Vatican tours?

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#2
Connecticut
6 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
We went last July. The Vatican offers a limited number of English guided tours each day at 10:30 a.m., noon and 2:00 p.m. You can arrange for it through the Vatican Website under "Info Museums", "Visitor Services", "Guided Tours" although it involves a fax process that in turn requires that you have a hotel fax in Rome to receive the confirmation which leaves things a little too up in the air for me. My wife and I were traveling with our two boys (ages 8 and 16) and wanted things to be as pre-arranged as possible. I booked it through "Italian Adventures" on the web at www.goporta.com. They charge a 5 euro a ticket service charge but it was worth it. They coordinated the whole process with the Vatican and we got our tour well ahead of our trip. The cost for the tour (last year) at the Vatican was 23.50 Euro for adults and 18.50 Euro for children. This is payable at the Vatican the day of the tour. Italian Adventures indicated that it would be the adult rate for each of us but the Vatican charged us the right rates when we got there.

So why do this....it was an extremely hot day and the lines were very long. People said that it took 2-1/2 to 3 hours to get in which would have killed us. We bypassed the entire line and went to the entrance where a guard had our names on a list and sent us right in. Tour was 2+ hours and was very good. Use the same approach at the Colosseum either through Italian Adventures or right on the web (as of this fall) from the Colosseum.
#3
Illinois
1,178 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Originally posted by rich8468
We went last July. The Vatican offers a limited number of English guided tours each day at 10:30 a.m., noon and 2:00 p.m. You can arrange for it through the Vatican Website under "Info Museums", "Visitor Services", "Guided Tours" although it involves a fax process that in turn requires that you have a hotel fax in Rome to receive the confirmation which leaves things a little too up in the air for me. My wife and I were traveling with our two boys (ages 8 and 16) and wanted things to be as pre-arranged as possible. I booked it through "Italian Adventures" on the web at www.goporta.com. They charge a 5 euro a ticket service charge but it was worth it. They coordinated the whole process with the Vatican and we got our tour well ahead of our trip. The cost for the tour (last year) at the Vatican was 23.50 Euro for adults and 18.50 Euro for children. This is payable at the Vatican the day of the tour. Italian Adventures indicated that it would be the adult rate for each of us but the Vatican charged us the right rates when we got there.

So why do this....it was an extremely hot day and the lines were very long. People said that it took 2-1/2 to 3 hours to get in which would have killed us. We bypassed the entire line and went to the entrance where a guard had our names on a list and sent us right in. Tour was 2+ hours and was very good. Use the same approach at the Colosseum either through Italian Adventures or right on the web (as of this fall) from the Colosseum.
Rich8468,
How many were in your group?
#4
Connecticut
6 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
There were 4 of us but the entire tour group at the Vatican was around 10-12. The tour guide provided by the Vatican was excellent. She used headsets. They also had a special waiting area with seating for us as the tour got organized. The tour focused on some key parts of the collection (ancient sculptures, Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel). The museum was very crowded so the headsets were really essential.
#5
58 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
I know there is a back door in the Sistene chapel that leads to a shortcut to St Peters.Did you have to go all the way back to the beginning of the museum to return the headsets or did the guide take them so you could use the shortcut?
Thanks, Karrie
#6
339 Posts
Joined May 2006
Originally posted by lovetocruise444
Is it best to do the Vatican with a tour guide or on your own?

I had this same question prior to our trip this past June. If there is one bit of excellent advice that I can give-it's book a tour for Vatican City. There were four of us and an english speaking driver picked us up at our apartment and drove us directly to Vatican City. There was a line wrapped around Vatican City to enter. We bypassed all lines and had an excellent tour.

Don't risk waiting in line for hours to possibly not get in.
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#7
444 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
If you have money to burn, you can arrange an after hours, two+ hours tour of the vatican museum. You will be all alone in there, maybe 25 people, four guides, four guards. Includes Sistine Chapel. Yes, bloody expensive, like $525 US pp. Still, something you won't forget. Reference is Helen Donegan, google or +349 4979416. Just a few days a month, apparently.
#8
108 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
In reading Rick Steves and many threads on CC, I'm still confused. if we set up a tour guide to get in at 8:15AM (does the tour guide go with us, or just get us in without lines?), tour the Vatican and Sistine Chapel (with specific guide books), don't take audio guides so we can take the short cut to St. Peter's B., where does the "Scavi tour" come into all of this? do we still need to fax request it?
Thanks for your anticipated help!
Mike
#9
Pennsylvania
484 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Hello Mike,

The Scavi tour is completely seperate from the Vatican tour of the museum, and of St. Peters. You have to email the excavations office at the Vatican to request a time for the Scavi tour. The tours are only 10-12 individuals and only at limited times, so you need to email as soon as possible. I emailed them in August for a tour in April 2008, and just heard back on Monday that we were in !! I hope to arrange the Vatican tour for 10:30am the same day, and make a full day of it.

Good luck and if you need the excavation office's email, put a note on here...it is also on the Vatican website, under excavations office.

