Paolo's Private Driving Tours

Family business since 1949.

I'll show you more than you expect to see!

 

 

Vatican tours

Please read these few lines before booking your tour of the Vatican, with me or any tour guide or company.

The Vatican. It is really difficult to explain to a foreigner, who has never been to Rome, what the Vatican is. Perhaps, in a lot of cases, people think that the Vatican consists of a large building called Sistine Chapel with more smaller buildings around it in which are kept memories of the Popes and the Saints. Absolutely wrong! Very, very often people say they don't care to see everything there, they just want to see the Sistine Chapel and hit the streets again to the next place. You just can't do that.

The Sistine Chapel cannot be visited separately from the Vatican Museums and it takes roughly one hour to walk there from the entrance.

The only place you could skip is St. Peter's Basilica, but it would be a real sin to do that, because it is a much more interesting place than all the rest of the buildings in the Vatican. Just to give you an idea, it's longer that three football fields, it was designed by Michelangelo (he is responsible for the famous dome also), it houses statues by Michelangelo , Bernini, Canova and other famous artists, each altar is decorated with a beautiful mosaic and, last but not least, it was built over the tomb of St. Peter the Martyr.

All this means that it takes approximately three hours to tour the place. You enter from the Vatican Museums, walk through a portion of them and find the Sistine Chapel at the end. More than one hour will have passed from the time you entered the Museums and, I'm sure, you'll want to spend some time in the Sistine. From the Sistine, you can move directly to St. Peter's without going through another section of the Museums, thus saving a lot of time. St. Peter's will take roughly one more hour to visit.

I made a long story short and you'll find out for yourselves, going there, that there's is a lot more at the Vatican than you imagine.

I'll have to spend a few words to explain the Vatican's dress code also. They want you to be properly dressed when you show up there and by that they don't mean that you have to wear fancy clothes, they mean that your sinful flesh must not be exposed. You can be dressed in dirty rags for all they care, as long as your pants, or skirts, cover your knees; your shirt covers you shoulders and chests.

You can wear sandals or flip-flops but, you better not. Why? Well, you'll be walking on very hard marble for hours and your feet would appreciate you put something soft between them and that marble. Plus, the place is always crowded and, when you're in crowded places, someone always walks on your feet.

View of St.Peter's

 

Vatican, visit it with a private guide without standing in line to enter.

Different solutions: just hire a guide for the Vatican tour; transfer to the Vatican and back by private car and tour the Vatican with a private guide; do a half day tour of Rome and tour the Vatican with a private guide the same day. Enter without having to stand in Line. Find out about the dress code and opening schedule.

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You'll not be standing in line to get inside the Vatican

A lot of websites of travel agents, tour guides and car rentals say that they can do the magic of getting you inside the Vatican without making you waste your time standing in a line. Well, there no magic behind it, they simply go on line and make a reservation for you. And charge you for doing it. You can do it for yourself and, not only you save money, but you can decide for yourself when to go.

We'll be please to guide you through the Vatican, but get your tickets first!

All you need is this link: http://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/do

Clicking on the link or the image to the right, you'll be taken directly to the page you need.

If you want to tour the place in the morning, I would suggest to enter between 9/10:00 am and, if you want to visit in the afternoon, 1/2:00 pm would e the best.

If you enter the place later in the morning, you'll be getting hungry when you're half way through your tour and, to get something decent to eat, you'd have to walk all the way back to the entrance, because that where the Vatican self service restaurant is.

 If you bring you own food to eat, you'll not find a good place where to sit down and have it, unless you go all the way back to the entrance.

By the way, by agreement with a nice typical restaurant just outside the Vatican, they'll serve you a nice authentic meal charging you 15 Euros per person.

It's called "Trattoria dei Musei" and it's at a few steps away from the entrance to the Vatican Museums, corner of Via Mocenigo with Via Sebastiano Veniero.

 
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You'll be met at your hotel and drive to the Vatican The Gallery of Candelabra, Vatican Museums

You'll be met at your hotel and driven to the Vatican. Once there, your driver will introduce you to your guide and your tour will start.

The guided tour will include:

  • Vatican Museums (Pine Cone Courtyard, Chiaramonti Museum, Octagonal Courtyard, Pius-Clementine Museum, Gallery of Candelabra, Gallery of Tapestries, Gallery of Geographic Maps);

  • Sistine Chapel;

  • St. Peter's Basilica.

You guide will leave you at the end of the tour of St. Peter's Basilica and you'll meet with your driver again to drive back to your hotel. You can be dropped off anywhere else in town, should you like to explore Rome on your own.

