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Vatican Tours by the Vatican or by other private tour companies?

Vatican Tours by the Vatican or by other private tour companies?

Oct 17th, 2007, 02:16 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 143
Vatican Tours by the Vatican or by other private tour companies?

We will be in Rome Nov. 4, 5 and 6 days (I know, not enough!) so I am trying to schedule a few "must sees" on our list.

We do want to see the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Can anyone tell me the advantages and disadvantages of taking the official Vatican Tour (you send a fax to the Vatican and they confirm your tour time and it costs 23.50 euros for a 2 hour tour) or signing up for any one of the number of private tour companies that have 2 to 5 hour (?!?!) tours at slightly higher costs?

I guess I am willing to spend a few hours for this first visit and have time to see St. Peter's afterwards rather than allocating the better part of a full day to just the Vatican. Money is not a concern, but time is.

Which tours will permit the easiest access and least amount of waiting in line? I know that it will be crowded no matter what but I don't want to spend extra for a guided tour (Vatican or private) and still have to wait forever in another line.

Thank you in advance for any insight here.

Maria is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 05:14 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 45

A good affordable option, in my opinion, would be walking tour through Enjoy Rome (www.enjoyrome.com). I have used them for a couple of tours while in Rome and they provide a good service.
jjrod is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 06:04 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Since the Vatican museum is closed Nov. 4 and starts winter hours on Nov. 5, you will have less selection. The only tour they offer is at 10:30. If you are a morning person, tour St. Peter's first and then go to the 10:30 tour. When the tour is finished at 12:30, grab some lunch in the Vatican cafeteria before you exit (food is actually decent) and you have the rest of the day for other sightseeing.
kybourbon is online now  
Oct 17th, 2007, 06:43 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
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If you take the Vatican's tour, you get to skip waiting in line and go straight in. FYI, we did not get our confirmation from the Vatican until the Sunday before our Monday tour, so you may want to have your confirmation sent to your hotel. More recently I think others have reported getting their confirmation in a more timely manner, but that was our experience last year.
Ninkette is offline  
Oct 17th, 2007, 08:44 AM
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I recently made reservations for an official tour via email (to [email protected]). I sent the information on Friday evening (EDT) and had a confirmation waiting in my email Sat morning. It was quite easy and efficient. (I did give a reply fax number in case it was needed.)

sanschag is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 01:38 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Thank you for your suggestions! I did get scheduled a 10:30 a.m. tour with the Vatican on Nov. 6th and have already received my confirmation fax. I especially like the suggestion to do St. Peter's BEFORE the Vatican and then we will have the entire afternoon available as well.

I will be sure and post a trip report and evaluate the Vatican tour but I won't have another tour company to compare it to.

Again, many thanks!

Maria is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 01:45 PM
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hi, maria,

just a word of warning. Do not reckon on doing too much after seeing st. Peter's and the Vatican. we found them pretty exhausting. there is a lot of walking in the vatican. [especially if you have a daughter who wants to see the egyptian mummies so you end up going round part of it twice - you probably won't make that mistake].

it is not the day to be breaking in your new shoes.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Oct 18th, 2007, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Yes definately lots of walking - I used this great company - www.througheternity.com. They were great and the tour guides are usually either North American or British so can give you a real insight into Roman life from an ex-pat's point of view.
bunnyette is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 03:27 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 143

How far in advance can you book the
official tour with the Vatican?

welig12 is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 04:17 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,117
On one of our days, want to tour St. Peters only. I can only find info on the museums.

Please tell me about touring the church. Is there a line? Do you pay to enter? Are there "guides" available just for the church?

JeanneB is offline  
Oct 19th, 2007, 05:08 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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There is a line for security purposes.

No, you do *not* pay to enter St. Peter's. There is a fee for the Treasury or for the elevator to the roof.

It has been reported that there are students and seminarians who offer ad-hoc guided tours for free. A tip is said to be expected.
Zerlina is offline  
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