The Vatican City

The Vatican is a huge area that comprises the Basilica of Saint Peter’s, the Vatican Museums , the Sistine Chapel, the Gardens , the Necropolis , the Pope’s Palace and other buildings not open to the general public.

A standard tour of the Vatican Museums including the museums highlights, the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s basilica is 3,5 hrs long. (All tours are customizable.)

Please note that due to pandemic restrictions the direct passage from the Museums to St Peter’s is not open at all times and this could imply an extra walk to reach the basilica and the metal detector line at St Peter’s. So the visit to St Peter’s and to the Museums could be longer depending on the crowds.

Here is a list of the different sections in the Vatican, some can be combined together but visiting all this areas in one go it is nearly impossible since it’ll require a long day.

The Vatican Museums is a huge collection that spans from antiquities to contemporary art. Paintings, sculptures, mosaics and tapestries. Admission fee

The Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel belong to the Museums complex. The Raphael’s rooms were Pope Julius’ II apartments and were painted by  Raffaello Sanzio and his assistants. The Sistine Chapel was built to be the chapel of the Pope’s Palace and houses superb paintings by some of the Renaissance masters such as Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and Perugino and  the world famous masterpieces by Michelangelo: the ceiling and the Last Judgement.

St Peter’s Basilica, this immense church built on the tomb of the apostle Peter in more than a century is  the centre of the Catholic world. Open everyday to visitors. Free admission.

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The Vatican Grottoes are below Saint Peter’s and contain the tombs of the Popes. Entrance is through the Basilica. Free admission

Saint Peter’s Treasury: inside the Basilica, a collection which contains mainly church ornaments, statues, papal mitres and other precious objects and curiosities. Admission fee.

Vatican sites you can do on your own:

The Cupola or Saint Peter’s Dome: an  elevator and some 320  steps will take you to the top of the highest dome in Rome which was designed by Michelangelo. For the bravest you can avoid the elevator and climb 551 steps to the top. Admission fee. Entrance from St. Peter’s basilica portico.I suggest to visit this at the end of the tour on your own since a guide it is not necessary.

The Vatican Necropolis (Scavi vaticani): a visit to the necropolis below St. Peter’s Basilica and to the tomb of the Apostle takes about one hour and half. Tours can only be arranged through the Vatican office so I won’t be able to guide you there. Admission fee. You can reserve personally by contacting: by email scavi@fsp.va  or  by fax: +390669873017

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