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La Pieta

La Pieta: Our most recommended tours and activities

Vatican Breakfast: Sistine Chapel & St Peter’s Basilica Tour

1. Vatican Breakfast: Sistine Chapel & St Peter’s Basilica Tour

 Have the Vatican to yourself on this exclusive early morning tour that whisks you through closed doors for a buffet breakfast in the peaceful Pinecone Courtyard, before anyone else enters the museums. Feast on an Italian-American breakfast buffet of cooked-to-order eggs, meats, cheeses, muffins, croissants, fresh fruits, cereals, and pancakes made by the Vatican's pancake chef. Dine in the Pinecone Courtyard, alongside one of the Vatican Museums' most beautiful works of modern art, and experience tranquility rarely seen by Vatican visitors. Follow your guide to explore the Vatican Museums. With only 13 people per group, take the time and space to appreciate the art. See rooms such as the Hall of Maps, Gallery of the Tapestries, and the Gallery of the Candelabra. Your guide will bring works of art to life, pointing out things you would have missed on your own. Continue to the legendary Sistine Chapel. Then, skip the ticket lines to enter St. Peter’s Basilica. See the altar and marvel at Michelangelo’s La Pietà sculpture.

Vatican: Papal Audience and St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

2. Vatican: Papal Audience and St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

See the Pope himself during the papal audience ceremony and enjoy a guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica. Meet the staff with an orange umbrella at the meeting point: the staff which will help you with your reservation. Join the Papal Audience (free entrance) after the security check. Then watch the Pope make his way to the stage and join the weekly gathering which includes prayers, blessings, and a homily. After the audience, enjoy a guided tour of the iconic Basilica of St. Peter. As you tour the Renaissance-style church, with its famous dome and unrivaled architecture, see masterpieces like Michelangelo's Pietà and Bernini's Baldacchino. To get a complete experience, select the option with the Vatican Gardens and enjoy insightful commentary on an open bus.

Semi-Private Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St Peter Guided Tour

3. Semi-Private Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St Peter Guided Tour

Avoid the rush and spend the morning exploring the Vatican City before the crowds arrive! With exclusive skip-the-ticket-line access, you'll go inside the Sistine Chapel and Upper Galleries of the Vatican Museums with your group. With over 2,000 rooms, it’s impossible to see the entire collection of the Vatican. But your tour will take a carefully planned route to see the highlights of the 9 miles of galleries. Marvel at the Pinecone Courtyard and Hall of Maps, before going into the Gallery of Tapestries and Gallery of Candelabras. Your guide will bring the art to life, pointing out things you never would have noticed on your own. A highlight of the tour comes when you go to the Sistine Chapel. Guided tours are not permitted within the chapel so, with the aid of photographs, your guide will fill you in on details before. Admire Michelangelo’s boneless self-portrait, in which he expressed to the world that he would rather be skinned alive than paint the Sistine Chapel again! Exit by a special access door that leads straight into St. Peter’s Basilica. See the incredible altar and Michelangelo’s beautiful La Pietà, before ending outside on St. Peter’s Square.

Private Early Morning Sistine Chapel Tour

4. Private Early Morning Sistine Chapel Tour

Enjoy the Sistine Chapel as Popes and princes did: early in the morning. This private tour offers the perfect environment to explore the Sistine Chapel and other works of incomparable beauty in the Vatican Museums. Your personal guide will help you visualize the cultural context in which such works arose, immersing you in the climate of the Renaissance. This exclusive Vatican private tour will take you to discover this season of human history when the flowering of the arts was accompanied by the evolution of science, together laying the foundations for much of our modern world. This was a period of overwhelming enthusiasm and of amazing innovation. The men of the Renaissance didn't merely dream of changing the world, they  revolutionised it. The printing press, the geographic maps with which Columbus reached the Americas, modern science, architecture, art, and the modern sense of beauty were all creations of the Italian Renaissance.  Some of the the most important works that you will discover, such as timeless Greek masterpieces like the Laocoon, the Belvedere Torso and the Apollo Belvedere, were excavated at the time of Michelangelo and Raphael, who studied and admired them in the same architectural context in which they are preserved today. The artworks that they created are the fruit of their careful study. And so you too will pass through the Pinecone courtyard, the Belvedere courtyard and the tapestry galleries on your Vatican private tour, discovering a selection of masterpieces with a guide capable of recreating the climate of the epoch, helping you to appreciate the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel in their historical context. Please note, the Basilica of St.Peter's may be subject to unscheduled closings and late openings for religious ceremonies. Because these are often last-minute for security reasons, guests will not be notified in advance. Instead, you will be provided with a complete experience by exploring the Vatican Museums in more detail.

