Skip the long lines and enjoy no-wait access to the Vatican Museums on this half-day tour. Visit the Vatican Paintings gallery, St. Peter's Basilica, and the spiral Bramante Staircase. Also, see Raphael’s Rooms, with frescoes painted by renowned Renaissance artist Raphael and the Gallery of Tapestries. Step inside the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo’s famous 'Creation of Adam' and 'Last Judgement' paintings.
Enjoy privileged access to the Vatican Museums via a dedicated Vatican Partner entrance
Marvel at the only Da Vinci piece left in Rome at the serene Vatican Paintings Gallery
Enter St. Peter's Basilica through an exclusive entrance, avoiding long lines
An audio headset is included, so you can hear your guide clearly the whole time
Why Travelers Choose This Tour
Get special Vatican access via a dedicated entrance and visit the Bramante Staircase—a rare combo.
Meet and greet the tour guide outside the Vatican Museums, a collection of galleries of classical and Renaissance art masterpieces, including the Sistine Chapel frescoes. Walk inside through the official Vatican Partner entrance, which provides even faster access than the priority lines.
Once inside, there are more than nine miles of art, so follow along with the guide who points out the highlights and explains the story behind each work of art. A headset is included to hear the guide clearly.
Stop at the Vatican Paintings Gallery, featuring some of the most influential paintings in the world like Caravaggio’s 'Deposition from the Cross,' Da Vinci’s unfinished 'St. Jerome' and Raphael’s 'Transfiguration.'
Next, a Vatican Guard escorts you to one of the biggest thrills of the tour, a visit to the Bramante Staircase. Once used by the popes and Vatican staff, but it is now rarely visited. Take the opportunity to get a photo of this beautiful spiral staircase.
Then, visit Raphael’s Rooms, four interconnected rooms with frescoes painted by Renaissance artist Raphael; the six-sectioned Gallery of Candelabra, with Roman copies of Hellenistic originals and some great second century candelabra, from Otricoli; the Gallery of Tapestries, featuring the drawings from many of Raphael’s pupils; and Gallery of Maps, on the west side of the Belvedere Courtyard featuring a series of painted topographical maps of Italy.
Go to the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo’s 'Creation of Adam' and the 'Last Judgement' and St. Peter’s Basilica to see 'La Pietà,' one of Michelangelo’s earlier sculptures depicting the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion.
The tour ends just outside St. Peter’s Basilica.
Your tour begins outside the Vatican, where your expert guide will whisk you passed the famously long lines and through an Official Vatican Partner entrance before giving you a brief overview of the tour.
You’ll then follow your guide to the Pinacoteca, also known as the Vatican Paintings Gallery. Often overlooked by independent sightseers, this is one of the quietest parts of the Museums. Enjoy the hush as you view masterpieces by Raphael, Caravaggio and the only Da Vinci left in Rome. As you wander this modern gallery, your expert guide will tell you not just about the techniques and subjects of these works, but also about the lives of their creators.
Then, you will make your way to one of the highlights of our tour: the Bramante Staircase. A Vatican Guard will escort you beyond a velvet rope to this engineering marvel, which was built to admit horse-drawn carriages from street level to the Papal apartments. It’s usually closed to the public, so you’ll have this stunning helical staircase to yourself, with space to admire spectacular views overlooking Vatican City.
Next, visit some of the well-known sights of the Vatican including the Gallery of Maps, Raphael Rooms, and the stunning Sistine Chapel. Of course, no visit to the Vatican would be complete without seeing this iconic masterpiece, and your expert guide will be sure to give you all the background you need to truly appreciate Michelangelo’s most famous work.
Finish your tour with privileged access to St. Peter’s Basilica through a door leading directly from the Sistine Chapel, avoiding the lines so you have more time inside to discover works like Michelangelo’s ‘La Pietà’.
"The headset is very important in order to hear everything she says, so if you have comfortable earphones, you might want to bring them along - they give you some, but they are not overly comfortable." See review
"Definitely worth it to buy the pass and skip the lines" See review
"For a first time visit to the Viatican Museum the early start tour one hour before the general public is allowed in is a bonus." See review
Reviews by Viator travelers
, Mar 2020
Incredible! Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining. Will definitely take another tour when I return
We took the Walks of Italy (tour company) "Vatican Museums Tour with Bramante Staircase, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica" with early entry.
Vasco was our guide. He really knew his art history and was a top rate Vatican tour guide. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
Sara was GREAT!!! Her knowledge of the Vatican and surrounding area (the Vatican City) is Amazing! History, History, History! The Vatican is not just about the Pope. It is about Vatican City and the way the rest of Italy (and the world) has been in contact with Rome. Sara gives a tour which is deep in history. I wish there was more time on that tour!
I recommend doing this extended tour to any- and everyone. It was my first time in the Vatican and wanted to see as much as possible. I was so glad I did it, our guide VASCO from City Wonders was amazing! He was knowledgeable and well-spoken. The views from the Bramante Staircase were beautiful. I would do this over again.
An opportunity to see some areas of the Vatican Museums that are not open to everyone and less crowded. The Bramante Staircase was great. There is only one way into the Sistine Chapel so you will be competing with the crowds there regardless. Nice to skip the line into St. Peter's. The tour is brief there - just the highlights- but once you are in you can stay as long as you like.