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Courtyard of the Pigna

Courtyard of the Pigna: Our most recommended tours and activities

Vatican: Skip-the-Line Vatican Museums Tour with Breakfast

1. Vatican: Skip-the-Line Vatican Museums Tour with Breakfast

Start your day at the Vatican early and skip the notoriously long ticket lines by following a special route through the museums that gets you to the Sistine Chapel just as it opens for the day. Enter before most of the crowd and spend a peaceful half-hour soaking up Michelangelo’s masterpiece along with stunning frescoes by other important Renaissance artists. Continue on to the Pinecone Courtyard for large buffet breakfast including hot and cold dishes, fruit juice, tea, and coffee. Once you’ve eaten your fill, head back into the museums for a tour of the most famous artifacts, including the Belvedere Torso, the Apollo Belvedere, the Laocoön Group, and the Raphael Rooms, widely considered to be among the most beautifully-frescoed interiors in the world. Visit the Gallery of the Candelabra with ancient Greek and Roman artworks. Learn about Raphael Sanzio at the Gallery of Tapestries, one of the most spectacular rooms of the museums.

Vatican Museums Early Entry Tour with Buffet Breakfast

2. Vatican Museums Early Entry Tour with Buffet Breakfast

Have the Vatican to yourself on this exclusive early morning tour that whisks you through closed doors for a buffet breakfast in the peaceful Pinecone Courtyard, before anyone else enters the museums. While the general public waits in line outside, feast on an Italian-American breakfast buffet of cooked-to-order eggs, meats, cheeses, muffins, croissants, fresh fruits, cereals, and even pancakes, flipped by the Vatican's pancake chef. Dining in the beautiful Pinecone Courtyard, alongside one of the Vatican Museums' most beautiful works of modern art, experience a level of tranquility rarely seen by Vatican visitors. Then follow your guide to explore the Vatican Museums. Still closed to the general public, the Museums are quieter now than throughout the rest of the day. With only 10 people per group, have time and space to really appreciate the art. See rooms such as the Hall of Maps, Gallery of the Tapestries, Gallery of the Candelabra and incredible Raphael Rooms. Your guide will bring works of art to life, pointing out things you would have missed on your own. Continue to the legendary Sistine Chapel. Then, skip the ticket lines to enter St. Peter’s Basilica. See the altar and marvel at Michelangelo’s La Pietà sculpture.

Rome: Vatican Gardens Bus Tour and Vatican Museums Visit

3. Rome: Vatican Gardens Bus Tour and Vatican Museums Visit

Explore the green heart of the world’s smallest state on a guided minibus trip to the Vatican Gardens. Admire the lush cultivated areas and discover every single corner. Finish off your experience with a visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Meet your guide and uncover the secrets of this rich verdant space that occupies one-third of the Vatican city's 44 hectares. Hear about how the gardens have been enriched by the initiatives of various Pontiffs and experience a unique encounter with nature, art, and the Christian faith. Find out about the artists, architects, and creators who took care to create this harmonious location. If you're looking for the complete Vatican experience, this tour is perfect for you, with Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel visits to explore all of Vatican City's beauty. See the Hall of Maps, the Pinecone Courtyard, the Gallery of Tapestries, the Gallery of Candelabra, and the incredible Raphael Rooms. Enjoy the definitive highlight of your visit, the Sistine Chapel. Take some time to admire the details, including Michelangelo’s interesting self-portrait.

