Visiting the Vatican with children? Our Vatican for Kids Tour will keep them engaged and amazed by the incredible Vatican collection—despite all the crowds. In this three-hour tour, we'll explore the treasures of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica—following roughly the same itinerary as our standard Vatican Tour—in the company of a family art historian trained in inquiry-based learning. Using interactive activities, we'll keep kids (and their lucky parents) focused on these world-famous artworks, from Raphael's frescoes and the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter's Pietà and Bernini’s baldacchino.
After a general introduction to the history of the Vatican as an institution, we begin our Vatican for Kids Tour with the chronologically arranged picture gallery known as the Pinacoteca. Our guide, trained in inquiry-based learning techniques, will conduct an interactive discussion on painting from the Medieval period to the high Renaissance, using masterworks by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and other painters as a backdrop. We'll pay particular attention to the world-famous Vatican tapestries, located in these galleries, as they provide a great way to expose kids to the idea of patronage and power during the Renaissance. From here, we'll stroll through the Museums, making our way to the Sistine Chapel, where Michelangelo's masterpieces of the painted ceiling and Last Judgment provide a backdrop for our continued discussion of art, the Church, and Rome. Finally, we'll spend approximately an hour in St. Peter's Basilica, host to stunning works from such artists as Bernini and Michelangelo and one of the most architecturally important buildings to have been constructed during the Renaissance. We'll marvel at the enormous dome, designed by Michelangelo, enormous interior, and priceless masterpieces contained therein, learning about the context in which the basilica was built and its enduring legacy.
Note: While all kids are different, in general this walk is best suited for children between the ages of 6 and 12. 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, during which time our docent will provide an overview and contextualization for the walk. No time will be wasted.
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.
Note: Please note that while it is possible to visit the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel in a wheelchair, there is no wheelchair access from the Sistine Chapel to St Peter's Basilica. If you use a wheelchair, please contact us to discuss alternate options.
Please Note: While your docent will do their best to show you the highlights of the Vatican Museums, there may be closures that are beyond our control: works of art can be on loan elsewhere or entire galleries may be closed due to private Papal or Vatican functions. Should this be the case, your guide will take you to one of the many other areas of the Museums.
St Peter's Basilica may also experience closures or restricted access due to official celebrations or ceremonies. Should this be the case during your walk, your guide will allow more time in the Vatican Museums and spend time discussing the exterior of the church.
What is a private tour?
Our private tours are limited exclusively to travelers in your party. They are designed to provide a learning experience that is completely tailored to you and your traveling companions. Private tours give you more flexibility with scheduling (you decide when the walk best fits in your trip), the ability to tailor your itinerary (we'll work to match the itinerary to the interests and dynamics of your group), and more personalized time with your guide.
What is a semi-private tour?
Our semi-private tours cover many of the same itineraries as our private tours, but they place you with other travelers in groups of 6 or less. They operate on a pre-scheduled calendar, and are designed to provide an opportunity to engage with and learn from other travelers. Most of our semi-private tours require at least three (3) participants to run, although there is some variation from walk to walk. However, there is some variation from walk to walk. As you sign up for a tentative walk we display the minimum number required in order to confirm.
Can I bring my toddler or pre-schooler on this walk?
We recommend this walk for kids ages 6 and up. The Vatican Museums are extensive and can be very crowded, especially during school vacation periods. Kids younger than 6 may feel overwhelmed by the crowds and by the long walk through the collections
What is the best time of year to visit with kids?
The Vatican Museums see upwards of 35,000 visitors per day in high season (Easter - September) and there is very little air conditioning in the buildings. It can be very hot in peak summer and the crowds make it feel even hotter. We recommend visiting off season if possible - October, November, January, and February are the least crowded and least hot months to plan a visit with kids.
Will we be able to buy water or snacks once we are inside?
There is a cafe inside the museums, but it is near the end of the route. It's is best if you plan enough time to have a good breakfast or lunch before your visit and pack water for your kids, especially on hot summer days.
Do people with disabilities pay to enter the Vatican Museums?
Does this walk "skip the line"?
Yes, we use reserved, timed tickets 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. Please note, Roma Passes can not be used for the Vatican.
Does this walk include the Raphael Rooms/Borgia Apartment?
No. Because it's only 3-hours long, the family version of our Vatican tour does not include this wing of the Vatican. If you would like to include this on your walk, please be sure to note this for us when booking.
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.