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SpeedySinghs1 Apr 9th, 2012 12:09 PM

Vatican- Guided Tour: worth it or not? which one?
Hi All,

We will be in Rome end of the month and wanted to check if guided tour for vatican will be worth it or not?

Am having second thoughts as have read some tripadvisor reviews saying not worth it as mueseums too crowded to make sense of what tour guides are saying anyway.

Want some insightful recommendations on whether to take a guided tour or not? we are a couple so will participate in a group tour (if at all).

Please advise:
1) Guided Tour- Yes or No
2) If yes, which one would you recommend?
3) Whats the typical cost and does it include the entry ticket to vatican + mueseums?



adrienne Apr 9th, 2012 12:15 PM

I've done two Vatican museum tours with Enjoy Rome and Context. The Context tour was superior but I went when their prices were reasonable. I don't think I would pay for their tours now as their prices are beyond my budget. I believe the cost of the museum entrance was additional on both tours. The Vatican is the museums which also includes the Sistine Chapel. The gardens and St Peter's Basilica are separate.

There is no typical cost. There are lots of companies giving tours and the prices vary widely. You'll have to check the web sites for pricing.

I would recommend taking tours of both the museums and St Peters. Sometimes you can find free tours in front of St Peters.

latedaytraveler Apr 9th, 2012 01:45 PM


Many years ago we took an American Express tour - their office was at the bottom of the Spanish Steps. Our guide was an older gentleman, very distinguished and knowledgeable. He escorted us through the streets and into St. Peter’s where he led us gradually through the basilica. I recall we started at the Pieta.

The structure is overwhelming so I appreciated his guidance. He then took us around to the Vatican Museum (we bypassed much of the line if I remember) and finally through the Sistine Chapel.

Be prepared for the crowds. We went on a Tuesday morning in February and the place was thronged.

The price was reasonable and worth it at the time. Enjoy Rome…

outwest Apr 9th, 2012 01:49 PM

Personally, I wouldn't take a tour. We were told that it was 'a must' to do a tour on our visit in 2007. We used Rome Walks and the price was 45 E per person plus entry—with the exchange at the time that was a lot of money. Our guide was nice enough but didn't have a lot more information than what I knew already (I'd done a fair amount of reading).

My biggest disappointment was that we saw St Peters first and then went to the Vatican museum—our guide didn't realize that it was an early closing day (I did, but I'm waspy and felt she must know something I didn't know—big mistake—I still kick myself for not saying something.) We scarcely had a chance to see anything in the museum before the guards started herding us out.

If I ever go back I'll definitely do it on my own.

Amyla11 Apr 9th, 2012 06:46 PM

I will be going to the Vatican in May and booked a tour through Walks of Italy. The tour is 3.5 hours long and includes St. Peter's. They offer an 8am tour that lets you in the museum an hour before the general public and the tour size limit is 12. I can't comment on how good it is since I haven't gone yet but thought you might like to know of other options.

Amyla11 Apr 9th, 2012 06:57 PM

I apologize. The tour is not through Walks of Italy (that was the colosseum tour I booked), the Vatican Museums tour is through Presto Tours and costs 55 Euros, max size is 16 and begins at 8am, 1 hour before it opens to the general public.

TinaLee204 Apr 10th, 2012 03:58 AM

We did a tour of the Vatican Museum with a guide and regretted it. Quite a bit of the information offered was things I already knew, a history of the Catholic religion, of the building of the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, etc. And because so much time was taken up on the "educational" part of the tour, I never got to see parts of the museum that I personally would have loved to see, for example the pinacoteca - I missed all of that fabulous art work. The Sistine Chapel was jam packed, with no one paying attention to the poor guards requesting quiet and no photos, and was nothing like the experience I had hoped for. Our guide couldn't even speak to us in there, it was just too noisy, then she led us into St. Peter's and that was the end of the tour. We did pay admission, including the admission for the guide, plus the guide's fee, and I feel I could have spent my money and my time much better than we did. I'm going back on my own the next time!

kybourbon Apr 10th, 2012 10:11 AM

Amyla11 - Let us know if you actually get in the museum and start touring at 8 am or if this is just the time the group meets. AFAIK, the Vatican did away with tour groups entering at 8 last year, but perhaps this had changed.

>>>As an officially recognized partner of the Vatican Museums, Presto Tours and our guests are privy to the Vatican Museums special VIP entrance and will skip the long lines.<<<

Anyone buying an advance purchase entry ticket from the Vatican (15€) skips the lines and uses this entrance along with all other tour companies. As you can see on the Vatican website.

Pat_in_Mich Apr 10th, 2012 12:25 PM

We used Walks Of Italy, the tour was called Pristine Sistine. It cost 89 euros per person and I felt that it was well worth it. They limit their group sizes to 12 and we went last month and got lucky, DH and I were the only ones on the tour. We DID get in at 8 am and they took us immediately to the Sistine Chapel. I think there were about 20 people total in there while we were there, including the guards. When we went through there again towards the end of our tour it was packed. Our tour was 3.5 hours long and it was excellent, we learned a lot. I highly recommend them.

bxl4373 Apr 10th, 2012 01:24 PM

I noticed that beginning in May on Fridays they will be offering Vatican night hours. Is there any benefit to going in the evening? I'm not sure if this would be a guided tour or on your own.

rajshiv Apr 17th, 2012 03:14 AM

Hi speedy...I love your name...missed out on the movie...

We felt that reading a bit about the Vatican, Michelangelo and the Roman history in general greatly enhanced our experience of what we were seeing and what it meant. I would really recommend that. Agony and ecstasy is a great book to start with.

If you are not much into reading then there are quite a few documentaries and movies that you could watch.

I would still say take the tour...we went with Through Eternity and didn't find it great. I felt they were saying most things that I already knew about and weren't adding too much value. I think a better tour with more details would have been better for us. However I would still say that a tour definitely helps things in perspective.

If you are planning to visit Colosseum/ forum etc. then I would say that a good tour there is an absolute must...especially for the forum.

We also did a walking tour in Florence which we thought was great. I am really sorry I don't remember the name of the tour company...but there are quite a few recommendations...both here and on tripadvisor.

There is this great gelato place in Rome- Frigidarium...near Piazza Navona...

Italy is absolutely would love it and I am sure would have a great time there

kybourbon Apr 17th, 2012 06:22 AM

>>I noticed that beginning in May on Fridays they will be offering Vatican night hours. Is there any benefit to going in the evening? I'm not sure if this would be a guided tour or on your own.<<<

You can choose whether you want their tour or entrance only.

WillEdkins79 Jan 11th, 2016 02:37 AM

Hey Speedy,

1) Guided tour> Yes! Would recommend taking a guide as they know how to skip the queues and get you into exclusive access areas which you might otherwise miss.

2) Last summer we made a private vatican tour with a company called the Roman Guy which was definitely worth doing. They took us round the Vatican museums as well as the sistine chapel and got to see St Peters basicalla which was stunning.

3) The price was reasonable and the tour guide super friendly. Cost of all the tickets was included in the upfront price and we included pick up and transfer from our hotel.

Best of luck with your trip.

Whathello Jan 11th, 2016 03:29 AM

We don't like tours. We hardly ever take them, and each time we do we regret it. So we did on our own.

StCirq Jan 11th, 2016 03:37 AM

This thread is almost 3 years old.

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