Vatican Necropolis

Vatican Necropolis: Our most recommended tours and activities

Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Dome to Underground Grottoes Tour

1. Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Dome to Underground Grottoes Tour

Explore iconic sights in Rome on this guided walking tour. Stroll through St. Peter's square and take in the views of the city from the top of St. Peter's Basilica. Admire artwork like Michelangelo's emotive 'Pietà' statue and go below the Basilica to uncover St. Peter's final resting place. Meet your guide in St. Peter’s Square then start the tour by climbing your way to the top of the Basilica’s dome. Enjoy an exclusive look at the Dome’s impressive mosaics then head further up to the top balcony. From here, marvel at panoramic views across the city, spot the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and other iconic landmarks. Descend into the Basilica and admire its impressive interior and discover why it took 150 years to build. Gaze at the colorful marble, golden ceilings, and intricate mosaics that surround you. Learn about the renowned works of Renaissance and Neoclassic artists that are housed here.  Next, head underground to the Basilica’s historic grottoes and visit St. Peter’s Tomb. Touch the ancient walls of the original 4th-century Basilica and admire its beautiful frescoes. Finish the tour in St. Peter’s Square and soak up its majestic architecture. 

Rome: St. Peter’s Basilica, Dome Climb & Crypts Guided Tour

2. Rome: St. Peter’s Basilica, Dome Climb & Crypts Guided Tour

Experience St. Peter's Basilica from the top of the dome and admire views of the Vatican and Rome. Follow your guide to see the dome's interior and the Vatican crypts. Meet your guide in St. Peter’s Square, then head up to the first level of the dome to the viewing balcony. Admire the array of incredible mosaics depicting the saints, the magnificent Latin scripts which circle the dome, and the top of Bernini’s 3-story canopy below. Listen to your guide share facts and stories about the history of the dome, and everything you need to know about the Dome’s artists and Renaissance splendor. From the first level, take the spiral staircase to the top of the dome and enjoy some free time to explore at your own pace. Then head above the double structure of the dome and pass by windows that give a tantalizing glimpse of the Vatican rooftops below. After 320 steps find yourself on the viewing platform 448 feet above the basilica floor. From the highest point within the Vatican, admire breathtaking and panoramic views of the city, including the Vatican Gardens below. Looking into the distance, you can also marvel at the monuments of ancient Rome, including the Colosseum and the Pantheon. The only point above you is the cross containing the timbers from the True Cross. When you leave the dome there is no need to line up again to get inside the basilica, the stairs bring you directly down to the basilica floor so you can avoid the long lines which you’ll have seen growing across St. Peter’s Square from the top. With your guide, navigate through the basilica, admiring the array of statues, chapels, and pilgrim sites located here, before descending to the underground crypts. Here, you can see where hundreds of popes and members of royalty have been buried since the 11th century.

Private Early Morning Sistine Chapel Tour

3. Private Early Morning Sistine Chapel Tour

Enjoy the Sistine Chapel as Popes and princes did: early in the morning. This private tour offers the perfect environment to explore the Sistine Chapel and other works of incomparable beauty in the Vatican Museums. Your personal guide will help you visualize the cultural context in which such works arose, immersing you in the climate of the Renaissance. This exclusive Vatican private tour will take you to discover this season of human history when the flowering of the arts was accompanied by the evolution of science, together laying the foundations for much of our modern world. This was a period of overwhelming enthusiasm and of amazing innovation. The men of the Renaissance didn't merely dream of changing the world, they  revolutionised it. The printing press, the geographic maps with which Columbus reached the Americas, modern science, architecture, art, and the modern sense of beauty were all creations of the Italian Renaissance.  Some of the the most important works that you will discover, such as timeless Greek masterpieces like the Laocoon, the Belvedere Torso and the Apollo Belvedere, were excavated at the time of Michelangelo and Raphael, who studied and admired them in the same architectural context in which they are preserved today. The artworks that they created are the fruit of their careful study. And so you too will pass through the Pinecone courtyard, the Belvedere courtyard and the tapestry galleries on your Vatican private tour, discovering a selection of masterpieces with a guide capable of recreating the climate of the epoch, helping you to appreciate the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel in their historical context. Please note, the Basilica of St.Peter's may be subject to unscheduled closings and late openings for religious ceremonies. Because these are often last-minute for security reasons, guests will not be notified in advance. Instead, you will be provided with a complete experience by exploring the Vatican Museums in more detail.

