Vatican Inside & Out: Sistine Chapel, Papal Train, & Summer Palace Lunch

14 reviews

10 hours

Max 15

Why take this tour?


  • A full-day, small-group tour with an expert official Vatican guide
  • Skip-the-line to the Vatican Museums, enjoying a comprehensive tour including the Sistine Chapel
  • Visit the Vatican Gardens and take the Pope's private train, departing from the Vatican State Railway Station
  • Skip the line at the Papal Palace in Castel Gandolfo, a scenic hill-town where centuries of Popes have spent their summers
  • Enjoy a tasty buffet lunch at Villa Barberini with local produce and wine, including ingredients from the Papal farm
  • Sites Visited
  • Vatican Museums
  • Gallery of Maps
  • Gallery of Candelabras
  • Gallery of Tapestries
  • Octagonal Courtyard
  • Pinecone Courtyard
  • Raphael Rooms
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Vatican Gardens
  • Vatican Rail Station
  • Villa Barberini Gardens
  • Papal (Apostolic) Palace
  • Castel Gandolfo
  • Tour Includes
  • Skip-the-line Vatican Museum tickets
  • Skip-the-line Papal Palace & Garden tickets
  • Buffet Lunch of local produce
  • Audio Tour at the Papal Palace
  • Expertly guided walking tour
  • Local English-speaking guide

Experience the grandeur, gardens, palaces, and daily life of the Vatican

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Total Customer Reviews: 14

Verified Ratings
3.8 /5
based on 13 Walks’ customer ratings
Rating summary by category
Latest reviews
The tour guides were very knowledgeable and really enjoyed sharing information.
Verified · Rene · Jul 07, 2023 · USA · Male · 45 to 54 years
We were told to be there at 730. Our tour guide showed up at 8:05. The Vatican was extremely crowded which was not the tour guide’s fault. We had to stay at a steady pace so we had very little time to view the pieces of work. We could have benefited a bit more on the history/meaning of some things. Where it fell apart was at the train. Nobody told any of us the itinerary once we got on the train. The lunch left a lot to be desired. I appreciated going to the Vatican on a tour but there is a lot of room for improvement.
Verified · Diana · Jun 25, 2023 · USA · Female · 45 to 54 years
This tour would have been great except for one no small thing. We were met by our guide who provided an excellent tour of the Vatican grounds and the Sistine Chapel. We thought she would be our guide for the rest of the day. We were then taken over to the train station and put on a train. After a short train ride, when we got off, we were received by a set of buses and handed over to a driver who took us to the papal summer grounds. When we were dropped off at the train station, we were never explained what to expect or who would be meeting us on the other side. We got off of the bus with no idea what to do? or where to go? We were dropped off in front of a restaurant / concession area and just assumed we were supposed to go inside. We were served lunch, spoke to other travelers who were also trying to figure out "Now What?" After lunch and great conversations with fellow travelers, we got up and just assumed we were now on our own to walk around. We were then later intercepted by a lady who told us she was our tour guide for the next portion of our trip. (this was a 2.5 hour gap without knowing what to do or where to go) - like I said "No small thing" If our initial tour guide stayed with us for the whole day like we assumed, rode the train with us, ate lunch with us, & returned with us, this would have been an excellent tour. When we paid for a "small PRIVATE group tour" we thought this is what were going to get. Technically there were only four of us in our group so technically this meets the SMALL We never imagined we were just going to be handed off like some piece of meat or something.
Verified · Robert · Jun 20, 2023 · USA · Male · 45 to 54 years
This is not necessarily a review but extended feedback. Firstly I would like to say that the Vatican guides (Marco and Roberta) at both the Vatican and the Pope's Palace were both amazing, particularly Roberta at the Pope's Palace who even stayed with us at the end of the tour to ensure we got back on the right bus back to the train station to return to Rome. I understood that this tour was not conducted (guided) by Walks Tours, but the haphazard way we were treated during out tour did not really meet my expectation of what a Walks Tour would be like (and considering the cost of the tour). We were stopped from boarding the train at the Vatican and made to wait whilst the Vatican staff checked with us repeatedly as to what tour we were on, where were our stickers, how many of us was there - before we were finally able to board the train. The train did not stop and let us off at Castel Gandolfo, but at Albano Laziale. From here we were bussed to the Barberini gardens for lunch. On return to Rome, the train dropped everyone off at Roma San Pietro - this is not mentioned anywhere on your website for this tour. At this station the others on our tour were confused about where we were and how to get back to their accommodation. It was fine for us as we have been to Rome a number of times and happened to be staying on that side of the city, we were fine to find our way home. This tour would be better if it cost more and had a Walk Tours guide with you for the whole day. Again I had read reviews on your website stating that there was no guide and people were unsure what would happen that day. At the very least perhaps you could provide people with a printed sheet with a general run down of the day and what will happen. We enjoyed what we saw but the whole day felt a bit haphazard.
Verified · Rebecca · May 20, 2023 · Australia · Female
This tour was well worth taking. Guides Kinga (in the Vatican) and Patrizia (at Castel Gandolfo) were very welcoming and informative. The lunch was pleasant, too.
Verified · Andrew · May 08, 2023 · Ireland · Male · 35 to 44 years