Vatican Small Group Morning Tour with Secret Room Access

5. Vatican Small Group Morning Tour with Secret Room Access

Meet your guide in front of Caffé Vaticano, just outside the Vatican Museums, and join a small group of no more than 6 people. In this intimate group, you can easily make your way through the museums and experience the sites and artifacts up-close. With the personalized attention of your guide, you are free to engage and ask all the questions you like. Thanks to a new partnership in 2022, you can enjoy first entry into the Museums, reserved by only a handful of other tour operators. This special entry and tour are designed to guarantee you access and viewing of the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel 30 minutes before other operators and 1 hour before the general public. In the quiet of the morning, walk through and enjoy the Pinecone Courtyard and the Museo Clementino. Then make your way to the secret room – the Cabinet of the Masks, not open to the general public and only available on this tour. Beyond the velvet ropes, view the spectacular mosaic floors carefully brought over from Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli, and view stunning depictions of Aphrodite and Nympha in various sculptures. Follow your guide through the Hall of Animals, Gallery of Statues, and Hall of Busts which also display masterpieces unseen to the public. With your expert guide, make your way along the Vatican Museums and stop in front of the breathtaking Belvedere Torso and take photos from only a few feet away. Walk through the Gallery of Tapestries where you can see the work of Raphael’s students, and continue through the Gallery of Maps which fill the entire hall leading up to the highlight of the tour – Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Before entering, your guide will give you all the information you will need to know to truly appreciate this masterpiece. Your guide will then lead you into the chapel where you will have plenty of time to enjoy and study this beautiful work of art. The final stop of the tour will be the beautiful Basilica of St Peter’s, where you can admire the stunning architecture that is adorned by infamous art, such as Pietà by Michelangelo - crafted when he was just 25 years old - and the Baldacchino, the large bronze canopy sculpted by Bernini that frames the altar of the Basilica.

Vatican City: Early Dome Climb with St. Peter’s Basilica

6. Vatican City: Early Dome Climb with St. Peter’s Basilica

Your tour will start early in the morning in Vatican City, the smallest nation in the world. Meet your licensed, English-speaking guide at the Fountain of the Tiare (Fontana delle Tiare), where you will be accompanied to witness the St. Peter’s Basilica Dome, the tallest Dome in the world. Start the climb to the Dome while listening to the fascinating facts and stories narrated by your guide. Avoid the 231 steps and take the elevator to the first level of the Dome, where the doors will open to the wonder that is Michelangelo’s Dome. From here you will get to admire the views of the interiors of the Basilica from above. Gaze upon the incredible mosaics, the amazing Latin Scripts up close and explore the roof of the basilica. Start you climb up 320 steps on this beautifully crafted and narrow spiral staircase to the very top of the Dome. This quite tiresome climb up will surely be worthwhile the energy spent to reach the top. You will get to admire the view from the highest place within the Vatican. This breathtakingly beautiful panoramic view of the Vatican City, its gorgeous gardens and ancient Rome that includes the Colosseum and the Pantheon will be a once in a lifetime opportunity. After having admired this splendid panoramic view from what will seem to be and feel as the “top of the world”, you will be able to descend to the St. Peter’s Basilica floors completely avoiding the long and tiresome lines outside. Let your guide accompany you through the beauty that is this marvelous architectural piece admired and revered by the entire world. The Basilica is the largest church in the world and the heart of Christianity, a place of pilgrimage in which millions of people gather every year. Prepare to be enchanted by this baroque masterpiece designed by Bernini and Bramante and to admire breathtaking art works like Michelangelo’s Pietà sculpture.This magnificent creation of Michelangelo is said to have been the perfect sculpture that helped launch his career unlike any previous work he had done. The scene of the Pieta shows the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Christ after his crucifixion, death, and removal from the cross, but before he was placed in the tomb. This is one of the key events from the life of the Virgin, known as the Seven Sorrows of Mary, which were the subject of Catholic devotional prayers, it is also said to be the only piece Michelangelo ever signed. Having soaked up the splendor that is this wonderful basilica, make your way down to the Vatican Grottoes also known as the Papal Tombs. Located inside the Grottoes are the tombs of over 90 Popes, a few monarchs and other church dignitaries, which dates to the 10th century. The Vatican Grottoes is considered to be the most visited place in Vatican City and is an absolute must -see of this glorious nation.

