"Gratissium" Welcome to The Vatican City; visit the unique sites and see the gorgeous frescos, sculptures and artwork of this ancient city on sightseeing guided tours.
The Vatican is the world's only "piccolo" independent state which was made official when The Lantern Treaty was signed by Benito Mussolini and Pope Pius XI in 1929. Vatican custom tour guides will inform you of the correct etiquette needed while visiting attractions in this famous and Holy City.
Within The Vatican walls, there are many sightseeing opportunities to keep tourists and religious devotees busy for days. Vatican City tour guides are unique in that they need to be individually registered to do guided tours of the Vatican, the main asset to booking one of these guides is that you can bypass the queues for all the attractions.
Approximately 800 people are registered as living the City, but only 400 are residents. They include the Swiss Guard on hand to protect the Pontiff, Cardinals, and representatives of the clergy who assist and help the Pope.
Custom tours of the Vatican are an experience you will never forget; this little City boasts of having its own bank, telephone systems, pharmacy, post office, newspaper and television stations. Read More...
Guided Private St. Peters and The Sistine Chapel Tours
Prioritize your sightseeing and guided Vatican tours as there is so much to see, highlights for many people are the private guided tours to the stunning Sistine Chapel or the beautiful St. Peters Basilica.
The ancient sculptures, fresco's and paintings in both the Chapel and Basilica are irreplaceable and astonishing. The priceless masterpieces of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci's and Raphael are breathtakingly beautiful and lovingly preserved and cared for by the City Officials.
Swiss Guards with colorful Renaissance uniforms and armor are all around the City standing guard for the Pontiff and protecting the many Artifacts and Holy Relics housed in this unique city. Escorted Vatican Palace tours will guide you around the magnificently decorated Palace rooms. The most recognized and greatest artists in the world created the priceless sculptures, frescos, and paintings adorning the Palace rooms and walls.
The Vatican City has many tours full of history, culture, and visitors can have a glimpse of the history of this highly recognized Catholic Religious order.
The Vatican's Tremendous Top Tours and Attractions
The Sistine Chapel was built between 1473 and 1484 by Pope Sixtus IV and was used as the Pope's private chapel, however, on occasion it is used for special services and for Conclave to elect a new Pontiff. Guided tours to see the beautiful frescoes sculpted by Michaelangelo from 1508 to 1512 depicting the creation of Genesis are breathtaking. The conception of the work starts with God dividing light from dark right through to Noah and the Ark.
St. Peters Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica was built on the burial ground of St Peter and constructed between the 16th and 18th century. Works of art by Bernini, Giotto and Michaelangelo are in abundance in the Basilica. The tomb of St. Peter and many other Pope's are buried below the altar within the many crypts. As you enter the Church to the right is the beautiful sculpture of the Pietà by Michaelangelo, it is said he sculpted this piece when he was only 24.
St. Peters Square
Tours around The Grand Piazza San Pietro which is situated outside St. Peters Basilica in an area where worshippers can gather together for special church services and important calendar occasions like Easter Sunday. Surrounded by 140 sculpted statues with lovely fountains on either side and a massive Egyptian Obelisk in the center, the faithful gather here sometimes for days when votes are being held to elect a new Pontiff.
Sightseeing tours in Cortile Della Pigna's Egyptian Museum founded by Pope Gregory XVI in 1839 are a refreshing change from other tours in the Vatican. A lot of the exhibition pieces are from a collection started by Emperor Hadrian. There are nine exhibition rooms with Pharaoh's sculptures, beautifully decorated open sarcophagus with exposed mummies, jars and artifacts that were originally buried in the tombs.
The Castle of the Holy Angel or Castel Sant'Angelo is one of the only monuments in the City not reduced to ruins throughout the years. Built as a tomb for Emperor Hadrian and his family the Castle is now a touring museum. The tombs and dungeons on the lower floors are stark in comparison to the finery of the upper floors of the castle. The gold gilded paintings, frescos and artifacts on display as you walk around the Castle are stunning.
The Raphael Rooms were commissioned firstly by Pope Julius II then later by Pope Leo X, sightseeing tours of the spectacular frescoes housed there are very special. The paintings with humanist themes are an excellent example of Raphel's talent. In the Stanza Della Segnatura, you can see the central theme running through this beautiful piece. Some works were completed by his students and other artists after his death.