Otherwise you can stay at the Vatican and tour the Papal Tombs and/or climb the Dome on your own.

The guide will help set a time for your driver to meet you again and drive you back to your hotel, or you can go back by your own means.

 
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The Vatican Museums

Reach the Vatican by your own means and meet your guide there.

We normally meet outside the "Caffé Vaticano", which is just across the street from the entrance to the Vatican Museums.

The guide will be standing in front of the "Caffé Vaticano" posting your name.

The guided tour will include:

  • Vatican Museums (Pine Cone Courtyard, Chiaramonti Museum, Octagonal Courtyard, Pius-Clementine Museum, Gallery of Candelabra, Gallery of Tapestries, Gallery of Geographic Maps);

  • Sistine Chapel;

  • St. Peter's Basilica.

Your guide will leave you at the end of the tour of St. Peter's Basilica and, if needed, help you find a taxi or you can stay and tour the Papal Tombs and/or climb the Dome on your own.

 
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Tour the Vatican before, or after, a half day driving tour of Rome Sistine Chapel, the Final Judgment by Michelangelo

Tour the Vatican before, or after, a half day driving tour of Rome.

If you only have one day in Rome and you want all see the major attractions, including the Vatican, we can take you on a driving tour of Rome, either by car of golf cart, in the morning and drop you off at the Vatican at the end of it.

The Vatican is less crowded in the afternoon, and that's why I suggest to do it this way but, if you like, you can reverse the itinerary and tour the Vatican in the morning and Rome in the afternoon.

St. Peter's Basilica is closed on Wednesday mornings and so, if you're doing this tour on a Wednesday, the Vatican will have to be visited in the afternoon.

The Vatican guided tour will include:

  • Vatican Museums (Pine Cone Courtyard, Chiaramonti Museum, Octagonal Courtyard, Pius-Clementine Museum, Gallery of Candelabra, Gallery of Tapestries, Gallery of Geographic Maps);

  • Sistine Chapel

  • St. Peter's Basilica

If we tour Rome in the morning and drop you off at the Vatican, at the end of the tour you'll be on your own and get back to your hotel by taxi, or walk if it is close enough. Otherwise, we can have a driver pick you up and drive you back.

If you want to tour the Vatican in the morning, you'll have to reach it hotel by your own means, like a taxi, or walk if it is close enough. Otherwise, we can have a driver pick you up at your hotel and drive you there. We'll then meet you there for your driving tour of Rome at the end of you Vatican tour.

Everybody gets hungry in the middle of the day and so, your guide can show you to a restaurant at the end of your walk through the Vatican and we'll come to meet you there.

If you drive around Rome with us in the morning, we'll drop you off at at nice typical restaurant a few steps away from the entrance to the Vatican Museums, where they'll serve you a nice authentic meal charging you 15 Euros per person. If you drive with us in the afternoon, your Vatican guide will walk you there.

Your guide will leave you at the end of the tour of St. Peter's Basilica and, if needed, help you find a taxi.

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The Vatican and the disabled    

Entrance fees

Free admission at the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.

People with permanent disabilities and one person who accompanies them, do not have to pay the admission fee to enter the Vatican Museums.

If the disability isn't obvious though, then it must be proved by a certificate.

Wheel chair

If you have have problems walking and standing for a long time, you can use a wheel chair. Wheel chairs are available free of any charge at the Vatican Museums.

You cannot reserve for a wheel chair and consequently if a wheel chair isn't available at the time you enter the Vatican Museums you'll just have to wait for someone to bring one back.

These wheel chairs though, can only be used in the Museums and the Sistine Chapel, you cannot take the wheel chair with you to St. Peter's Basilica, therefore you'll either have to skip St. Peter's Basilica or walk it. Or rent a wheel chair to take to the Vatican with you.

Permanent disabilities

We are sure that those with serious walking problems will come prepared and will have their own wheel chair, but otherwise we'll be happy to help them rent one!
Rent a wheel chair

If your disability is such that you cannot walk through St. Peter's you'll have to rent a wheel chair for this tour. If you don't know where to rent a wheel chair from, we can help you. We can get you a wheel chair to use for the whole tour of the Vatican.

The cost of renting the wheel chair is 25 Euros.

