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Why Choose It?
- Invigorate your morning with a buffet breakfast in the Vatican.
- Admire Michelangelo’s magnum opus, the Sistine Chapel, without any crowds.
- Venture deeper into the Vatican, viewing the off-limits Cabinet of Masks.
Enjoy the ultimate experience of being alone with Michelangelo’s masterpiece – the Sistine Chapel. Once the day’s crowds have dispersed and the Vatican is shrouded in silence, you’ll be left to appreciate this mesmerizing work of art in the company of an expert art historian and in the intimacy of your own private tour.
Our exclusive Silver Partner Collaboration gives you complete run of the Vatican Museums. What’s more, you’ll be granted exclusive access to rooms that are normally kept closed to the public. The Niccoline Chapel, Cabinet of Masks, and Bramante Staircase are just some of the restricted access wonders you’ll explore. Read on to discover more.
Enter the Vatican Museums just as they close to the public
Stepping inside the Vatican Museums at 3:30 pm, you will enjoy full VIP access that allows you to visit parts of the Vatican’s vast collection that few people ever get to see. Your passionate, professional guide will reveal all the secrets and symbols behind its world-defining artworks. And because you’ll be alone, you’ll have the personalized attention to ask any question about any of these masterpieces that has been burning away in the back of your mind.
Explore the Pinecone Courtyard
Deriving its name from the giant statue of a pinecone at its head, the Pinecone Courtyard is truly a sight to behold. Designed by Donato Bramante, who laid the design foundations for Saint Peter’s Basilica later realized by Michelangelo, it once formed part of the Belvedere Courtyard.
Boasting stunning views of Saint Peter’s Dome and a curious spherical structure by the Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, the courtyard originally connected the palace of Pope Innocent VIII with the private papal chapel – known more commonly as the Sistine Chapel.
Explore the Vatican’s Gallery of Maps
As we wander the storied halls of the Vatican Museums, we will come upon galleries whose collections guide us through art, history, and space. The Gallery of Maps, with its bright golden ceiling, is illuminated with wall frescoes depicting how people of the 16th century understood their world. Their artist was Ignazio Danti, a Dominican friar, who topographically mapped Italy and its islands in such detail they still resonate with us today.
Step inside the Gallery of the Candelabra
We visit the Gallery of the Candelabra, famous not so much for the beautifully decorated ornament which gives the gallery its name, but for the plethora of ancient statues that congregate upon its floors. Lined with luminous marble and divided into six sections, the Gallery of the Candelabra is a treasure trove of ancient artworks, just waiting for you to explore it alone.
Lose yourself among the Gallery of Tapestries
We then come to the aesthetically awe-inspiring Gallery of Tapestries. Lining the walls of this stretching medieval corridor are Flemish designs so intricate they need to be seen to be believed. Narrating various episodes in history and liturgy, from the assassination of Julius Caesar to the Resurrection of Christ, they house a wealth of secrets which your expert guide will unlock.
Surround yourself with the stunning frescoes of the Raphael Rooms
Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel draws almost all of the Vatican’s crowds. But while he was working away on painting its ceiling, his contemporary rival, the famous Raphael, was decorating a papal residence with some unparalleled frescoes of his own.
Several frescoes line the walls of the Raphael Rooms (though not all were painted by him – some were the work of his pupils). Your tour will explore the most enchanting, allowing you to lose yourself in their powerful scenes while your guide injects them with the historical context that visitors without a guide never get.
Meet famous figures in the School of Athens
The Raphael Rooms contain one of the world’s most famous frescoes, the School of Athens, which decorates the walls of the Segnatura. Amalgamating all of antiquity’s great thinkers in one scene – and inserting contemporary artists for good measure – Raphael created an artwork that raises philosophical questions about our pursuit of knowledge while indulging the eyes with the intricacy of its designs.
Marvel at Nero’s Bathtub
Recovered from the emperor’s Golden Palace, part of which survives beside the Colosseum, this giant porphyry bath is now one of the Vatican Museums’ centerpieces. Standing on an ornate, ancient mosaicked floor and surrounded by statues of emperors and gods – including a remarkable bronze Hercules, its size and splendor are breathtaking and give a real sense of the emperor’s opulence.
Go behind the scenes to explore the Room of the Masks
The Room of the Masks is a true Vatican treasure, containing ancient mosaics so splendid they once decorated an imperial villa. The room takes its name not from any actual masks, but from the design of one of these mosaics. It was brought to the Vatican from the emperor Hadrian’s residence at Tivoli, Villa Adriana, and is so remarkably well preserved you would be forgiven the stones were embedded yesterday.
Acquaint yourself with the Pope’s private Niccoline Chapel
The Pope’s private chapel is a true artistic masterpiece. The pinnacle of 15th-century Christian humanism, its scenes depict episodes from the lives of many famous saints. The stories of Saint Steven and Saint Laurence play out mesmerizingly before you – their protagonists even after nearly 600 years, so lifelike they could be in the room with you.
Visit the Sistine Chapel after-hours and be alone with Michelangelo
Your two-and-a-half hour two concludes at the apex of the Vatican’s collection, the resplendent Sistine Chapel. Most visitors in Rome experience the Sistine Chapel when it’s packed to capacity, but our Meeting Michelangelo tour lets you come face to face with his magnum opus, in the still serenity of the evening.
Nourish yourself on your expert guide’s knowledge as they breathe life into its lifelike frescoes. Put the scenes of its ceiling into context, understanding more than just the Creation of Adam but the subtleties of Michelangelo’s decorative program.