Rome: Sistine Chapel, Vatican & St. Peters Private Tour

4. Rome: Sistine Chapel, Vatican & St. Peters Private Tour

On this special Vatican tour, you’ll discover the treasures of the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums and St Peter’s Basilica. In the company of one of your expert guides, marvel at masterpieces by Michelangelo and Raphael and explore one of the greatest art collections in the world. Many visitors are rushed through the Sistine Chapel, but on your Sistine Chapel tour, you’ll have time to gaze up at the ceiling and admire the artwork while your guide explains the secrets of Michelangelo’s intricately detailed frescoes. Close to the Sistine Chapel is the suite of private papal apartments known as the Raphael Rooms. These exquisitely decorated rooms contain some of the finest examples of Raphael’s work, including the “School of Athens” - a group portrait of the most famous ancient philosophers. On your visit to the Raphael Rooms, your guide will explain why a young painter from Urbino was chosen for such a prestigious commission, earning admiration and envy. These rooms also provide a fascinating insight into the life of the papal court, as well as the Renaissance fascination with the classical world. Often overlooked by visitors who are in a hurry to get to the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms deserve a more relaxed, contemplative visit; your guide will ensure that you have plenty of time to appreciate Raphael’s works at leisure. Your private visit to the Vatican Museums is a unique opportunity to explore one of the most remarkable art collections in the world. Accompanied by an expert art historian, you’ll learn all about these ancient masterpieces, gaining a greater appreciation of Roman art and understanding why these artworks are so important in the wider context of art history. A walk through the famous Gallery of Maps, Pinecone Courtyard and, Belvedere Courtyard is an unforgettable experience - an opportunity to be completely immersed in more than 2,000-years of art. Although it’s impossible to see the entire extent of the Vatican’s enormous collection, on your Vatican Museums private tour you’ll be able to optimize your time, seeing a selection of unmissable highlights along with some hidden treasures. After exiting the Sistine Chapel, you’ll be able to enter St Peter’s Basilica directly, without having to wait in line. During your visit to St Peter’s Basilica, your guide will tell you the fascinating story of the basilica within the context of Christian history, from its origins as a burial ground to its current state of splendor and international importance.

Rome: Vatican Early Entrance Private Tour

5. Rome: Vatican Early Entrance Private Tour

Enjoy a private tour of the Vatican. Thanks to a new partnership in 2022, you can now be among the first to enter into the Museums, with access reserved for only a handful of other tour operators. Take advantage of exclusive access and viewing of the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel 30 minutes before other tours and 1 hour before the general public. Explore the highlights of the papal palace, from the Greek statues of the Lacoon to the Tapestries and the exquisite Raphael Rooms. Tailor your visit to include the aspects of the collections you want to see, whether in the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, or St. Peter’s Basilica. Your personal guide will not only enlighten you with the Vatican’s fascinating history, but share bits of papal gossip and little-known stories about the popes and artists represented.

Vatican City: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Night Ticket

6. Vatican City: Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Night Ticket

Explore the Vatican Museums at night. Admire the Sistine Chapel and also check out other parts of the collection including the Hall of Maps, the Pinecone Courtyard, the Gallery of Tapestries, the Gallery of Candelabra, and the incredible Raphael Rooms. Take some time to admire the details of the Sistine Chapel that you may have heard about, including Michelangelo’s boneless self-portrait, in which he expresses to the world that he would rather be skinned alive than paint the Sistine Chapel again. Take the time to check out some of the lesser-known gems of the Vatican Museums like the Hall of Maps, the Pinecone Courtyard, the Gallery of Tapestries, the Gallery of Candelabra, and the incredible Raphael Rooms.

Rome: Vatican City and Sistine Chapel Guided Tour

7. Rome: Vatican City and Sistine Chapel Guided Tour

Enjoy a comprehensive tour of the Vatican City and see some of the highlights from the papal collection in the miles of galleries that form the Vatican Museums. Marvel at masterpieces of art from across the centuries on an itinerary focused on the most important areas of the museum. Go to the Cortile della Pigna (Pine Cone Courtyard) to see the fountain of a pine cone that once stood next to the Temple of Isis. Marvel at the octagonal courtyard of the Cortile Ottagono. Next, go to the Gallery of the Candelabra to see some 2nd-century candelabra from Otricoli. Continue to the Gallery of Tapestries to admire Flemish tapestries by some of Raphael’s students. Discover historic maps of the world in the Gallery of Maps, before visiting one of the most beautiful Renaissance rooms in the world. Enter the apartments that Raphael painted for Julius II, before going to the private chambers of the Borgia Pope Alexander VI. Enter the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo's masterpiece frescoes and ceiling painting of the “Last Judgment.” Then, go inside the Basilica of St. Peter to experience the grandeur and spirituality of one of the world’s most important cathedrals. Discover a treasure trove of art contained within, such as the “Pietà” by Michelangelo and “St. Peter's Baldachin” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