In-depth Guided Tour of St. Peter's Basilica & Square

4. In-depth Guided Tour of St. Peter's Basilica & Square

Start your tour in St. Peter's Square and be fascinated by its architectural secrets. Discover the optical illusions as were thought by its designer, Bernini. Enter the Basilica and be amazed by its magnificence. Marvel at the mosaics all around you and see why it took 150 years to rebuild. Walk past renowned masterpieces of Renaissance and Neoclassical art with your expert guide. Stand in front of the harmonious 98.5-foot high canopy, and appreciate the expressive power and delicate beauty of Michelangelo's "Pietà". Conclude your tour by descending to the underground grottoes to see St. Peter's tomb. Touch the ancient walls of the original 4th-century Basilica while you admire the work of the beautiful frescoes within.

Rome: Private 2-Day Guided City Highlights Tour

5. Rome: Private 2-Day Guided City Highlights Tour

Spend 2 days exploring Rome with a guide. Join this private tour to see the Eternal City's most popular attractions, including the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, the Vatican Museums, and much more. Start at the Arch of Constantine, and begin a private Colosseum tour with a top-rated local guide. Learn about the history of this amazing monument, the violence of the games, and the lives of the gladiators. Take a short walk to explore the breathtaking ruins of the Roman Forum.  Next, head to the historic Capitoline Hill and enjoy a break in a bar with a stunning panoramic view of the city. Stop for a hearty lunch in a restaurant recommended by the guide, where you'll sample some delicious local dishes. After lunch, visit the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Sant’Eustachio, Piazza Navona, and Campo de'Fiori. See the Pantheon and Hadrian's Temple. Stroll through the magnificent Piazza Farnese for a memorable end to the first day of your 2-day private tour. Begin the second day with a visit to the Vatican Museums, which boast one of the greatest collections of art in the world. Visit the Belvedere Courtyard, the Raphael Rooms, and the Sistine Chapel, one of the artistic wonders of the world. Hear stories about the composition and the extraordinary life of Michelangelo which will give you a deeper understanding of the frescoes. After lunch in a traditional restaurant, continue your Vatican tour to St. Peter’s Basilica and marvel at the genius of Bernini, who designed the piazza and the immense colonnade. Hear stories and legends of the popes and artists who transformed the Vatican. Lastly, take a short stroll through Borgo Pio, the surviving medieval area of the city. Stop at Castel Sant'Angelo, an imposing fortress that overlooks the Tiber. Climb to the top of the castle for a spectacular view of the river and the Vatican.

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What people are saying about Vatican Necropolis

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 3,412 reviews

The guide was very knowledgeable about the basilica and shared interesting stories about the artwork, sculptures, and popes. We loved the tour of the basilica and grottoes. When it was time to go to the dome we were informed it was not via elevator as the booking information indicated, but climbing to the top through narrow pathways not recommended if claustrophobic. The line to do this was over an hour long so we skipped it. However, we were most interested in the basilica and grottoes so still loved this tour.

Great experience if you can only do one tour of the Vatican. However, if you’re doing the museums, Sistine Chapel, and Basilica tour already, this tour doesn’t add anything except a guided tour of the inside dome which you can get to one your own for $8/10. The underground is available to anyone in the Basilica. Sara was great though and I appreciated a second perspective on the Basilica and underground.

A magnificent place. So much to see having a guide is essential. Regardless of skip the queue access to the Basillica itself, you will queue to go up the Dome. Worth it though.

Fácil de encontrar el punto. Comenzó a la hora prometida en un grupo pequeño. María Consuelo es una gran guía y sabe bastante del lugar.

I loved this tour because I was able to learn so much. Definitely made it more enjoyable than if I would have gone on my own.