Small Group Tour of the Vatican Museums, Garden & Castel Gandolfo
An official Vatican service, this is the most comprehensive Vatican City tour available, covering more Vatican-owned ground than any other tour
DURATION: UP TO 10-HOURS
On this extensive small group tour you will enter the Vatican Museums a full hour before doors open to the general public. With an audio guide to teach you about the artworks before you, your chaperone will help you find the best route around the Vatican Museums. Pass through the best areas including the Raphael Rooms and Sistine Chapel, before meeting your chaperone for the next section of your tour.
After the Vatican Museums you’ll reconvene outside for a Vatican gardens tour. During your stroll through the gardens you’ll have another audio guide to bring the grounds to life. Hear how plants here were gifted to successive Popes by world leaders from almost every country. Learn which areas were most popular with which Popes, and see where the retired Pope Benedict XVI (Cardinal Ratzinger) has found a permanent residence. Unbeknownst to many visitors, the Vatican Gardens are also the best spot from where to get a full view of the whole state – making this somewhat of a Vatican City tour.
With your chaperone you'll go to the train station within the Vatican City (did you know the Vatican has its own train station?) Your destination is just a short hop away at Castel Gandolfo – for centuries the home of the Pope’s summer residence. It’s not hard to see why. Surrounded by mountains and perched on the edge of a lake, Castel Gandolfo is incredibly picturesque.
Your tour takes you to Villa Barberini (the papal villas), where you’ll explore the villa gardens by electric train. Built on the remains of Emperor Domitian’s palace, the gardens are as historically significant as they are beautiful. This is a privileged visit too, since Pope Francis only recently opened access to the public, who are allowed to visit independently at a single entry time on Sunday or by organized tour only.
After a busy morning it's time for a break. You'll have a full two hours for lunch (and maybe a glass of wine...). Although not included in the price and itinerary of your tour, your chaperone will give you tips on the best places in town to eat before leaving you to enjoy.
After lunch reconvene with your chaperone to visit the Apostolic Palace - the actual summer home of the Pope. Walking through its corridors you'll see walls filled with portraits of the Popes who lived and summered here, and get an insight into how the papacy has changed over the centuries. Displays include some strange traditional costumes worn by Popes long past. You'll have a full hour inside the Apostolic Palace with an audio guide before your chaperone helps you find your way back to the train station and on to Rome, where you'll be dropped at Roma San Pietro Station, ending the tour.
||1 Mar to 31 Oct
|Days of Operation:
|Tour Start Time:
||Vatican Museum Entrance
Includes: English-speaking Chaperone for 10-hours, Vatican Audio guides at the sites, Entrance to the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel & Gardens, Train ride and entrance to Castel Gandolfo
Excludes: Gratuity, Transportation to/from the Vatican (transfers can be arranged for additional cost), Lunch
- This is a scheduled small group tour, available on a request basis.