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Is it possible to use my own wireless earbuds during the Walks of Italy Pristine Sistine tour?

I called Walks of Italy and spoke with someone who said that I would need to use the headset provided by their company, but he also didn't sound entirely knowledgeable about the tour (for example, he did not know the location of the terrace of the Basilica of St. Peter, which is where the tour is supposed to end). I have heard that the audio quality was not excellent with these headsets, so it would be nice to use my own Bluetooth earbuds.

Posted by
2275 posts

You will need a headset with a wire and a plug. It can be your own if you like. Probably won't improve the sound quality.

Posted by
18908 posts

You most likely cannot simply because their headsets are not running on bluetooth. They generally use a dedicated frequency just for their headsets so that they do not interfere with other guide groups or allow a freeloader to just listen in. My experience with these systems is that the quality is decent. Or at least good enough for the task. Also there are a many terraces at St. Peter. Where it exactly ends may be dependent on the guide and the crowds.

Posted by
537 posts

Hi Adrienne,

Two years ago, I went on a Vatican guided tour. The tour was bought through one of the Vatican shops. Once we were in the Vatican, we got our museum ticket and audio box with a new earbud; only one earbud.

I had my own set in my bag, but I used the one given. I didn't even think of trying my own. I think you could bring them and try them in the audiobox.

The day I visited was the Feast of the Immaculate Mary. It was mayhem. It was hard to hear the guide at times; the 'radio' kept going in and out. Also, because of the crowding, she was already two paintings ahead by the time some of us got to what she was explaining. It was a drive-by experience. She was nice, but it was too crazy that day/weekend. She apologized to the group. It's a good thing it was not expensive.

[When I returned to Rome last year, I didn't go to the Vatican again; maybe another time. But, St. Peter's is a whole other experience. Not the same crowding or push and shove visit. I revisited a number of times last year. I never tire of it. And, I had some really memorable and special experiences.]

Anyway, at the end of our tour, after being in the Sistine Chapel for awhile, the guide led us out and around to the front of St. Peter's Basilica ("the terrace"). A few steps and the Holy Doors were right there. Look to your right (down the steps) and you'll see the Swiss guards. To your left are the steps leading to the restroom and outdoor gift shop.

Heads up if you don't know already If possible, don't bring a very large bag or backpack to the Vatican. It will go through the security check, and if deemed too large, they will tell you to check it. A small to medium size (no bigger than 14") should be okay. Coats, assisted devices were allowed after security. Water bottles must be put away in your bag. Those who have to check large items would then have to go to retrieve them which impedes your going to St. Peter's. You would have to go out and wait in line again.

Posted by
95 posts

Thank you, Mark, Frank, and Girasole! I am going to bring some alcohol wipes to clean off the earpieces, just in case. Thank you for all of the information, Girasole. :o)

Posted by
1896 posts

You can use your own WIRED headphones/earbuds. The unit they give you has the standard input jack, so no problems. I am not sure about bluetooth though. I'd guess not but I'm not sure.

Posted by
537 posts

You're welcome Adrienne. I like details myself ;) to make choices, lol.

Oh, at the desk, when you get your audio box, the clerk gives you a brand new ear bud. At the end, you can toss or keep it. The audio box must be returned.

The Sistine Chapel is breathtaking!!

Have fun!

Posted by
12004 posts

Those systems usually use a one-ear over-the-ear plastic piece. I don't use them because they keep falling off. I used wired earbuds for my phone and iPod, and I use my own. It happened once or twice years ago that the plug wasn't suitable, no recent problems.

Posted by
9021 posts

Oh, at the desk, when you get your audio box, the clerk gives you a
brand new ear bud. At the end, you can toss or keep it. The audio box
must be returned.

But this may only apply to people taking the Vatican's own tours? My guess is that WOI might use their own equipment as not all of their tours are in buildings with audio rental available.

Posted by
537 posts

this may only apply to people taking the Vatican's own tours?

Could be Kathy; I don't know. The guide led us up to a kiosk of sorts inside. The clerk had big cartons of new, bright green, singular ear buds he was handing to us with an audio box. It was not an over-the-ear piece.

Posted by
686 posts

I purchased this Bluetooth adapter, with the idea of using it with my own earbuds and the audio boxes they use on the Rick Steves tours. Our next tour is April/May, so haven't determined if it will, indeed, work with those, but it's worked well with other devices here at home. It's very small and weighs nothing, so it's not like you're adding a heavy, dangly thing to the other device. I assume the audio boxes you're asking about our similar to the RS ones. For 20 bucks, it's worth a try.

https://www.amazon.com/TaoTronics-Bluetooth-Transmitter-Connected-Transmission/dp/B074QLB1Y7/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1549738088&sr=8-5&keywords=taotronics+bluetooth+transmitter

Posted by
3560 posts

The Vatican gave us new (cheapo) wired earbuds that we did not have to return. Since a private company is one step up from that, I don’t think you will be exposed to imaginary diseases from used earphones at all. Worry about handrails and toilet seats instead!

Posted by
95 posts

Stoutfella, this is extremely interesting! I hope it works for you. If you happen to remember this conversation by the time you return from your trip, and if you have time to post again, I would love to know if it worked for you.

Posted by
686 posts

Stoutfella, this is extremely interesting! I hope it works for you. If you happen to remember this conversation by the time you return from your trip, and if you have time to post again, I would love to know if it worked for you.

Adrienne: I'll bookmark the topic and update in May. I got fed up with earphone wires on our VFR tour last year. The noise-canceling earphones I was using included the battery and the noise-canceling electronics in a bulky, awkward pod that I usually clipped to a pocket. Between the three wires for the earphones, the pod clipped to a pocket, the neck strap for the RS audio units, my camera strap and day bag slung over my shoulder, I was forever tangling and snagging and fiddling with it all. I'm definitely hoping this little adapter and my Bluetooth earphones will put an end to much of that.

When is your trip?