The Vatican Library is known to be one of the richest Library's in the world as many of works from the old collections are priceless. The list is endless but to give you an idea of what you will see with your tour guide there are over 20,000 ancient medieval books, over 80,000 manuscripts and over 6,000 documents printed before the year 1501. Hand written books, parchments, gospels with ancient scrolls and old coins are on exhibition in the Library.
Pio Clementino Museum
On sightseeing tours of The Vatican, you will visit the Vatican Museum which has one of the biggest collections of ancient sculptures on the planet. Most of the pieces on display are from Rome and the surrounding region. The collection has pieces like The Sala a Croce Greca, Pinturicchio and beautiful candelabras with unbridled details in modern sculpture. The Gabinetto Della Maschere Room has the most magical mosaic floor depicting theater masks.
Pinacoteca (Picture Gallery)
The Pinacoteca or picture gallery has 16 rooms full of contemporary art and valuable pieces from the Middle Ages. Napoleon famously stole many pieces, but thankfully a lot of artwork remains. Tour guides will show you how the paintings are arranged to give tourists an easier understanding of the collection. Tapestries from Raphael including The Madonna of Foligno and unfinished portraits by Leonardo Da Vinci are housed here.
Vatican City Gardens
The Vatican Gardens were first started in 1279; they have been extended many times throughout the years, and presently they take up almost half of the City. Garden walks are included in private Vatican tours so you can see how the gardens are beautifully tended and cared for all year round. The perfect lush green lawns and ideally positioned flowers with ornate statues are stunning, and the flowery scents as you walk around are hypnotizing.
As tour guides escort you from the Raphael Rooms, you will be taken to a little doorway that leads to the Cappella Niccolina Chapel. The frescos were commissioned by a Florentine Renaissance monk named Fr. Beato Angelico who completed the works based on St. Lawerence and St. Stephen. The paintings are said to depict the devotion and gentleness of the Saints. This area is sometimes overlooked on tours but it is beautiful, and a must see.
Casina Pio IV
With an oval courtyard, gorgeously decorated facades and an ornate entrance, the Casina Pio IV tour will take you to the home of the Pontifical Science Academy. The barrel vaulted ceilings feature frescos depicting the life of Moses, and the interior decoration is stunning with many murals on epic scriptures from the Bible. On tour you will hear about the great history of this building, it was originally the summer home of the Pope.
Tour guides will escort you down the Museo Chiaramonti gallery to see the gorgeous pieces of sculptor on exhibition. Pope Pius VII decided to house the many statues along with friezes and reliefs in the long hall to preserve and exhibit the works at their best. Some of the statues have been repaired over the years as you will see. However, they have not lost their ability to charm tourists with their beautiful finishes.
Vatican City Tours
The Vatican City tour expert guides start many of the tours in St Peters Square and the escort you right through the lines of people queuing, bypassing them and going directly to The Vatican. Visits to The Sistine Chapel, St. Peters Basilica, and The Raphael Rooms are unique as the Vatican tour guides talk you through the Vatican's history and are full of detail (which is a requirement for each guide) regarding every piece of famous art and sculpture in the City.
The Borgia family had a private residence within The Vatican City commissioned by Pope Alexander VI. Sightseeing Tours of the home will show you the extravagance spent on a series of frescos painted around the residence. The artist Pinturicchio was commissioned by the Pontiff to create and complete the works with scenes from the New and Old Testament, the rooms are in some way reminiscent of the Sistine Chapel.
Founded in the mid 19th century by Pope Gregory XVI, the Etruscan Museum has many rooms full of artifacts on the lives of the Etruscan people. Tours of the finds discovered in the excavated graves are secured in glass cases, so visitors have a clear view of the artifacts on exhibition. Many everyday items and pieces of artworks were found with some Etruscan Vases and a bust of the goddess Athena.
Pope Papal Audience Tour
The Company tour guide will be in a position to inform you if the Pontiff is in residence; the Pope usually gives blessings to the huge audiences that frequently gather to see him from his famous balcony every Sunday morning during or after Mass Services. The Pope is available for a private group audience on Wednesday's (schedule permitting) however you will need to book in advance as audience tickets sell out very quickly.
The Last Judgement Fresco
When you enter the Sistine Chapel on your custom guided tour, you will be shown the position of The Last Judgement by Michelangelo which is perfectly stationed at the back of the altar. The artist was given free reign to depict this epic scene from the Bible with no artistic license, he let go, and the result speaks for itself. Michelangelo's ability to draw nudes was incredible due to his knowledge of anatomy, so the finishing piece is truly inspiring.
