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Vatican Guided Tours

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Burbank, California
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Vatican Guided Tours

Hi everyone!

I will be visiting the Vatican on Thursday May 24th (early in the morning). We will be spending a half day here or even more exploring the museum/basilica, and we will head to Trastevere at night.

Would you recommend a guided tour for the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel?

My husband would love a tour, as he thinks it will help with understanding things better and it would be enjoyable. I just feel like it might be a tourist trap and it is not worth it. Is it possible to explore the museum and enjoy the experience without a tour guide.

Any advice?

sydney
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1. Re: Vatican Guided Tours

Yes it is possible and I highly recommend it. Grab a good guide book or audio guide. Tour groups inside that museum are a nightmare. Particularly inside the Sistine Chapel. Tour guides hissing info at their charges while the guards keep telling them to shhhh....:) .

Then there are the yowling guides in the map rooms and Raphael stanzas, I don't know how anyone can hear anything clearly at all, let alone remember anything. I think these groups forget that other people are sharing the space and may not want to hear their guides screaming about this work or that.

Do a little reseach beforehand regarding the locations of the pieces you want to see and go for it. Don't be afraid to explore and enjoy yourself. You will be surprised to discover that there are uncrowded spaces throughout. The views from the open windows are pretty wonderful too and most refreshing on a hot day.

Have fun

Francoise

Excusemewhereis.blogspot.com

Utrecht, The...
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2. Re: Vatican Guided Tours

I did the tour guide organized by the Vatican and really liked it.

The tour took 3 hours.

It all depends on your interests.

Can imagine that you want to stay longer in the museum, which is not possible with a tour guide.

If you take a tour guide, I would recommend to take your own ear phone, so that you can listen via both ears. Found it quite noisy with just one ear phone.

pittsburgh
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3. Re: Vatican Guided Tours

Once again, Francoisebell is exagerating to the N'th degree.

Tours of the Vatican museums are a great way to see the wonderful pieces on display. They give you a really good understanding of what it is you're seeing and help you get through the museums without getting lost. I highly recommend them. There are no guides braying, there aren't "millions" of tours going through at a time, the guides don't scream and they don't block exhibits from other visitors. They use headsets so their group can hear, they usually stand back from exhibits so they can take their time explaining the details of the piece and most tours end just before entering the Sistine Chapel so them "hissing" at you really doesn't happen.

You're husband is correct in thinking that a guide is the way to go if it's your first time visiting the Vatican museums. It's usually one of the only tours I recommend taking. If you've been before you might want to rent an audio guide but, in my opinion, first time visitors should use the guide just to be sure they are getting the most out of their visit. You are able to re-enter the museums after the tour but you'll need to go back to the entry to do it. You don't need to go outside but you won't be able to back track.

If you wish to see the museums on your own you certainly can. Just realize they are huge. You can rent an audio guide at the site or download one from the net.

Donna

Mumbai (Bombay...
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4. Re: Vatican Guided Tours

Was trying to book the tour online there 2 options for guided tour - one which covers the Vatican musem and Sistine chapel and the other covers St Peter's Basilica in addition . The cost of the former is 31 Euros while the latter cost 39 Euros....which one is should i go for? Also which would be the best time to take this tour

Also just to reconfirm kids below 6 are free right?

Thanks

Mumbai (Bombay...
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110 posts
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5. Re: Vatican Guided Tours

Was trying to book the tour online there 2 options for guided tour - one which covers the Vatican musem and Sistine chapel and the other covers St Peter's Basilica in addition . The cost of the former is 31 Euros while the latter cost 39 Euros....which one is should i go for? Also which would be the best time to take this tour

Also just to reconfirm kids below 6 are free right?

Thanks

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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6. Re: Vatican Guided Tours

I've always visited the Vatican Museums with the aid of a good guide book (I prefer the Michelin Green Guide). I can't really comment on the guides, since I've never used one, but I know the official and authorized guides don't speak at all inside the Sistine Chapel. As Donna said, they explain the whole thing before you enter, and then, if you're proceeding to the Basilica on the same tour, they stay with you until it's time to leave.

I would recommend that you not use one of the many "unofficial" guides. In addition to the other problems, I've heard them telling people some truly absurd things.

I've read more than once in these forums of people who have got separated from their guides, and been unable to find their group again, due to the extreme crowding, but now I may be accused of crowd hysteria.

Mumbai (Bombay...
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7. Re: Vatican Guided Tours

Thanks bvlenchi- Actually i am not planning to use any unofficial guide.

I was planning to book the official guided tour through the vatican site.

I somewhere agree with donna that guided tours would give a better understanding of the place

What's your view?

Le Marche, Italy
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8. Re: Vatican Guided Tours

As I said before, I've never felt the need for a guide at the Vatican Museums, but the first time I went there I read a lot about the collection and was also fairly familiar with artists like Raphael and Michelangelo, their biographies, their other works, and the like. If I hadn't read so much, I might very well have felt the need for a guide. Also, since I've never used a guide, I can't really say that a guide wouldn't have benefited me. Maybe I'm deceiving myself when I say I don't need one.

Brighton, England
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9. Re: Vatican Guided Tours

We had a wonderful free tour of St Peters (only/not the museums) yesterday and unbelievably didnt need to book either. You just turn up at 9.45 on a Thursday morning at the vatican information centre- Its on the left about 20metres from the church front itself. Dont be put off by the constant flow of visitors leaving the church on that side. It was in English given by one of the basilicas volunteers and lasted over 2hrs. As our group was over 6 (there were only about 8 of us!) we did after the first part of the tour have to avail ourselves of the headset equipment (1.5euros each) It was fine and no problem that it was only one earpiece. For us it was enough for that day of culture and would recommend not including another tour of the museum back to back. Its a big space to get to, packed with other tourists, good to just walk around anyway and in the vicinity and especially when you will want refreshments. I think they do the free tour other days too. The guide was excellent with a mix of serious religious, architectural and then other quirky light hearted comments. One of the highlights of our trip.

Mumbai (Bombay...
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10. Re: Vatican Guided Tours

Donna - what are your recommendations ?