Our Vatican Collections tour with skip-the-line tickets allows us to explore these galleries in greater detail (and bypass the crowds so we get in sooner). We’ll visit the Vatican Museums only, delving into the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s rooms, and more, with an expert in art history. This three-hour tour provides an immersive look into the Vatican’s treasures, taken at a slightly slower pace than our popular, four-hour Arte Vaticana tour
. We recommend pairing this with our St. Peter’s Tour for an in-depth Vatican experience.
Although the exact course of the tour depends on our guide’s specialty, our interests and what galleries might be open that day, we often begin our time together with the chronologically arranged picture gallery known as the Pinacoteca. This is a great place to start because the paintings and other artworks included here provide an excellent overview of art history from the late medieval to high Renaissance periods. From here, we’ll traverse the halls of the Vatican palaces, visiting the most important rooms of the museums, until we reach the Sistine Chapel. As we walk, we’ll discuss the cultural and artistic climate in which Michelangelo worked painting the ceiling and later the Last Judgment, preparing ourselves for the exquisite artistic craftsmanship we’ll get to see now.
To assist you in planning your trip to the Vatican, we have created an informative resources page - How to Tour the Vatican
Please keep in mind that the Vatican is generally more crowded on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. It is best to book this tour on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday, in the early afternoon when the morning crowds are more likely to have thinned out.
Note: People with disabilities may be entitled to free entry to the Vatican Museums. Please contact us to find out if you qualify.
Further Explorations of The Vatican
Important: While our visit includes advance reservations to the museums, the Vatican Museums are extremely crowded. We organize this walk to take place at the most opportune times. However, we may spend a few minutes at the beginning of the walk waiting in the reserved entry line line, during which time our docent will provide an overview and contextualization for the walk. No time will be wasted.
Note: If you are a family with children under 12 we highly recommend that you book our Vatican for Kids Tour
Does this walk "skip the line"?
Yes, we use a reserved, timed entry to bypass the ticket line at the entrance. Context, as all other registered tour companies with special accounts at the Vatican can enter without waiting in the general entry line. You, as well, can make a reservation individually for a timed entrance, through the Vatican's website
. Despite some marketing efforts from other tour companies, using the reserved entrance, and "skipping the line" does not alleviate the biggest difficulty in visiting the Vatican: the crowds. The most important consideration is timing your visit to avoid large tour groups and cruise ships. We schedule our walks to try and find the best conditions inside the museums.
Do people with disabilities pay to enter the Vatican Museums?
Do you do tours of the Scavi under the Vatican?
No. These are organized by the Vatican itself. You need to email them directly at email@example.com.
How can I participate in the Papal Audience?
The Pope addresses a general audience every Wednesday at 10 am. You can make reservations through us by looking under Concierge Services or you can call the Vatican prefetura at +39 06.69883017. The prefetura also has an official website, which can confirm the dates of the scheduled audiences. Be forewarned that the Papal address creates a “stadium style” spirituality. It’s not the intimate engagement that people may expect, as hundreds of pilgrims are in attendance within St. Peter’s square.
What is the dress code inside the Vatican buildings?
Both St. Peter’s and the Museums are considered holy places. Men should wear slacks, and women should wear slacks or skirts below the knee. Shoulders must also be covered. If you are intent on wearing spaghetti straps or a halter-top, bring a shawl and expect to keep it around you. Shorts above the knee are not allowed on anyone, including children. These rules may seem unduly strict, but remember, you are a guest in the Vatican.
What are the best days/times to visit the Vatican?
The best times to visit the Vatican Museums are the late afternoon, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday. That’s not to say you couldn’t go other days, these just happen to be the times when we’ve found the crowds inside the museums are thinner. (The Museums are closed on Sundays.)
Why don’t you offer any of your Vatican small group walks on Wednesdays?
Since the Papal Audience takes place every Wednesday morning, St. Peter’s Basilica is closed until about 1 pm. Because of this, we don’t schedule anything in the morning. We also stay away from Wednesday afternoons because so many people who attend the audience in the morning go straight to the museums, making it unusually crowded inside. We can schedule something privately on Wednesday afternoon, but suggest you pick another day for your comfort and enjoyment.
How large a bag can I take with me into the Vatican Museum?
The only bags you’re required to check are larger backpacks, like the camping kind. Ordinary ones for everyday use are fine. Carry-on bags are no problem, just nothing like a suitcase. Our advice is to check anything cumbersome or anything that may knock something over.
Can I store my luggage or stroller at the Vatican during my tour?
Before entering the exhibition spaces, visitors are required to leave all luggage, suitcases, large bookbags, packages, or containers considered unsuitable by Vatican staff in the cloakroom. Please be sure that if you check something into the cloakroom, you must pick up your baggage before the end of the business day at the Vatican.
Is photography allowed inside Vatican buildings?
Photography is allowed without flash in all areas except for the Sistine Chapel. There is no photography allowed in the Sistine Chapel. If you see photos others have taken, it’s due to the fact that they’ve ignored the guards and taken photos. We do not recommend this, as we believe in adhering to the rules.
It is possible to enter into the Sistine Chapel without going through the entire museum?
This seems to be a popular belief, but is in fact untrue. One must follow through the entire route of the museums before entering the Sistine, which is located at the very end.