I'm trying to decide on which tour company to use for our vatican visit. Through eternity offers a 5 hour, Anno Domoni offers a 3 1/2 hour, and Viator a 3 hour. Prices are similar--not sure about English speaking guides, size of groups, and if any can avoid long lines if we don't want to pay the price for a private tour. Any other suggestions? Thanks for all input. Carol
We took the official Vatican tour. it was only 2 hours so it may not be as detailed as you would like. For me, there was only so much art that I could absorb in one afternoon! We were very pleased with this tour.
I went with Angel tours and thought it was great. The guides are art history students or similar and funnily enough were Irish and so the language was not a problem even with the accent. The group was about 12 from memory and if they have more people they divide the group and have another guide so it's never too big. They are very well priced and I thought I got value for money. Their website is www.angeltoursrome.com
You do not need to pay for a tour to avoid the lines. Just get a reservation for the Vatican tour. Once you get inside, you can take the tour or not, as you end up in the ticket buying area and can just get the regular ticket if you want to go independently.
Carol - My husband and I just returned from 2 wks in Italy and we took the official Vatican tour. We faxed a request for a reservation got a reply back within 12 hours and took that paper past the line that wrapped around the block and walked right in. We then paid for our tour tickets (cash only) and enjoyed it very much. It was about 2 hours, plenty, with an English guide. IT was great! Ended up at the Sistine Chapel. There were about 15-18 in our group and they had little ipod type speakers that we clipped to our waists so we could hear the guide easily. I would highly recommend it. The fax number came from Rick Steves Italy book. It is 06-69884019. You tell them what day you want, what time (see p. 609 of ITALY book) name and return fax number. It was 21.50 euros. But once you get inside, if you change your mind you can just buy your own ticket and go in alone. Hope this is helpful.
Tom and Sherry Trojanowsk
We leave for Italy this Friday and booked the Viator skip the line early admission tour. They will pick us up at 7am at our hotel. We tried faxing the Vatican, but could never get through. I was talking to a lady at the book store. She was in Italy 2 years ago in May and said she had walked up to the desk in the Vatican after going to mass in St. Peter's and they gave her a pass for the tour from them at 1:30 the next day. So it seems maybe we could have done that or ask you hotel if they could do it. She did say it was extremely crowded inside, but was able to walk pass the lines the next day.
Thank you everybody for all suggestions. It's been so helpful. We decided to try the Angels tour and appreciate the information. Carol