Rome: Hop-on Hop-off Bus & Vatican Museums Ticket

8. Rome: Hop-on Hop-off Bus & Vatican Museums Ticket

Discover Rome at your own pace with a combined 24 or 48-hour ticket for the official hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus, and a skip-the-line entrance ticket to the Vatican Museums in the Vatican City. Have fast-track entry to the Vatican Museums which means more time exploring the world’s most extensive collection of art, and less time waiting in the famously long lines. Once inside, wander the galleries at your own pace, and see masterpieces of art by celebrated artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael, and more. Marvel at the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, and see ancient cartography in the Hall of Maps. Go to the Pinecone Courtyard and the Gallery of Candelabras. From the open-top bus, you will enjoy privileged views of the Eternal City’s main sights, including the Spanish Steps, Colosseum, and Imperial Forum. Why not throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain or sip an authentic Italian coffee in Piazza Navona – the choice is yours. Hop on or off at any of the stops listed below: • Via Marsala • Santa Maria Maggiore • Colosseo • Circo Massimo • Piazza Venezia • Vaticano • Fontana di Trevi • Piazza Barberini

Rome: Skip-The-Line Vatican Museums Sistine Chapel St.Peter

9. Rome: Skip-The-Line Vatican Museums Sistine Chapel St.Peter

Navigate through a vast complex of rooms, artwork, and history with a licensed guide on this walking tour of the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and St. Peter's Square. Start your walking tour in front of the Vatican museums. Admire collections like the Maps Room and the Tapestries Hall. Appreciate masterpieces like Raphael’s 'Transfiguration' and 'The School of Athens.' Listen as your guide tells you tales of Vatican intrigue as you pass through spaces like the Courtyard of Pigna, the Octagonal Courtyard, the Pio Clementino Museum, the Gallery of Animals, and the Gallery of Muses. Spend time contemplating the statues in the Candelabra Gallery or the masterpieces in the Raphael Rooms. Make your way to the frescos that decorate the Sistine Chapel ceiling and take a stop at The Last Judgment by Michelangelo. Hear about the history of this chapel before heading to St Peter's Basilica. Marvel at this renowned work of Renaissance architecture by masters like Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Finish your tour with a stroll inside St. Peter's Basilica.

Rome: Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Tour with Breakfast

10. Rome: Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Tour with Breakfast

Enjoy the chance to admire the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel before it’s open to the public on this guided tour. Explore Renaissance masterpieces, see Michelangelo’s frescoes at your leisure with this exclusive VIP experience that includes a tasty breakfast. Meet your guide inside the Vatican Museum to begin your tour. First, walk around the Pio Clementino Museum, which has twelve different rooms that showcase priceless works of art. Next, see the Roman and Greek sculptures before walking through the Gallery of the Candelabras.   Explore the Gallery of Tapestries and the Gallery of Maps. Each of these rooms contains ornate ceilings with the walls decorated with ancient statues, frescoes, and tapestries. Finally, walk through the impressive Sistine Chapel and admire paintings by Perugino, Pinturicchio, Ghirlandaio, and of course, Michelangelo. See the iconic Michelangelo's fresco. End the tour tucking into a tasty American breakfast at the Cortile della Pigna. After breakfast, the guided tour will end, but you can continue walking around the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel at your own pace. 

Other Sightseeing Options in Courtyard of the Pigna

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What people are saying about Courtyard of the Pigna

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 10,693 reviews

Tour starts with a breakfast. Main areas are far from empty, but you will have sufficient space to appreciate the Vatican. The guide was extremely knowledgeable and friendly. Most of the tour is spent looking at art, and the guide gives a very good run down of the main pieces you'll see, the history, and Easter eggs you may miss at first glance. Highly recommended.

Early start, breakfast was nice and plentiful, the museum and chapel were less crowded than previous visits as we were through so early. The guide was very knowledgeable and catered for everyone on the tour. Well worth the money, I wouldn’t do it any other way now!

Our guide was wonderful. She explained everything and was informative with a good personality.

Amazing!! Breakfast was great and your guide was awesome, would definitely recommend doing

Our guide was so wonderful and made sure our tour was perfect.