a fascinating insight into the life of the papal court, as well as the Renaissance fascination with the classical world. 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 appreciate Raphael’s works at leisure.

Your private visit to the Vatican Museums is a unique opportunity to explore one of the most remarkable art collections in the world. Accompanied by an expert art historian, you’ll learn all about these ancient masterpieces, gaining a greater appreciation of Roman art and understanding why these artworks are so important in the wider context of art history. A walk through the famous Gallery of Maps, Pinecone Courtyard and, Belvedere Courtyard is an unforgettable experience - an opportunity to be completely immersed in more than 2,000-years of art. Although it’s impossible to see the entire extent of the Vatican’s enormous collection, on your Vatican Museums private tour you’ll be able to optimize your time, seeing a selection of unmissable highlights along with some hidden treasures.

After exiting the Sistine Chapel, you’ll be able to enter St Peter’s Basilica directly, without having to wait in line. During your visit to St Peter’s Basilica, 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 splendor and international importance.

** Please note that the Raphael Rooms are part of this 3-hour itinerary but on days due to crowding, timing and direction flows of crowd traffic dictated by the Vatican Museum staff on the day, we may not be able to make this stop within the designated time frame. If the Raphael Rooms are an absolute must for you to see, we suggest you book one of our longer group tours: the Early Vatican Tour or the VIP Vatican Tour where the Raphael Rooms will be covered.**
 
Activity Level
As this is a walking tour with steps and staircases, comfortable walking shoes and a bottle of water are strongly recommended. 

Please advise if any travelers have mobility concerns so that we can best accommodate you.
 
Places Visited
 (1)
  • 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 www.vatican.com 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.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic, Museum
Features:
Bathroom, Drinking water
 (2)
  • 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, or "Stanze di Raffaello," are a suite of four interconnected rooms located in the Vatican Museums. Renowned for their stunning frescoes painted by the master artist ... moreRaphael and his workshop, these rooms stand as a testament to the High Renaissance's artistic and cultural achievements. Commissioned by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century, the frescoes in these rooms played a pivotal role in establishing Raphael as one of the preeminent painters of his time, alongside Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

The Rooms

Room of the Segnatura (Stanza della Segnatura): This is the first room to be completed by Raphael, and it houses some of his most famous works, including "The School of Athens," "The Parnassus," and "The Disputation of the Holy Sacrament." These frescoes embody the ideals of Renaissance humanism, integrating classical philosophy, theology, and poetry. "The School of Athens," in particular, stands out for its portrayal of ancient philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle, depicted in an architectural setting inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica.

Room of Heliodorus (Stanza di Eliodoro): The frescoes in this room, commissioned to convey the power and authority of the Church, depict divine intervention and protection. Key works include "The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple," "The Miracle at Bolsena," and "The Liberation of St. Peter." The dynamic compositions and dramatic use of light and shadow in these frescoes showcase Raphael's mastery in creating vivid, emotionally compelling narratives.

Room of the Fire in the Borgo (Stanza dell'Incendio del Borgo): This room illustrates significant historical and legendary events. The titular fresco, "The Fire in the Borgo," dramatizes the miraculous extinguishing of a fire in the Vatican quarter, symbolizing the protection of the papacy. Other notable works include "The Coronation of Charlemagne" and "The Battle of Ostia," which highlight the Church's triumphs and divine favor throughout history.

Room of Constantine (Stanza di Costantino): Completed after Raphael's death by his students, including Giulio Romano, this room features scenes from the life of Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Roman emperor. The frescoes, such as "The Vision of the Cross" and "The Battle of Constantine against Maxentius," celebrate Constantine's conversion to Christianity and his subsequent victory, which were pivotal in establishing Christianity as the Roman Empire's dominant religion.
Artistic and Cultural Significance

The Raphael Rooms are not only masterpieces of Renaissance art but also serve as an exploration of the interplay between classical antiquity and contemporary Christian themes. Raphael's ability to harmonize these elements reflects the intellectual spirit of the Renaissance, where the revival of ancient knowledge was seamlessly blended with the prevailing religious and cultural context.
Moreover, the rooms highlight Raphael's evolution as an artist. From the harmonious compositions and balanced figures in the Room of the Segnatura to the more dynamic and dramatic scenes in the Room of Heliodorus, visitors can trace his stylistic development. The subsequent completion of the Room of Constantine by his pupils also underscores the enduring influence of Raphael's artistic vision.

Conclusion
The Raphael Rooms in the Vatican Museums remain a vital cultural treasure, drawing visitors from around the world. They offer a unique window into the mind of a Renaissance genius and provide a richly detailed narrative of the period's theological, philosophical, and artistic preoccupations. Through their beauty and historical significance, the Raphael Rooms continue to inspire and captivate art enthusiasts, scholars, and pilgrims alike.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic, Museum
Features:
Bathroom
 (1)
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.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic, Museum
  • 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",
Type:
Attraction, Church, Historic, Museum
Features:
Bathroom
Rates
Minimum Guests:
1 person
Per
Type
Price
Info
2 PeoplePrivate Tour
$
725
87
Please use "Additional Guest" to add more
Add-ons
Name
Price
Additional Guest
$
88
86
Schedule
Check In Location
Check In Details
Your guide will meet you in front of the Cafe Vaticano, Viale Vaticano 100. They will have a Through Eternity sign or flag.
 
Payment & Cancellation
Cancellation Policy
Standard Policy
  • Cancellations made 2 days before will be fully refunded except for a service fee of 3%.
  • Cancellations made at a later date will not be refunded.
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