See the Vatican, including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica, with an expert!
This is not a traditional walking tour company. The people who lead these walks are specialists--art historians, classicists, archaeologists, architects--who possess a deep knowledge of the city. They lead the walks like professors lead seminar classes, with in-depth conversations about themes and topics related to Rome, using the city itself as a text book. Participants should be prepared for their itineraries to take a variety of different courses, depending on the guide, the tour group members, the season, and conditions in the city on any given day. There are no scripts and no guidebook lists of facts.
The Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, and La Pieta by Michelangelo are just some of the many art treasures we’ll cover in this four-hour, in-depth Vatican walking tour.
Led by a trained theologian or art historian, our critically-acclaimed Vatican art walk visits both the Vatican Museums and the Basilica of St. Peter’s, and is conducted more like a walking seminar than a regular sightseeing tour. By limiting our group size to no more than six people, we’re able to take a deeper approach to the Vatican collections as we explore Papal history and the role of art throughout the history of the Catholic Church.
Armed with reserved entry tickets, which guarantee a quick entry into the museums, we begin with the Vatican art collection, one of the world's great repositories of art.
Although each walk evolves differently, depending on our guide's area of expertise and the interests of the group, we generally start with a thorough overview of Papal history and the construction of the Papal Palace (now home to the museums). We will often veer off to the chronologically-arranged picture gallery known as the Pinacoteca, which forms the perfect backdrop for a seminar on the history of painting from the late medieval to the high Renaissance periods.
From here, we will traverse the halls of the Vatican palaces, visiting the most important rooms of the museums, including the ancient statuary collection of Julius II and the Papal apartments decorated by Raphael. By the time we reach the Sistine Chapel, we will have set the context to appreciate the cultural and artistic climate in which Michelangelo worked, painting the ceiling and later The Last Judgment.
This 30- to 40-minute portion of the walk covers St. Peter's Basilica, a vast church and the symbolic center of Catholicism. Our guide will navigate this impressive space, visiting the major works by Michelangelo (the dome, La Pieta) and Bernini (the canopy), placing the church and its artworks in a social and historical context.
- This is a shared, small group (2-6 people) walking tour. Unless there are 6 people in your group, you may be touring with other travelers. If you would prefer a private tour, call ShoreTrips.
- Walks are held rain or shine, with some variations to accommodate the weather.
- For several reasons, this tour may run a bit longer than planned, and we recommend that you not schedule another activity immediately after this one. This can occur because Rome, in certain seasons, sees large numbers of visitors. In addition, because this tour is tailored to the interests of those taking it, as well as the scholar guide, the itinerary is not always exactly the same.
- Reserved entry tickets to all sites are included in the tour price.
- Important: Please be prompt, for if you miss the reservation time, you forfeit your tickets and will not be allowed entry into the museums.
- The Vatican has strict dress code requirements: no shorts of any kind are allowed. For women, knees and shoulders must be covered. For men, no shorts or cut-off trousers/pants and shoulders must be covered. Dress comfortably for the weather.
- Large bags and any sharp objects will need to be deposited at the entrance, forcing you to return at the end of the tour (about a 30-minute walk). It is best not to bring anything like this.
- Photography without flash is allowed inside the Vatican museums EXCEPT in the Sistine Chapel, where photography is forbidden. Photography with and without flash is allowed in St. Peter's Basilica.
- Please note that this tour is not available March 3, 11, 13, 19, and 30th; April 7th, 19th, 24th-25th, 30th; May 1st, 6th, 8th, 10th, 19th-21st, 31st; June 1st-4th, 28th-29th; July 21st-22nd, August 1st, 5th, 14th-16th; September 9th-11th, 20th-30th, October 4th, October 11th-13th, November 1st-2nd, 4th, December 1st, 2-10, 12th, 24th-26th, 31st.
- Please note that on the first Sunday of each month many tourist sites in Italy have free admission. This can often result in long lines. If you are staying at a hotel, it may be beneficial to avoid booking a tour involving inside visits to major attractions on these days. If you have questions, contact ShoreTrips.
- Modest dress is required in all Italian churches. If you expect to enter a church during your tour, please do not wear shorts, sleeveless tops, skirts above the knee, or revealing clothing. If preferred, you may wear a shawl to cover your shoulders. This applies to children as well.
- There is a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 6 for this tour.
- Minimum age is 12 years old.
- This tour is not suitable for clients with limited mobility.
- ShoreTrips and our partners do our best to ensure that every stop described is available for your visit. There are times when a site or building is closed at the last moment with little or no warning. We assume that those in charge make those decisions based on external information and for the visitors’ safety and we apologize when this causes inconvenience and disappointment.
Days offered: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday