Explore the Vatican City on this 3-hour small group tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. Enter at 8 AM before the Vatican opens to the public as your Presto Guide sets the stage for a voyage through Roman history as we explore the headquarters of Catholicism. This tour is privy to skipping lines and utilizing shortcuts to avoid crowds and boasts a small group size of a maximum of 10 guests.
The Vatican City boasts a stellar roster of artwork. Master artists set the stage for the history of Rome and the Catholic Church. Michelangelo's stunning Sistine Chapel ceiling, Raphael's world renowned paintings, architect Bramante's St. Peter's Basilica, and Bernini's St. Peter's Square lead us into the world of centuries shed light on the creation of the Vatican City. We'll explore the role of the Vatican as the capital of the Catholic Church, anecdotes of Popes, stories of saints, lasting legends, notable scandals and secrets that have lived inside the smallest country in the world, the Vatican City.
Inside the Vatican Museums, you'll be surrounded by both ancient masterpieces such as the Belvedere Apollo, Renaissance masterpieces such as the Mass of Bolsena by Raphael. Before silently revelling your senses inside the Sistine Chapel (there is no talking allowed inside this holy site), your Presto guide will recap the Biblical Story of Creation, the Downfall of Humanity, and the Story of Noah, which Michelangelo depicted in his world-renowned frescos. Whilst exploring the making of the Sistine Chapel, we will take a peek into the politics of the Vatican City's art commissions and get to know the artists' with the help of your guide's favorite anecodotes. Finally we will visit St. Peter's Basilica, named after St. Peter, the first Pope and the modern day patron saint of Rome. Architect Donato Bramante designed the Basilica as a cube with four extending arms to represent the four directions and a dome above to represent heaven. Inside the Basilica we will find another of Michelangelo's masterpieces, his sculpture, the Pieta', and more.
Semi-Private Insider Note By limiting our small group tours to 10 guests, our guests are able to pose questions with ease and our guides are able respond with care to each individual guest. Not only do our small groups provide an excellent learning platform for travelers, but they also become a meeting ground where guests form friendships with like-minded, intellectually curious, and culturally conscious travelers.
8 AM Semi-Private Insider Notes Our exclusive early bird option privies us to enter the Vatican museums one hour before the museums open to the public. This early morning entry grants us a more spacious Vatican Museums visit and rewards you with a nice early morning start to your day. In addition, as an approved agency with the Vatican Museums for over seven years, Presto Tours will also be able to utilize the special shortcut from the Sistine Chapel which leads us directly into St. Peter's Basilica.
Private Tour Insider Notes We welcome you to reserve your tour for your preferred start time. We recommend an 8 AM start. Note that if you would like to include St. Peter's Basilica on your tour, we invite you to select a start time of 1 PM or earlier as tour guides are not permitted to give commentary in the church after 4 PM when the daily evening Mass begins. For Wednesday visitors, note that St. Peter's Basilica is closed Wednesday mornings during the Papal Audience. If you would like to tour privately on a Wednesday and wish to include the interior of St. Peter's Basilica on your tour, we invite you to select a start time of between 11 AM and 1 PM.