Vatican Grottoes

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Vatican Grottoes: 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 thorugh 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, Square and Grottoes Guided Tour

2. Rome: St. Peter's Basilica, Square and Grottoes Guided Tour

Embark on a guided tour of Rome to discover the history and the secrets of St. Peter's Basilica, the largest Basilica in the world. Admire the stunning architecture, famous artworks, and visit the Papal Grottoes. After meeting your guide, explore the wonders that fill the Basilica. Follow your guide as you discover the past of St. Peter’s Basilica and marvel at its grand interior, covered in gold and breathtaking colors. See the artworks that were created by Michelangelo, Bernini, and Bramante, a focal point for religion and a representative of the beauty of the Renaissance and Baroque eras. After visiting the Basilica, head to the Papal Grottoes, where the previous pontiffs were buried. Get indications to visit the St. Peter’s Dome on request at the end of the tour. Before entering the Basilica there is a mandatory security check, therefore this might cause the creation of a queue that cannot be skipped.

Vatican City: Early Dome Climb with St. Peter’s Basilica

3. Vatican City: Early Dome Climb with St. Peter’s Basilica

Your tour will start early in the morning in Vatican City, the smallest nation in the world. Meet your licensed, English-speaking guide at the Fountain of the Tiare (Fontana delle Tiare), where you will be accompanied to witness the St. Peter’s Basilica Dome, the tallest Dome in the world. Start the climb to the Dome while listening to the fascinating facts and stories narrated by your guide. Avoid the 231 steps and take the elevator to the first level of the Dome, where the doors will open to the wonder that is Michelangelo’s Dome. From here you will get to admire the views of the interiors of the Basilica from above. Gaze upon the incredible mosaics, the amazing Latin Scripts up close and explore the roof of the basilica. Start you climb up 320 steps on this beautifully crafted and narrow spiral staircase to the very top of the Dome. This quite tiresome climb up will surely be worthwhile the energy spent to reach the top. You will get to admire the view from the highest place within the Vatican. This breathtakingly beautiful panoramic view of the Vatican City, its gorgeous gardens and ancient Rome that includes the Colosseum and the Pantheon will be a once in a lifetime opportunity. After having admired this splendid panoramic view from what will seem to be and feel as the “top of the world”, you will be able to descend to the St. Peter’s Basilica floors completely avoiding the long and tiresome lines outside. Let your guide accompany you through the beauty that is this marvelous architectural piece admired and revered by the entire world. The Basilica is the largest church in the world and the heart of Christianity, a place of pilgrimage in which millions of people gather every year. Prepare to be enchanted by this baroque masterpiece designed by Bernini and Bramante and to admire breathtaking art works like Michelangelo’s Pietà sculpture.This magnificent creation of Michelangelo is said to have been the perfect sculpture that helped launch his career unlike any previous work he had done. The scene of the Pieta shows the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Christ after his crucifixion, death, and removal from the cross, but before he was placed in the tomb. This is one of the key events from the life of the Virgin, known as the Seven Sorrows of Mary, which were the subject of Catholic devotional prayers, it is also said to be the only piece Michelangelo ever signed. Having soaked up the splendor that is this wonderful basilica, make your way down to the Vatican Grottoes also known as the Papal Tombs. Located inside the Grottoes are the tombs of over 90 Popes, a few monarchs and other church dignitaries, which dates to the 10th century. The Vatican Grottoes is considered to be the most visited place in Vatican City and is an absolute must -see of this glorious nation.

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: Vatican, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Guided Tour

5. Rome: Vatican, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Guided Tour

On this unique full day Vatican Tour, you will see much more than on regular tours, and at a pace that allows you to take it all in without getting tired. Starting in the Vatican Museums, where we include more galleries than the typical itinerary, including the Raphael Rooms, the Egyptian Gallery and the Pinacoteca, you will see many more treasures from the Vatican collection, including masterpieces by some of the most famous names in the art world - Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Caravaggio, Titian, Perugino, Botticelli, Giotto and others. Take a break for a relaxing lunch in the Vatican Gardens before continuing the tour to St Peter’s Basilica (unch not included in the tour fee). Your local expert guide will explain the design, construction and history of St Peter’s Basilica and the Square. Learn about the architects involved in the project - Michelangelo, Bernini, Raphael, Bramante and others - and the popes they worked for. This in-depth tour of the Basilica allows you to take in much more than the typical itinerary. We take you to all corners of the Basilica, including underground to the Grottoes, where many former Popes have been buried, including Pope John Paul II. At the end of your tour, you will have the option of climbing the steps to the Dome by yourselves - your guide will be happy to assist you with this.

Other Sightseeing Options in Vatican Grottoes

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What people are saying about Vatican Grottoes

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 2,531 reviews

We have enjoyed all 2 hours with our guide Zito Alessio. It was very informative, awesome tour. Alessio was very knowledgeable and passionate about his tour and never made us feel bored during the tour. Recommend this tour.

booked the German tour and there were only four of us. Mariecella was great and with her knowledge she also made the "queuing time" at the security checks entertaining. We would book them again in a heartbeat!

The guide with a lot of experience and knowledge that has been transmitted step by step, calmly but quickly and giving the necessary times. Well, spectacular dome and the Basilica without comment. Thanks.

Good guide. Security wait line was long and hot…she kept us entertained throughout.

Very competent tour guide. Tour was very impressive. We were absolutely thrilled