The Vatican, Basilica of St. Peter and the Sistine Chapel are among the most sought after locations when visiting Rome. The religious complex is vast and contains many of the most impressive and famous frescoes and artifacts in the world. To go along with this majesty is a 2-5 hour wait outside the museum.
While the wait might simply be part of the price of admission, there is a way to not only gain entrance a bit earlier than the crowds, but learn more about the wonders of the Sistine Chapel and the Basilica as well. A private tour might be the best option for those who truly want to see and understand the historical images and beauty that is almost overwhelming in these holy locations.
Educated and well versed tour guides are available who specialize in the works of art and history of this large and impressive area. When you arrange a private tour, you will select a three or four hour block of time for a guide to lead you through the Sistine Chapel, the Basilica of St. Peter, the Vatican Museums and Michelangelo’s Pietà. The longer tour also includes the crypt of St. Peter’s Basilica and the popes’ tombs, as well as the Vatican cemetery.
Your tour will begin with travel accommodation arranged on your behalf to meet your tour guide. Tickets to the museum have been prearranged and you’ll be given priority entrance rather than having to wait in the long line. Your guide will lead you through the wonders of the museum and be available to expand on descriptions of certain items as well as give you the background of pieces you normally simply admire as you walk past.
The tour will be customized to your personal needs and tastes and will offer you more than simply seeing the sights on your own. Of course some items on the tour, such as the cemetery which is not normally open to the public might not be available should there be visiting dignitaries, but the guides guarantee the full length of the tour. For the smallest crowds, avoid Wednesday and Saturday tours and schedule your guide for the afternoon. Also remember to dress conservatively with shoulders and knees covered.
Tours are arranged by various organizations, often associated with the American Society of Travel Agents. The private tours range in cost with a three-hour tour for 1-2 individuals at 250 Euro and a four-hour tour for up to fifteen individuals topping out at 543 Euro. The cost of tickets to the Vatican Museums is also generally not included in the price of the tour itself.