Vatican tour guide

Has anyone used a tour guide from the official Museum site? You can pre book tickets and also a tour guide. It doesn't give specifics of how many people are in the group. Just wondering if anyone has done this recently. Thanks for your thoughts and help!

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
5050 posts

Usually up to 25 people. Groups over 7 people must use headphones. Official on-site guides are good to excellent but the museums will be packed during the day in summer.

Posted by marie
west Chester, PA
71 posts

Zoe,

have you used the official tour guides or know anyone who has? I heard conflicting reports of everything from terrible (can't hear with the headphones, etc) to fabulous. Also, if you are with a vatican museum guide can you go out the doors in the Sistine chapel reserved for tour groups? Or do you have to go back and return head phones? I don't mind the walk, it is just trying to figure out when to do this. Also, Fridays evenings the museum is opened late, even without a tour group. What are your thoughts on this?
Thank you in advance

Posted by amyf
seattle
33 posts

Last month we did the tour. There were about 25 people in our group; maybe a few less. We had no problem hearing the person (through the earphones). The equipment was returned to the tour person prior to entering the Sistine Chapel. We (the four of us) exited through the "group tour" door on the right side. No one was there to question us.
Forgot to add - the tour was good. I would recommend anyone visiting the museum to do it. It's a massive museum. The tour guide was informative and personable.

Posted by marie
west Chester, PA
71 posts

amyf

so you did the vatican tour guide from their website? we will be a party of 6 adults, just checking. The other tours seem so expensive. We have been to the vatican museums years ago, but the others never.

thank you!

Posted by amyf
seattle
33 posts

Marie - yes, we (myself, 70 yr old parents and 20 yr old daughter) did the tour on a Tuesday, end of May booked through the Vatican website. We did the 12:30 tour. I'm sure the "outside" companies do a good tour but I couldn't justify the difference in price.

Posted by amyf
seattle
33 posts

Also, you do have the option of breaking off from the group anytime during the tour (as long as you give the guide the headset pack). Also, the confirmation email stated something about showing ID when picking up the tickets. We were never asked to show ID.

Posted by marie
west Chester, PA
71 posts

Thank you for the information. I was thinking the same thing, I couldn't justify the price difference between the official guides and outside tourist groups. I didn't realize you could break away from the group and also was concerned about not being able to leave through the sistine chapel directly to st peter's.

Posted by Deanna
Piedmont Triad, NC
161 posts

@ Marie - We were in Rome a couple of years ago, and found that for our family of five, it was less expensive to book a private tour guide for the Vatican than to book a group tour. Our guide was fantastic and it was just our family…so if she saw my kids' eyes glazing over, she quickly moved us on, and when they were fully engaged and interested, she spent extra time in those rooms. You might want to check into this option since you have a party of six. Her email is federica.dorazio@gmail.com. Whichever way you decide to go, I hope you have a wonderful trip!

Posted by tmohmc
14 posts

amyf - Which tour did you do and were there any areas you wished it included? Did you stay after the tour and if so, why? It seems that the museum guided tours (from reading the discriptions) include mostly the same rooms. Would the audio tour expand what is covered?

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
2902 posts

If you take the official tour you can remain inside the museums until closing time if you wish. You can then visit any rooms not included on the tour. The tour visits the most popular rooms so some of the smaller rooms aren't on it. You can certainly rent an audio guide after the tour if you choose.

Donna

Posted by marie
west Chester, PA
71 posts

Thank you all for the information, it is a great help!

Posted by amyf
seattle
33 posts

I never thought about which rooms we didn't see. We did the tour of the Museum. We did "sneak" out of the tour group door in the Sistine Chapel. The tour lasted a good 2 hours before we entered the Chapel. We didn't feel like we missed anything important. We saw quite a bit. The guide spent a good amount of time in the Rafael room, which was very interesting. There's a "modern" exhibit between the Rafael room and the Chapel that isn't part of the tour. We breezed through it and in hindsight, should have spent more time.

Posted by marie
west Chester, PA
71 posts

one more question...it seems that some of the private tour groups are advertising exclusive rights to the Friday evening tours and when I look at the official Vatican Museum website, this is something that they offer to everyone on Friday evenings during high season. Anyone else see this or am I interpreting this incorrectly? Also, does the museum close between 6 and 7 pm on Friday evening?