Rome: Vatican Museums and Colosseum Skip-the-Line Tour

7. Rome: Vatican Museums and Colosseum Skip-the-Line Tour

Save time and money with a combined skip-the-ticket-line tour of the Vatican museums and the main monuments of ancient Rome. Meet your guide for a morning tour of the Vatican museums and the Sistine chapel. Wander the vast corridors and galleries of one of the most important museums in the world, touring in a group of no more than 20 people. Go to the spectacular Cortile del Belvedere and see the historic maps of ancient cartographers in the Gallery of Maps. See beautiful tapestries by Raphael’s students in the Gallery of Tapestries. Then, gaze in awe at Michelangelo’s miraculous frescoes in the Sistine chapel. In the afternoon, transfer to the Flavian amphitheater, better known as the Colosseum, and explore the largest amphitheater ever built. Learn more about the Roman emperors and gladiators and the bloodthirsty battles put on for the Roman citizens. Next, go to the heart of ancient Rome and see the ruins of temples in the Roman Forum. Climb Palatine Hill for panoramic views of where the ancient Romans met to trade, worship, and conduct their political affairs.

Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St Peter's Basilica Tour

8. Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St Peter's Basilica Tour

In the Vatican Museum, your guide will take you on a highlights tour of the most interesting artifacts, sculptures and artwork that have great stories and scandals behind them. During the Vatican Museums portion of the tour, you’ll get to visit the picturesque Vatican garden, Cortile della Pigna. Your local guide will take you to the most interesting galleries within the museums – the Rotunda, Gallery of Tapestries and Gallery of Maps. Each of these rooms contain ornate ceilings with the walls decorated with ancient statues, frescoes and tapestries. Your guide will point out a few tricks used by the artists,which will enhance your appreciation of their works of art, as well as their sense of humor. Of course, the greatest gem of the Vatican collection is not a painting on any wall, but an entire ceiling and wall completely frescoed by the greatest genius of the Renaissance period – Michelangelo Buonarotti. From the Creation of Adam to the Last Judgement, Michelangelo dedicated some of his greatest years to the Sistine Chapel, working day and night – even sleeping in the chapel – to satisfy the popes of Rome. He also expressed his frustration with his employers with jokes hidden in his work, which only he would understand – today these have been uncovered and understood and your guide will explain these to you so you too can share in Michelangelo’s private jokes. This tour is perfectly suited to those who want to see the best highlights of the Vatican without too much walking or too many in-depth art discussions.

Rome: St.Peter's Basilica and Dome Guided Tour

9. Rome: St.Peter's Basilica and Dome Guided Tour

Travel back in time as your guide outlines the facinating history of St.Peter's Basilica in Rome on this guided walking tour. Hear your guide clearly at a distance with the included headsets. Marvel at famous masterpieces like Michelangelo's Pietà. Check in at the tour supplier's office and meet your guide. Make your way to the Basilica and listen as you guide tells you about the origins of the first basilica of Constantine to the changes made by Maderno. Be moved as you hear about about Michelangelo's works, including the moving Pietà statue which depicts Mary holding and mourning over the body of Jesus. Discover the history of the chapels inside the church. View the Baldacchino, a large Baroque sculpted bronze canopy, which was crafted by Bernini. Finally, leave the Basilica and follow your guide to the top of the dome. Look out over the city and the Vatican gardens and capture pictures of the breathtaking views.

Rome: St. Peters' Basilica and the German Cemetery

10. Rome: St. Peters' Basilica and the German Cemetery

Visit a lesser-known spot in Rome: the German cemetery at the Vatican. Enter the Vatican through a back door and encounter a small oasis of calm. Learn more about the oldest German national foundation in Rome. Afterward, see priceless works of art and hear exciting stories as you visit St. Peter's Basilica. Admire the stunning dome at one of the world's largest churches. See the bronze baldachin under the dome, which is as big as a ten-story house.

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What people are saying about La Pieta

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 1,828 reviews

Amazing experience. Salvatore(our tour guide) was very knowledgeable and professional. Breakfast selection was excellent and the timing was insuperable. I highly recommend this tour.

Absolutely worth it! Would not miss it. Our guide was wonderful and extremely knowledgeable. Federica made the tour a truly memorable experience.

Really good and interesting explanation about the history of the Vatican, its construction, modernisation, and everything in between.

Sabrina was a fantastic and knowledgeable tour guide and clearly had a passion for what she was doing. Highly recommend!!

Of your going to visit the Vatican this is THE tour to do! My second time and fabulous.