Vatican Tours

Apr 24th, 2006, 03:15 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 38
Vatican Tours

I know this subject has been addressed in other postings, but I guess I'm a little dense and just need some more definitive answers. I know there are private tours (like John Boyden and Context Rome) and then there are tours that you can arrange by faxing to the Vatican. What I need to know is:

1. If you book a tour with Context Rome can you by-pass any Vatican line? Their website indicates that you DO NOT.

2. Is the Vatican's tour easy to arrange? It looked like some of the postings had a hard time with the faxing process and hearing back. And if you book with the Vatican do you by-pass any line?

3. Has anyone done a tour where you spent some time at St. Peter's and then some time at the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel. I have two kids and don't know if they would last in the 4 hour Context Rome Arte Vaticana tour. Would probably prefer to have 4 hours total. This is probably not doing justice to the Vatican, but have to work within limits of travelling with children.

Any other suggestions of how to visit these two sites this efficiently (not waiting in a long line)and effectively (not wandering around lost on our own) are greatly appreciated.

Grazie! ("Conversational Italian in 7 Days" -- not going well)
kebwcb is offline  
Apr 24th, 2006, 07:03 PM
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Well, I just returned from Rome and there were no lines for either the Vatican museums or St. Peter's when we arrived at 2:45 PM on a Monday. I don't know if kids would appreciate a tour of any length, really, but I'm quite sure Context Rome's would be too long and too in-depth for them.

The only organized tour I've ever taken at the Vatican was the Scavi tour, which was 45 minutes long and I was bored for about half of it. The kids I saw on the tour (ages 10-14 maybe) looked incredibly bored. So only you know whether or not your kids could stand a long tour. I'm not familiar with any other tours the Vatican itself gives.

I toured the Roman Forum and Colosseum with Rome Walks (.com) and they were spectacular; I'm not sure if they do the Vatican.

Tour or no tour, I'm sure you'll be able to appreciate the incredible beauty of it all. And make sure you spend lazy time hanging out at Piazza Navona - the kids will ove that!
Postal is offline  
Apr 24th, 2006, 07:08 PM
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kebwcb-I've done the Arte Vaticana tour twice.The four hours includes time in both the Vatican Museums(including Sistine Chapel,of course,) and time in St. Peters and the piazza. They usually arrange it to begin in the morning,so you begin in line before opening time,but just for a short while.You go directly from the museum into the Basilica without having to wait in another line.The four hours go by quite quickly,and depending on your kids they may love it!
massagediva is offline  
Apr 24th, 2006, 07:29 PM
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We did a private tour with Context Rome last March to the Vatican with our kids (ages 9 and 12 at the time). The private tour is does not cost that much more than the regular tour when you are paying for 4 people. My kids enjoyed it. We actually did the Vatican and Castle St. Angelo, we talked about St. Peter's during lunch, and then we went through it on our own.

We did the private tour to allow more flexibility with the kids, which was a good idea. We met our guide at a coffee shop in front of the Vatican at 8am, so there was a line starting, but it wasn't too long. (But, no, Context Rome's tour does not bypass the line).
jgg is offline  
Apr 24th, 2006, 10:57 PM
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We did a tour of the Forum with Daniella Hunt at Mirabilis Urbis Tours and enjoyed it. She also offers a tour of the Vatican and St. Peter's.

It is my understanding that all but the official Vatican tour guides must wait in line. Go before it opens and it will not be too bad a wait. Or reserve the official tour -- you avoid the line by going to the guard by the exit and explaining you have a guided tour. He will direct you.

Note -- there can be a wait outside St. Peter's because of the security checkpoints, which are new in the last several years.

Official link to Vatican (with guided tours)

link to Mirabilis that I mentioned

5alive is offline  
Apr 25th, 2006, 04:18 AM
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Thanks to all for the great info!
kebwcb is offline  
Apr 25th, 2006, 05:13 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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We and our 13 & 16 yr old sons also did the Vatican with Daniella Hunt last week.

She kept it at the right pace and speed for us.

We met early in the morning so the line was not an issue, we got in fairly quickly.

We did St Peters on our own due to some scheduling problems on our end.


donnapg is offline  
Apr 25th, 2006, 05:56 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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An alternative is to rent the audio tours at the Vatican. This allows you to move at your own pace. If you arrive at noon ,you will have little or no lines.
Outside St. Peter's (right after security),you'll see young students that offer free (tips expected) 45 minute tours of the church that are quite good.
jabez is offline  
Apr 25th, 2006, 06:42 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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kebwcb, we, too did a Context Rome tour with 6 of us, plus a 20-month old. The private tour is little more than 4 on the regular tour would be, and you have more flexibility with the kids. There are appropriate break times for the kids and the guide was cognizant of the kid's needs.

You do not get to skip the line. The way we handled it was everyone waited in line with the guide, who chatted about what to expect, specific items, Rome in general (so I'm told), and I waited with my son who chased pigeons, picked up tidbits from the sidewalk, etc. (things 20-month old kids do) and waited near the door. The guide explained to the guard and to the people immediately behind the group that I was waiting with a little one and would be joining the group at the door - that way we avoided the waiting in line issue. The line did move quickly (15 minutes, tops?). If you have more questions about Context Rome, I am sure that if you e-mail them in advance they will be happy to respond - they were extemely helpful to us. H

ow old are the kids?
cantstayhome is offline  
Apr 25th, 2006, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Hi Jabez, How much is a good tip for one of these students? Also, love the name, is that for prayer of Jabez?
peppermintpatti is offline  
Apr 25th, 2006, 08:05 AM
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Kids turn 10 and 13 on the trip. I did e-mail Context Rome for info so we'll see what they say. Thanks for the info!
kebwcb is offline  
Apr 25th, 2006, 10:12 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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With 4 of you,I'd probably give him 10-20euro depending if he/she is good.
The group will probably be around 15 people, Some will not tip at all. They are generally very informed young people.
Good catch on the name. as a moderator at Flyer Talk and some 2,000posts, another 450 posts at Slow Talk and many more here,you are the second to acknowledge that they knew the name.
One of my very good friends wrote the book. I actually started using this name before the book came out because Bruce (the author) had a great message he used to teach that really touched me.
Have fun planning your trip.
jabez is offline  

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