What a great tour and experience! This private tour was definitely worth it! We met our tour guide, Alfredo Noya, at the meeting point, and we walked together to the entrance of the Vatican and went inside earlier than when it opens to the public. It was about a 3-5 min walk. The tour was with my mother-in-law and my daughter and we all enjoyed it immensely.
Alfredo had an assistant with him for help with children. He was extremely knowledgeable about everything inside the Vatican museums. Every painting, sculpture, tapestry, statues, ceiling art work, All of it! He was very patient and answered every question we had. He took our pictures everywhere we wanted and was very kind and sweet. He has a great personality! He is Roman and other than speaking Italian, he also speaks English and it was very good, clear and understandable.
We walked through the museums, saw a garden and ended up at the Sistine Chapel. No photos are allowed inside the Sistine Chapel, and no talking either. Afterwards, he took us to the St. Peters Basilica and walked with us and explained the history of a lot of the smaller chapels inside as well as La Pieta. He told us about the crypt below the Basilica and the Dome above. He gave a lot of great information about Rome as well. We did the crypt and the dome on our own as it's not part of this tour.
The crypt is free, and the Dome was about 5 Euro to go up by stairs and 7 Euro to go up by elevator. It is worth it to pay the 7 Euro and wait for the elevator, because there were many more steps after the elevator ride that the elevator cannot get to. There are two parts to the Dome. The first part is a few stairs up after the elevator ride and looks down into the basilica. The second part is optional and only for those who do not have problems with their heart or claustrophobia. This part is several stairs, most of it is narrow, steep, and wall hugging. But at the top is a 360 degree view of the city of Rome. After exiting the Dome, there is a gift shop where every item for purchase is blessed by priests of the Vatican.
Be sure to dress appropriately. Showing the shoulders is not allowed, so if you are wearing a tank top, make sure you have a shawl or cardigan to cover your arms, otherwise you won't be allowed to go in the Vatican at all. Also, you may want to wear comfortable shoes. I was wearing flat sandals, and while I was ok, tennis shoes would have been better for all the stair walk up to the Dome.
I will definitely book this tour again if I go back to Rome. If you have the opportunity, ask for Alfredo Noya in advance. He was the best guide we've ever had! Also, he has a Facebook page, just look up Alfredo Noya and you should be able to find him and send him a message.
Quite disappointed by this private tour. I would have been better of renting the audio tour guide. I have a real love of history or art history and my expectations for this tour were with a private tour I would be provided more insight. My guide was nice, but based on the price I paid was very disappointed. I am not a huge fan of organized tours and prefer private tours so that my personal interests are met. I had a much better tour arranged through the Borghese with a party of 20 other people which was less than 10 of what I paid for this tour. If you just want someone to keep you company as you wander through the halls then this tour will be great for you, otherwise, do not waste your money. Yes, I tipped the guide at the end after all tips are expected.
A must-see, though we were skipping the line with a lot of other groups. Expert Guide. The crowd made it difficult to see everything on our guide's agenda, and sadly the Raphael Room was closed just before we got there due to overcrowding. If it is at all possible to gain entry 30 min early it would greatly improve the experience.
Ilaria, my PRIVATE tour guide, is highly educated with a doctorate, highly professional, and exacting in her vast knowledge and very personable. She is a pleasure and made this tour very satisfying. Spend the extra money and go on PRIVATE tours with Viator and always Skip the Line tours. Thank you!!
Life-changing! First of all, I would have given six, eight or even ten stars for this once-in-a-lifeltime experience. Our guide, Debora Diego, was knowledgeable, professional and an amazingly nice human being! We were in Rome in the late season, but the Vatican was even less crowded thanks to recent travel concerns. We were able to stroll through the various exhibits and galleries, without having to fight the normal crowds, giving us a very personal and intimate experience with all the amazing treasures. Sistine Chapel was the highlight of our entire European vacation. It was truly a magical experience!