Itineraries > First time in Rome
The Vatican Tour
St. Peter’s Church, Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
Skip the line to enter the museum. A visit to the Vatican museums, one of the largest museums in the world and home of unique masterpieces and the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s ultimate visual work. Saint Peter’s Basilica, the mighty temple of Catholicism and its work of arts.
As licensed Vatican Guides we can book your admission in advance to enter the Vatican Museums avoiding all lines at the entrance. As licensed Vatican guides we also have permission to organize private tours in the beautiful gardens of the Vatican City. Please contact us for more details.

Our tour is a striking journey into the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Church of Rome most vividly represented by the basilica of Saint Peter and the Vatican Museums. All is housed in a small city/country that still is the reigning center for all Roman Catholics, the Vatican State.
Here the Popes were ruling sovereigns over the centuries that, besides the duties of their office, were also committed to collecting art. They put together an amazing series of paintings, sculptures and architecture. It was for the greatness of God they said, but the everlasting rule of the papacy and their own glory were included too!

We start the tour by entering the Vatican Museums, which include many museums, galleries, apartments and chapels, of which the most famous is the Sistine Chapel. These were mostly private premises for the popes of the past who asked great architects and artist to build and decorate them with the goal of achieving the ultimate accommodation for the chief of Christianity and express his enduring power.
The itinerary unfolds through the Belvedere Palace (Pio-Clementine Museum) with several collections of art including Classical Roman and Greek, Early Christian and Oriental. In the Octagonal Courtyard, among the most famous statues you’ll admire: the Belvedere Apollo, the celebrated Laocoon group and the Apoximenios and Perseus with the head of Medusa by Antonio Canova. Then the “Belvedere Torso”,it’s musculature embodied Michelangelo’s ideal in sculpture.
After walking through the Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries and Gallery of Maps we reach the most private part of the palace with the Rooms of Raphael. Pope Julius who called in Raphael, the youngest genius of his time, to paint the interiors, built these apartments.

And last but not least as final step in the Vatican museum we will visit a small chapel but still today the most important in all the Vatican because popes are still elected here, the Sistine Chapel. The ambitious Pope Julius achieved its completion by calling in Michelangelo who worked at two different times: from 1508 to 1512 first to paint the vault with stories from Genesis and then from 1536 to 1541 called by pope Paul Farnese to paint the huge fresco wall painting representing the Last Judgment.

We'll continue our tour with a visit of Saint Peter’s basilica, twice built on the spot where this apostle of Jesus was buried in 64 AD. The first building, ordered by Constantine in the 4th century, was covered by another, rebuilt with all its might and glory by the popes of the Renaissance, the largest and most decorated in all Christendom.
We'll bring your attention to some of the features inside the church such as Pietà by Michelangelo, carved at an age of 24; the tomb of Pope John Paul II, the Bronze Canopy by Bernini, made of four twisting bronze columns 30 meters (98 ft) tall which stands beneath the dome and above the Papal altar; the so-called Cathedra Petri or "throne of St. Peter" a large bronze throne enclosing the wooden chair of St. Peter also created by Bernini ; the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament; where we can see the Tabernacle of gilded bronze designed by Bernini on the lines of Bramante's famous Tempietto; at last we will descend to the Vatican Grottoes, the underground level of the church containing the tombs of the many popes and the burial place of St. Peter himself.

A short walk over the imposing St. Peter’s square framed by Bernini’s colonnades symbolizing the embrace of the Church will complete the tour.
Length: 3 hours short tour. 5 hours complete tour including the Raphael Rooms

Note: Entrance into St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel requires appropriate attire (no shorts, miniskirts, no sleeveless shirts or bare shoulders). Security check at the entrance. This tours runs daily except on Sundays. The Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Church are all accessible to visitors using a wheelchair or with a walking disability.