The Christian's greatest Basilica is built over St. Peters final resting place. The burial grounds were marked with a small shrine which then turned into a church and from there into a magnificent Cathedral. There is a strict dress code should you wish to take the Necropolis tour, this is a holy place so appropriate clothing is required. The crypts are at low levels under the Cathedral; your tour guide will escort your group.
VIP Vatican Tour Guides
Get the VIP treatment with a Vatican tour guide and experience all the sights after enjoying some breakfast in the Vatican courtyard (weather permitting) or in the Cafe. The trip starts early in the morning, so the tour group will be the first to arrive at the Sistine Chapel, Raphaels Rooms and St. Peters Basilica which are highlights of every Vatican tour. If you don't want the drama of queuing book this tour.
Vatican Night & Dinner Tour
Vatican Museums night tours are an excellent way to see the sights from a different perspective. The lighting at night in the Vatican is somber so as you walk along the corridors and see the beautiful artwork of Michelangelo and others, count yourself lucky. After the tour, there is a delicious buffet served in the Pinecone Courtyard or if you wish an additional charge can be added to have dinner in a private location.
The Pope's Summer Residence Tour
The Pontiff's summer residence tour will take visitors on a journey to this amazing Vatican getaway. Heading just south of Rome and located in the Alban Hills is The Castel Gandolfo where tourists are treated to a unique guided tour of the Pope's summer residence. Visit the Papal Apartments, Barberini Gardens, and Apostolic Palace then have lunch with produce from the Pope's private farm.
Child Friendly Full Day Vatican Tour
Full day Vatican and Colosseum child-friendly combo tours are ideal as the tour guides are specially trained to keep the day fun and active for children. They use many visual aids, props, games, and activities throughout the tour of the museums, Sistine Chapel and The Basilica. The guide skills used to educate the children about the history of The Vatican are well thought out and engage them from start to finish.
Vatican Special Needs Tours
The Vatican Special Needs tours try to cater for as many disabilities as possible. The Sistine Chapel, Basilica, and the Popes Crypt are all accessible to disabled visitors, and special needs dogs are free to enter any of the public areas with their owners. Wheelchairs and headphones for the hearing impaired are available. Identify any needs when booking the tours and the operators will be more than happy to help.
St Peters Remains and Tomb Tour
Tomb Tours start Underneath St Peters Basilica where excavations were carried out, and parts of the first Necropolis and Church were found. On further investigation, human remains of a were found in a box with ancient writings. The remains were put on exhibition in 2013 with The Vatican stating tests were convincing that they are the remain of St. Peter.
Vatican and Vatacombs Tour
The Vatican and Vatacombs Tours are unique in that there is limited access to the Catacombs or Vatacombs as they also know and luckily you are guaranteed to visit them on this tour. Specialist Vatican guides escort groups around the main building and underground where the real tour starts. Walking around the various ornate tombs of past Pope's is very surreal and a pilgrimage for many religious visitors.
Travel Tips for Rome
Best Time To Visit
Most tourists go to the Vatican to go on sightseeing guided tours so for fewer crowds, cheaper accommodation and mild weather October through to February, are the best times for you. At the height of the summer, the temperatures while touring the city can be unbearable for some people and costs of accommodation increase. However, if you book in advance, you will get better rates.
B&B rates can vary from 50.00 euro in high season 25.00 euro offseason, and the same applies for hotels however the prices are a little higher. Eating out can be reasonable if you choose small restaurants and try the street food or bar food. Most of the eateries do early bird menus which are perfect if you are on a budget. Guided tours for the Vatican should always be booked in advance to assure great rates.
Know Before Visiting
The key here is research, book any private guides and tours before you get there. As with most countries keep all your important documents in your accommodation safe. Watch out for pickpockets and never buy tickets from people on the street chances are they are fake. Bring plenty of water with you and have breaks, sightseeing can be very strenuous so take your time and enjoy your holiday.
The Vatican City has a very typical Mediterranean climate, cool in the winter with plenty of rain but never dropping into minus figures and getting quite hot in the summer season. Temperatures can go as high as 35 degrees in high season and when you are on private Vatican city tours that can be tough to handle so be prepared. Autumn is perfect as the days are beautiful and the nights are a little chilly but lovely and refreshing.