Mike
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#10
Ottawa, On, Cda./Naples, Fl. USA
6,087 Posts
Joined May 2004
We had a wonderful tour which we booked through Tickitaly. The price was 78Euros for two of us. The Tour included the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. Tour started at 8:30 and finished around 11:30. Our guide Ms. Valentina is an art historian and her Mother worked on the restoration of the Sistine Chapel. Groups must use the "Whisper" headphones which worked very well. We would highly recommend this tour.
In addition, we booked our tickets for the Colosseum through Tickitaly for 32 Euros (for two of us). These tickets only provide admittance however we had no wait time at all! We just walked past everyone in line and went to the wicket indicated to us by Tickitaly. In August the line-ups were quite long so this was well worth the few extra Euros.
Kathy
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#11
108 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Hi Mike-
Thanks for the info. on the scavi tour. I e-mailed the other day. We'll see what happens. Do you think I should FAX too?
Should I wait for the response/time before trying to set up the Museum tour, etc.? We also need to "do it all in one day" on Saturday, as it's closed on Sunday and we'll do the ancient Rome area that day (just there fri & Sat). Do you feel it's necessary and an advantage to use a tour co., or are you just scheduled thru the Vatican?
Regards,
Mike
#12
near Stanford Univ-California
302 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Personally--I was glad we had booked a tour. There is soooo much to see there--and if you really don't know what you are looking at, who did the art work, I think it can be confusing.

We used Odyssey Tours. We had a GREAT guide. Eva. A petite Irish woman who was amazingly knowledgeable about the wonderous works of art in the Vatican.
The tour was to be only a little over two hours, but she kept with us for 4 hours.
She even went in search of my husband who walked out the wrong exit door from The Sistine Chapel in error. She was so worried he wouldn't find us again.

There were only 8 people on our tour--and that made the group manageable--and very easy to hear her. The tour wasn't expensive--only 40 E pp, plus the price to get into the Vatican. We tipped her well, as we thought she was a great guide.
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#13
108 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
We just rec'd notice that we got our Scavi tour rez! 9:15 AM on 7/12/08. Thanks for your help! I think we need to allow 2 hrs. for that? Is that right? According to Rick Steves' Rome, on Sat. the Vatican Museum Tour closes at 1:45PM!? With Vatican guide tours at 10:30 and 12:00. So, should we 1) reserve the 12:00PM Vatican guide tour?, 2) book an outside tour co.?, or 3) do it oruselves with the Rick Steves (or other) guide book?
Any input from experienced Vatican tourist would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Mike
#14
108 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
I found out that the Scavi tour goes later on Saturdays than does the Vatican Museum tour!? So, we were able to get our 9:15AM Scavi rez changed to 1:45PM. Therefore, i think we'll try for the 10:30AM Vatican Tour. Maybe a quick lunch between the two? As this is our first time, any input from experienced folks would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Mike
#15
Turlock, CA
139 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
I want to do it on my own. Found this audio tour to play on our own MP3 players. I have read great reviews on the "sister" tour. Has anyone done this?

http://www.artineraries.com/


As fat as getting your own tickets and avoiding hte lines, you can do this on your own, without a tour group. It appears they do this in other Italy stops as well. Has anyone used them?

http://www.viator.com/Rome/d511/vatican-tours

Jim
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#16
108 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
As mentioned above, we have Scavi tix for 1:45PM. We would like to tour the Vatican Museum et al in the morning. We faxed for tix there too; but, were told that we would need to "wait until 30 days prior to visit". We'd like to tour it on our own; but, we don't want to stand in lines. Any thoughts from the experienced travelers out there? Should we take a chance and wait on getting tix from the Vatican within 30 days? Or, should we go with another "service" and will that guarantee us entrance and no lines!?
Thanks in advance for your input.
Mike
#17
Corpus Christi Texas
9,535 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
I completely agree with the above posters - GET A GUIDE.

We hired a private guide for the two of us..... 1 guide - 2 people. It was 90 euros per person but worth every penny. We used Angel Tours of Rome and had Eileen as our guide. She is from Ireland and has an Art History degree among others. She knew soooo many things not in the books or anywhere else. She answered a gazillion questions for me and made this tour informative and fun.

She also went with us to lunch at a pizzeria she knew and then taxied with us to the Coliseum/Forum/Palantine Hill for a tour there. Again, another 90 euros per person. Again.....worth every penny.

We only had the one day to really sightsee - even tho we stayed 2 nights precruise (got in late one night and day after headed to port to board ship) so I wanted to squeeze out as much as I could. We did not stand in line.....she knew where the "shortcuts" were etc.... We did walk around alot on our own (Spanish steps, Trevi fountain etc.).

I hope to get back to Rome someday.....but if I don't I know I saw as much as I could in one day while I was there.
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#18
14 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
We used Angel tours and was very happy with the tour. Eileen was our guide. We were in a group of about 15 people. Best of all the price of only 25 euros per person included the vatican tickets and the tour.
#19
Ontario, Canada
7,598 Posts
Joined Oct 2004
Originally posted by Candymanjim
I want to do it on my own. Found this audio tour to play on our own MP3 players. I have read great reviews on the "sister" tour. Has anyone done this?

http://www.artineraries.com/

It sounds interesting....but with the museum having over 1400 rooms, and shoulder to shoulder visitors, I think you would need a good sense of direction and a lot of time! Sticking close to a guide and seeing the highlights in a couple of hours works well.
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