Vatican Gardens and Vatican Museums Tour

Enjoy a tour of the serene Vatican Gardens followed by a Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica tour; it’s an exciting combination of Vatican sightseeing experiences! This half-day Vatican tour includes 1.5 hours inside the elegant gardens, seeing highlights like Our Lady of Lourdes grotto. After admiring the grounds, head inside the Vatican Museums and prepare to be wowed by the likes of the Gallery of Maps and Sistine Chapel – home to Michelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgement’ fresco.

Meet your guide in Vatican City, and head inside the Vatican Gardens for your walking tour. A tranquil haven for the Vatican popes since the Middle Ages, the Vatican Gardens cover an impressive 57 acres (23 hectares) with meandering pathways, grottoes and fountains as well as a gorgeous Italian garden, bedecked with colorful flowers.

Stroll around with your guide, admiring highlights like the Our Lady of Lourdes grotto – a favorite prayer spot of Pope Francis and his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI – while learning about the gardens’ history. Dating back to the 13th century, the site started as a simple fruit orchard but was extended to a more lavish standard by subsequent papal generations.

After spending roughly 1.5 hours inside the gardens, head inside the Vatican Museums. Marvel at the Bramante Staircase – a sloping spiral structure carved from stone by Renaissance architect Donato Bramante – and then wander around rooms like the Gallery of Tapestries.

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Hear tales of Renaissance artists favored by the Vatican like Raphael, and admire incredible Flemish tapestries that were designed by his pupils. Step inside the Gallery of Maps, and gaze in wonder at detailed fresco maps of 16th-century Italy.

Continue to the Sistine Chapel, the pope’s private place of worship, to see some of the most influential works of art in the Western world. Panel paintings by the likes of Botticelli and Perugino are incredible but pale in comparison to Michelangelo’s attention-grabbing twosome: the Creation of Adam and The Last Judgement.

Finish your tour with a walk around St Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican’s magnificent domed church. After marveling at Michelangelo’s La Pietà and a memorial to Pope John Paul, bid your guide goodbye and exit into St Peter’s Square.

Read more about the Vatican Gardens.