I had been advised by friends to book a private tour of the Vatican to avoid the long lines - which was the BEST travel advice I have ever been given. I did not know which company to book with - the ones recommended by Rick Steve's were unavailable (I booked about a week or so in advance), so I took a chance on Kiss from Italy - and I am so glad I did! This tour was less expensive than many of the others, but I cannot imagine how it could have been any better. The guide (Margherita, Ph.D.) was extremely personable and informative (and spoke excellent English). We bypassed the EXTREMELY long lines outside (saving many hours of time), and once inside she was skilled at navigating the enormous crowds and complicated interior of the museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's (and surrounds). She provided a fascinating background of the painting of the sistine chapel before we entered, which made the experience so much more enjoyable. I felt so sorry for all of the thousand of people who did not have Margherita as their private guide!! I cannot recommend this company (and Margarita) enough - especially if you have limited time in Rome, it is worth every penny just to skip the lines, let alone have your own private art-historian take you through this incredible world. Now I want to come back and see the rest of the city this way!!
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