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Last minute Vatican Museum Sistine Chapel tour help

Last minute Vatican Museum Sistine Chapel tour help

Apr 4th, 2006, 10:16 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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Last minute Vatican Museum Sistine Chapel tour help

We are beginning to see the folly of our procrastination about booking a tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel (only.)

We will be in Rome from Friday afternoon, 4/14 until Wednesday morning 4/19. We have only Saturday 4/13 afternoon and all day Tuesday 4/18 available, as the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel are closed for Easter on Sunday and Monday, and we are booked otherwise. We will be taking Fodorite malanh’s free tour of St. Peters Sat. am – so we will already be there for Sat. afternoon.

We have not been able to find a tour that we can book on this short notice. Reservations directly with the Vatican require a 2 week advance booking.

Any advice on what tour we can actually book given that we are only ten days away? (Again, for VM and SC only.)

I understand that one can sometimes join a tour right before they begin, but this seems unlikely given that it is Easter week.

Otherwise, we will attempt to go it alone and advice on that approach would also be appreciated.

In the meanwhile – thanks to all Fodorites for your posts – we are soooo looking forward to our first ever trip to Italy (2 weeks: Rome, Tuscany, Cinque Terre and Venice) which we started planning late last year knowing very little about what to do and how to do it. You folks are awesome!

Jagremere
jagremere is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 10:25 AM
  #2  
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oops - that's Saturday 4/15 (not 4/13)
jagremere is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 10:37 AM
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Buonasera jagremere,
Check www.througheternity.com.
We're doing a tour with them in June.
Genie is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 12:49 PM
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Check out Icon Tours. I believe their site is still www.icontours.com
motor_city_girl is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 07:17 PM
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We are touring St Peters & The Vatican with Daniella Hunt http://www.rome-tours.com/ on 4/20.

Maybe she is available on your dates.

Donna
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Apr 4th, 2006, 07:19 PM
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We took an Enjoy Rome tour of the Vatican and St. Peter's last year and I cannot recommend it.
kswl is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 07:33 PM
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I know you said you didn't want to wait till you get there, but we hung out near the fountain in St. Peter's Square for about 3 min. before being approached by an English-speaking young lady. She offered us a very inexpensive tour w/a former priest who was an art history major--Irish fellow. Delightful. That was in the morning then we gladly accepted their offer for more in-depth afternoon tour, meeting him again after lunch. Don't know why that option might not be avalailable year round--seemed to be a lot of these impromptu tours forming. FYI--Also did the same thing at the Colosseum, bypassing everyone else in line. I tend to overplan sightseeing and was so glad we didn't book these two things ahead of time because the guides were fabulous (plus you get to spend a little time w/them before committing to a full tour). Enjoy!
patth is offline  
Apr 4th, 2006, 07:39 PM
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Do tours let you skip the line to the Vatican Museum?
Catbert is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 04:17 AM
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You will find plenty of sales reps for tours approaching people outside. I don't think Easter will make much difference.

We did a tour and found it incredibly useful - yes we did get to go straight in instead of queuing - and as the Vatican is so massive it helped us focus on a few areas properly. At the end of the tour (in the Sistine chapel) you had the option of either leaving or going through a different exit back into the rest of the Vatican. So we went back in and wandered round by ourselves, best of both worlds.
nona1 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 04:31 AM
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I never understand why people think they need to take a tour. Get a good guidebook and go round on your own. The Vatican Museums (which includes the Sistine Chapel) are *huge* : a tour guide is not going to have the same feeling as you about which bits you want to linger over & which bits you're happy to walk past.

If you time it right there need not be a queue - we walked straight in, arriving around noon.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 12:16 PM
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Thank you all for your very helpful suggestions!
We have continued to look and given our timing and preferences, we will likely just go on Sat afternoon after our St. Peters tour, since we will be there and do it unguided, save for our tour books. I have read that early afternoons can be the best time to avoid lines, although I am not certain that would be applicable to Easter Saturday. If that doesn't work we always have Tuesday to go back for an impromptu tour, as mentioned.
jagremere is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 01:25 PM
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We got to the Vatican Museum at about 10:15 on a Monday and found a HUGE line (that was still there at noon and later). We were approached by a woman who offered us a tour bypassing the line that would go in at 10:30. It was worth every penny. We would have been in that line for at least 2 hours and instead we were in the Museum with a lovely young lady who was extremely knowledgeable. I think the only way to avoid lines is to get there at 6am!
jcasale is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 09:10 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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The only way to tour the Vatican is with a professional guide. We used the following guide last October and were extremely pleased with our private tour. Oftentimes we found ourselves alone in a private area. We skipped the long, long line. It was well worth the money. Fabrizio Petrangeli, telephone number is 39.328.8276828 and his website is www.ladolcevitaturs.com.
stevencampbell51 is offline  
Apr 5th, 2006, 09:12 PM
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I'm sorry...that website is www.ladolcevitatours.com
stevencampbell51 is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 03:11 AM
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I would absolutely hire a private guide. We used initaly http://www.initaly.com/regions/artists/vatican.htm and had a wonderful experience. It was expensive, but as far as I'm concerned, money well spent.
They will pick you up at your hotel and gear the tour as you wish.
Ralstonlan is offline  
Apr 6th, 2006, 01:27 PM
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Have you contacted the concierge of the hotel in Rome that you are staying at? Maybe, they could arrange your tour with the Vatican directly.

I was at the Vatican Museum just a year and a half ago. All we did was go in the afternoon, at 11:30 a.m. There was no line, and we purchased a tour of the museum with our ticket. Apparently, this tour now has to be reserved ahead of time.

If you are going to book a private tour, I really enjoyed the tours that we took with ContextRome. Their website is: www.contextrome.com. They have private itineraries where I think that they could arrange a private after hours visit of the Sistine Chapel. They are expensive, but they have excellent guides, like art history professors and archeologists. I took their tour of the Borghese Gallery and tour of Ancient Rome, and I was very satisfied with the quality of the tour.
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