Finally, come face to face with the Last Judgement, one of the most powerful artworks of the ages, and leave feeling like you’ve experienced the Vatican like few others on earth.
- Itinerary:Vatican Museums highlightsSistine ChapelRaphael RoomsLaocoonTorso del Belvedere
- Included:Private guideVIP entrance ticketSpecial reservation after closing time
- Wheelchair accessible:Yes. (Itinerary may differ).
- Meeting Point:Hotel Lobby
Our guides are fluent in English and have a contagious passion for the inspiring cultural heritage of our Italian cities. Experts in their fields, they will immerse you in the hidden histories and intriguing lives of history's great protagonists. So much to see, so easy to miss out: with the help of our guides, visit the most absorbing sites and uncover the stories that have changed the world. Don't miss this fascinating journey!
Wonderful Wine Tour My husband and I did the secret wine bar tour with Sara. She was an absolute delight—so easy to talk to, and very knowledgeable. She took us places we would... read moreMy husband and I did the secret wine bar tour with Sara. She was an absolute delight—so easy to talk to, and very knowledgeable. She took us places we would have never chosen on our own and they were all amazing!
My only warning is that you will be full by the end of this tour—which is a great thing! We weren’t sure how much food would be provided, so we made late dinner reservations that we ended up canceling because we had plenty to eat on the tour!!
I highly recommend this experience, and highly recommend requesting Sara as your guide! read less - 4/01/2022
A great evening with Marcos. I always wanted to know how to make the perfect pizza and gelato. Here, Marco the expert will show you how. It was a great participation event with lots... read moreI always wanted to know how to make the perfect pizza and gelato. Here, Marco the expert will show you how. It was a great participation event with lots of laughs, and we all got to sit down together afterwards to eat our creations. This is a great event for adults and children alike. Narco and his team are a credit to the company. read less - 12/05/2021
Exceeding Expectations in Unexpected Location This is an essential tour. After many trips to Rome this is an excursion we were excited to take. Our expectations were exceeded. Sara was great and made the tour... read moreThis is an essential tour. After many trips to Rome this is an excursion we were excited to take. Our expectations were exceeded. Sara was great and made the tour special. She has a great personality and is engaging. The chef, assistant, and team at Castel Gandolfo were all terrific to work with.
If there is one thing to do when visiting Rome after the major sites and time around the city, take this trip. read less - 12/03/2021
Geeking out at The Vatican Rosi was our guide for the experience and she was A+. Not just knowledgeable but also passionate and a great story teller. She was patient w questions and made the... read moreRosi was our guide for the experience and she was A+. Not just knowledgeable but also passionate and a great story teller. She was patient w questions and made the overall experience incredibly fun. read less - 11/30/2021
The 2 villas of Tivoli We did the Private tour of Villa D'Este and Villa Adriana in Tivoli. The driver picked us up from the hotel in Rome and drove to the Villa Adriana, where... read moreWe did the Private tour of Villa D'Este and Villa Adriana in Tivoli. The driver picked us up from the hotel in Rome and drove to the Villa Adriana, where our guide, Barbara, met us. Thoroughly versed in ancient history and art history, she was a lively and fascinating guide. Never exhausting or boring, always good company, Barbara clearly loves what she does, sharing her knowledge of Rome and environs and deepening the appreciation of discerning travelers who want to learn about what they see. She was a good sport, because it was a windy rainy day, not ideal for a long day outdoors! I would definitely hire her again. read less - 11/04/2021
Gracious, Knowledgeable, Experienced Walk Inside Rome has the best, most informed guides and they never disappoint!
From the first inquiry through the tour they are also the most gracious and accommodating. Our most... read moreWalk Inside Rome has the best, most informed guides and they never disappoint!
From the first inquiry through the tour they are also the most gracious and accommodating. Our most recent guide at the Vatican was TEO, knowledgeable, friendly, and someone who clearly loves the city of Rome. The owner of WIR, Marilena is hands on, and considers you a friend after the first tour! read less - 11/02/2021
Great Guide and Tour Very impressed and happy - From booking to the tour, everything was very smooth. I had some questions about the tour before booking - sent an email with responses prompt... read moreVery impressed and happy - From booking to the tour, everything was very smooth. I had some questions about the tour before booking - sent an email with responses prompt and the relevant information. We did the early morning Vatican Tour with Walks Inside Rome with our guide Barbara, who was amazing. Spending the extra money was worth the experience of WIR, in depth knowledge of the guide, early access to the Vatican and the path/route to see the highlights and relevant areas of the Vatican. Would highly recommend for anyone to book this tour, and would consider them for other tours next time in Rome! Thanks to the team at WIR and special shout out to Barbara who was so very considerate (my Mom was 89 years old and visiting the Vatican for the first time, making sure my Mom was at the front and able to see everything even though she was a tiny bit slower than everyone else! Grazie Mille! read less - 10/12/2021
Making Pizza & Gelato in Roma This was a fun, educational experience. I enjoy cooking, baking, etc so learning to make authentic Roman style pizza and a simple recipe for gelato is a skill I... read moreThis was a fun, educational experience. I enjoy cooking, baking, etc so learning to make authentic Roman style pizza and a simple recipe for gelato is a skill I can take home! Our chef/instructor, Marco, was enthusiastic and his experience shown through as he explained what and why following the recipes was important. The kitchen space was well equipped and the dining space magical. Next time we’re in Rome (yes we tossed coins in the Trevi Fountain) we will take another course from his organization. read less - 9/27/2021