Meeting Point

Meeting Point Map ⟶

Meeting Point  

Viale Vaticano 104, 00192 Rome. Meet your Walks Coordinator in front of Ristorante Da Paolo. The restaurant is located across the street from the walls of the Vatican, about 100 meters before the main museum entrance if you are arriving from the center of Rome. Your coordinator will be on the street corner holding a green sign or just inside the doors of the restaurant. Your Walks Coordinator will accompany you into the Vatican Museums to meet your guide.

Please meet 15 minutes prior to the tour start time.  


Is this tour accessible for wheelchairs, strollers or for those with mobility impairments?
Unfortunately due to the nature of this tour it is not suitable for guests with mobility impairments, or for wheelchairs or strollers. Please contact us at [email protected] so we can arrange your visit.
I am in a wheelchair/have a mobility impairment. Can I take this tour?
The Vatican Museums are equipped with elevators for wheelchair access, but they are not located on the group tour route. If you have a mobility impairment and/or use a wheelchair please contact our customer service department at [email protected] and we will be happy to work out a suitable alternative.
What items can I NOT take into the Vatican Museums
Knives, scissors, and other cutting tools must also be deposited in the cloakroom as a precaution against harming the artwork inside. No hammers, either, as one was once used to smash Michelangelo's Pietá. This probably goes without saying, but firearms are also strictly prohibited for visitors within the Vatican Museums and you can't check them in the cloakroom.
I've heard the Vatican has a strict dress code. What should I wear?
It does, but it isn't anything too formal. The big rule is to make sure your shoulders and knees are covered - that applies to both men and women. Also remember that shorts of any length are not allowed at all in St. Peter's Basilica so if you are visiting both the Vatican Musuems and the Basilica, wear trousers or a long skirt. Occasionally visitors get away with wearing a bit less but it’s best not to risk it. Hats are also not allowed. Walks cannot be held responsible for guests who are refused entrance due to inappropriate dress so please remember to cover up.
IMPORTANT: Can I bring a bag into the Vatican Museums?
Yes, as long as it's within a certain size. You cannot bring any bag, backpack suitcase or container larger that 40cm x 35cm x 15cm into the Vatican Museums. In fact, size limits apply to all items; because of the sheer number of people that visit the Museums, space is at a premium. You can’t enter with medium to large umbrellas, any umbrellas with spiked tips, camera tripods, signage (apart from signs used by certified guides) or walking sticks – except those required by disabled visitors. All of these items can be left in the cloakroom, which is located at the entrance to the Museums. This means that you will need to walk 15 - 20 minutes back here after you finish your tour at St Peter's Basilica. On our afternoon tours you may need to leave the tour early to collect your bag before the cloakroom closes.
Why can't I take photos inside the Sistine Chapel?
When the chapel was restored in 1990 the biggest donors to the project (donating a whopping $4.2 million) were a Japanese television network. In return, they received exclusive rights to photograph and film inside and quickly banned any professional photographers from taking pictures. Although they didn't mind if tourists took photos, the Vatican guards decided to enforce the rule on everyone because it was impractical to differentiate between a normal visitor and who was a professional photographer. The Japanese network's exclusive contract has expired now but the rule persists. If you try to take any images in the Chapel Vatican, security is authorized to make you delete them.

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