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Vatican Museums Tour with Bramante Staircase, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's

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Roma, Italy
Vatican Museums Tour with Bramante Staircase, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's

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Safety measures
icon4 hours 30 minutes  (Approx.)
iconOffered in: English


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.
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Professional guide
Access to the Bramante Staircases
Headset to hear the guide clearly
Exclusive No-Wait-Access
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Food and drinks

Departure Point

Viale Vaticano, Roma RM, Italy

At the bottom of the wide steps across the street from the entrance of the Vatican Museums. The steps are located between Caffè Vaticano and Hotel Alimandi Vaticano, on the corner of Viale Vaticano and Via Tunisi. Our City Wonders coordinators will be wearing blue City Wonders/Guideman polo shirts or jackets for easy recognition. The closest metro stop is on line A (red line): Ottaviano - Musei Vaticani. Arriving from Ottaviano - Musei Vaticani metro A station: When you step off the metro, exit the turnstiles, walk straight to the back of the station and go to the left-side exit. Once you've reached the left-side exit, go out on the side marked V.le Giulio Cesare (to your right). Leave the station and walk straight (west) down Viale Giulio Cesare (which turns into Via Candia) for 3 ½ blocks, crossing three junctions (1. Via Vespiano 2. Via Leona IV and 3. Via Santamaura) before getting to Via Tunisi, the fourth junction. Turn left down Via Tunisi and walk straight for a block. In front of you will be a set of wide steps with a handrail running down the center. Your meeting point is at the BOTTOM of these steps. In total, the walk from the metro station to the meeting point should take around 10 – 15 minutes. Arriving from St. Peter's Square: Facing St. Peter's Basilica from the center of piazza (near the obelisk), turn right (north) and exit the piazza through the columns. Follow the Vatican walls (which will always be on your left side) all the way around to the entrance of the Vatican Museums (the entrance is on the left as you go uphill on Viale Vaticano.) This walk should take around 15 – 20 minutes.

Return Details

Piazza San Pietro, Città del Vaticano, Vatican City
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.
Stop At:  
Vatican Museums
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.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Chiostro del Bramante
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.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Sistine Chapel
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.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
St. Peter's Basilica
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’.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Tours departing Wednesday: St Peter's Basilica will be unavailable due to the Papal Audience. As an alternative, you will be offered an extended itinerary within the Vatican Museums
  • On rare occasions, St Peter’s Basilica closes without notice. If this happens, you'll spend a full 4.5 hours touring the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
  • Only small bags are allowed on the tour
  • Knees and shoulders MUST be covered for both men and women
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Travelers should have a moderate physical fitness level
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 20 travelers
  • OPERATED BY City Wonders Ltd
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during Vatican Museums Tour with Bramante Staircase, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's?
A:The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
See all safety measures taken by Vatican Museums Tour with Bramante Staircase, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's.
What is the social distancing policy during Vatican Museums Tour with Bramante Staircase, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's?
A:The policy on social distancing is:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
See all safety measures taken by Vatican Museums Tour with Bramante Staircase, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's.

Traveler Photos

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Traveler Tips

  • "This is an AMAZING Tour and even though we were crowded with others at times (Not even the busy season), It was well worth getting in easily and having the ability to see locations that not everyone does." See review
  • "It’s not a place we go often so just invest for it." See review
  • "Bramante stairs were a treat, nice that it was empty of other groups." See review


155 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 155 reviews
Vatican tour
, Mar 2020
Incredible! Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and entertaining. Will definitely take another tour when I return
Italy Trip
, Feb 2020
Excellent tour and our guide Zara was very knowledgeable, patient and considerate. The tour was suppose to be 4 1/2 hours and she spent 5 hours with us. This tour is a bit tiring but well worth it
Wonderful Tour by Walks of Italy
, Nov 2019
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.
A Can't Miss tour
Mark B
, Nov 2019
Our guide was friendly, knowledgeable and set up the "big tear" as we entered the Sistine Chapel. A wonderful museum and an unforgettable experience.
Vatican, Bramante, and Review
, Oct 2019
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!
Would do it again
, Oct 2019
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.
Guide was wonderful
, Sep 2019
While this tour is a bit long at four and a half hours the guide was knowledgeable and interesting. I would definitely recommend.
Grand experience!
, Sep 2019
Laura was authentic and phenomenally knowledgeable! She kept our diverse group engaged and answered our many questions with cheerful informative responses.
Awe inspiring
, Aug 2019
Loved this tour. But found it hard to concentrate on some of the details being said due to poor pronunciation of our guide.
Insider's View of the Vatican Museum
Gigi D
, Jul 2019
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.
1 traveler found this review helpful

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