We can get you an electric scooter as well, but it's more  complicated to get around the Vatican in a scooter. The wheel chair works a lot better.

wheel chair lift at the Vatican
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The Vatican from the port of Civitavecchia St. Peter's, Holy Water Bowl by Bernini

If you are on a Mediterranean cruise, your ship docks in Civitavecchia for the day and you want to see the Vatican, I can surely be glad help you.

if you just want to tour the Vatican with a guide and then spend the rest of the day on your own, I can arrange for you to be met at the port and driven to Rome, where you'll meet the Vatican guide that will take you on your tour. The driver will later meet you in town to drive you back to the port.

If you are an experienced traveler and want to save money, you can take the train from the port and meet your guide at the station near the Vatican, San Pietro.. You can walk or take a taxi from San Pietro station to the Vatican and spend the rest of the day as you like and take the train back to the port.

If you also want to see some of Rome, we'll meet you at the Vatican when your tour is done and drive you to see Rome's major highlights.

The program can be reversed also: we can come to meet you at the station and take you to see Rome first and drop you off at the Vatican for your tour.

 Also in this case,

If you are an experienced traveler and want to save money, you from the port by train. Otherwise I'll provide round trip transfers by private car.

The guided tour of the Vatican will include:

  • Vatican Museums (Pine Cone Courtyard, Chiaramonti Museum, Octagonal Courtyard, Pius-Clementine Museum, Gallery of Candelabra, Gallery of Tapestries, Gallery of Geographic Maps);

  • Sistine Chapel;

  • St. Peter's Basilica.

The driving tour of Rome will cover:

  • Trevi Fountain;

  • Colosseum;

  • Piazza Navona;

  • Pantheon.

Unless you're already familiar with those sites and you want to see something different.

 
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People being checked for inappropriate dressing at St.Peter's.

People going through the check for inappropriate apparel when entering St. Peter's. They already spent a long time in line to go through metal detectors....

A few words about the Vatican city dress code.

You must be properly dressed otherwise you'll not be admitted in!
There are monitors outside St. Peter's, and they're very strict about the dress code. They won't let you in if:

  • your skirt or pants leave your knees uncovered;

  • you are wearing shorts;

  • your shoulders and chest are bare (no tank tops, sleeveless shirts or blouses);

You will not be permitted inside the Basilica, or the Vatican, unless you are dressed appropriately. Slacks and jeans, however, are permitted.

Entering any church, you must be dressed appropriately.

People who monitor visitors in churches have the right to refuse entrance if in their opinion the visitor is dressed inappropriate to enter.

You can get around this carrying long pants and a shirt/blouse with sleeves with you so be prepared if you wish to enter a church, you can slip into these garments on over your inappropriate attire before you enter.

Keep in mind that when you visit the Vatican you are in a sovereign country, regulated by it's own rules, where Italian laws, or your own country's, do not apply!
No smoking anywhere in the Vatican!

You don't have to wear fancy clothes, they just don't want to see your sinful flesh

You can be dressed in dirty rags for all they care, as long as your pants, or skirts, cover your knees; your shirt covers you shoulders and chests.

You can wear sandals or flip-flops but, you better not. Why? Well, you'll be walking on very hard marble for hours and your feet would appreciate you put something soft between them and that marble. Plus, the place is always crowded and, when you're in crowded places, someone always walks on your feet.

 
 get driven to the Vatican, tour around and get driven back to your hotel Meet your guide on the spot Get dropped of at the Vatican at the end of the half-day tour of Rome Tours of the Vatican from Civitavecchia Vatican dress code return to the menu return to the top
 

 
When are the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel open? The Vatican Museums Schedule

Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel opening schedule, year 2013.


Open Monday through Saturday and the last Sunday of each month.

The Ticket Office is open from 9 am to 4 pm. The Museums close at 6 pm.

The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel are closed during the following holidays: Sundays, except for the last Sunday of each month, unless it coincides with one of the holidays here below:

  • January 1, (New Year)

  • January 6 (Epiphany)

  • February 11 (The Signing of the Lateran Pacts)

  • March 19 (St. Joseph's Day)

  • Easter - Easter Monday

  • May 1 (St. Joseph Artisan)

  • Forty days after Easter, on a Thursday (Ascension Thursday)

  • June 29 (St. Peter and Paul’s Day

  • August 14, 15 (Assumption of Mary)

  • November 1 (All Saints)

  • December 25 (Christmas)

  • December 26 (St. Steven’s)

The closed sections of the Museums are indicated at the entrance.
Access to the Vatican is permitted only to visitors wearing proper attire.
The admission ticket to the Vatican Museums is valid for visiting the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel only on the date of purchase.
Tickets are not refundable.

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