Pinecone courtyard

First Main Courtyard in Vatican
The Pinecone Courtyard, or the Cortile della Pigna, is the first main courtyard you pass through on your way to the Sistine Chapel.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Rome
Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, in Vatican City and the official residence of the pope.
Pieta' by Michelangelo
The Pietà or "The Pity" (1498–1499) is a work of Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City.
Vatican Secret Rooms
With your guide, you will have access to the hidden passageways and secret rooms of Vatican Museum.
Gallery of Tapestries
Take time to explore the Gallery of the Tapestries.
Gallery of Maps
Become immersed in the grandeur of the Gallery of Maps.
Bernini's Baldachin
St Peter's Baldachin, or Baldacchino

Related Tours

Vatican & Sistine Chapel: Family-Friendly Private Half-Day Tour

Explore the world-famous Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel with a private guide and learn about Vatican City and the history of the papacy through its extensive collection of art, archaeology and anthropology artefacts gathered by the Popes over the centuries.

On your family-friendly private tour, you will:

  • Enjoy the personalised attention of a private tour guide, who will tailor the tour to your family’s interest, to make it engaging for children and teens;
  • Visit parts of the museums not usually seen including the Egyptian Museum, and the Carriage Museum;
  • Explore the Egyptian gallery, to see well-preserved mummies and learn all about Egyptian funerals;
  • See the amazing carriage pavilion - which still smells of old leather and horses, see centuries-old carriages used by Popes on ceremonial occasions and old horse liveries and uniforms; 
  • Walk down the halls of busts and statues, filled with ancient statues of gods, heroes, and wealthy Roman men and women, to learn all about life and fashions in ancient Rome;
  • See the famous Laocoön and Apollo statues;
  • Walk the galleries of Candelabras - filled with ancient statues, the Raphael Tapestries, and the dazzling 16th century frescoed Maps;
  • Marvel at the astounding works of Michelangelo Buonarroti as you enter the Sistine Chapel;
  • See if you can find some naughty jokes that Michelangelo hid in his art - that the pope didn't see - but your guide will show you;
  • End the tour inside the Vatican Museums, where you can grab something to eat at one of the family-friendly pizzerias, and keep exploring at your own leisure, or exit the museums with your guide. 


Vatican City is the smallest country in the world, yet one of the most culturally rich places on earth! The Vatican Museums are home to some of the world's most admired and valued works of art - many of which are frescos and so immovable - such as the Sistine Chapel.

Your private, family-friendly tour will ensure you see all the usual highlights of the Vatican Museums, but also some areas not often seen on guided tours that will really engage your younger family members, such as the Carriage Museum and the Egyptian Gallery.

The Carriage Museum still smells of horses and is where you will see a huge array of ceremonial carriages, sedan chairs - and the more modern pope mobiles! The Egyptian museum contains fascinating funereal relics of ancient Egypt - including a well-preserved mummy.

You'll also see famous statues such as the Apollo and Laocoön in the Belvedere Courtyard, before walking down the long galleries of the Raphael Tapestries and dazzling Gallery of the Maps.

Finally, enter the Sistine Chapel - the awe-inspiring work of Michelangelo, and perhaps the most remarkable masterpiece in the entire history of art.

Your guide will explain the meaning, symbolism, and brilliance of Michelangelo's work, pointing out a few hidden jokes that Michelangelo - who often fought with the pope - left in the frescos! 

The Best of the Vatican and St Peter's Basilica: Private Tour

On this tour of the home of the Catholic Church, you will have the opportunity to visit the important landmarks with major significance to Catholics. Hear about the tumultuous history of the Church and the colourful popes who reside behind these sturdy walls.

On your private tour, you will:

  • Discover the Highlights of the Vatican Museums, including the Pinecone courtyard, The Laocoön, the Room of the Maps, and Raphael Rooms;
  • Marvel at the works of Michelangelo Buonarroti, including the Creation of Man and the Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel, the ‘Sculpture of the Pieta' in St. Peter's and of course the magnificent Dome of the Basilica;
  • Explore St. Peter's Basilica, the largest church in the world, and see the precious marbles and artworks, including Bernini's famed Baldachin!;  
  • Your tour ends at St Peter's Square, where you can keep exploring at your own leisure. 


Vatican City is considered the centre of the Roman Catholic Church and is undoubtedly one of the most historically and culturally rich cities in the world. As the world’s smallest independent state, situated in the centre of Rome, Vatican City is home to the Swiss Guards – tasked with protecting the Pope; St. Peter’s Basilica – the centre of the Catholic world; St. Peter’s Square – a large plaza situated in front of St. Peter’s Basilica; Sistine Chapel – the official residence of the Pope; and Vatican Museums – home to paintings and sculptures collected by the Popes for hundreds of years.

The stunning St. Peter’s Basilica is the centrepiece of Vatican City, and its huge dome can be seen on the Roman skyline from most points in the city. Although not the mother church of the Catholic Church, it is its largest and holiest shrine and an important place of pilgrimage.

Then, your comprehensive tour of Vatican Museums will whisk you through the entire complex. Begin with a stroll through the impressive Belvedere Courtyard, before exploring the many rooms and galleries of the museums. Explore the Gallery of Tapestries, and the Gallery of Maps, and be mesmerised by Michelangelo’s great frescoes inside the Sistine Chapel.

Vatican Museums & The Sistine Chapel: Private 2.5 hr Walking Tour

Discover the dazzling treasures of the Vatican Museums, including world-famous antiquities, frescoes by Renaissance maestro Raphael, and of course the magnificence of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel on this private 2.5-hour tour. 

 

On your private tour you will: 

 

  • Explore the Vatican Museums in Vatican City – the smallest country in the world, home to the Catholic Church and the Pope himself;
  • See all the major highlights of these extensive museums with fascinating commentary from your guide; 
  • Admire some of the world’s best-known classical sculptures such as the Apollo Belvedere and the Laocoön;
  • Learn all about the Renaissance of Ancient Greece and Rome;
  • Marvel at the skill of the Gallery of Tapestries and the exquisite Gallery of Maps;
  • Learn the fascinating, complex, and sometimes scandalous history of the papacy;
  • Enjoy the masterpieces by Raphael in Pope Julius II’s private apartments and learn all about the life and times of the Warrior Pope
  • Hear all about the famous rivalry between Raphael and Michelangelo;
  • Stand beneath the awe-inspiring frescos on the Sistine Chapel walls and admire the Last Judgment by Michelangelo on the whole altar wall;
  • End inside the Vatican Museums to continue at your own leisure or exit with your guide.

Vatican City, located in the heart of Rome, is an independent city-state, and the smallest country in the world. It is the heart of the Roman Catholic Church and the traditional home of the Pope.

The Vatican Museums with its hallowed halls and galleries, lined with world-famous priceless artefacts, antiquities, and art, is also home to works by the two Renaissance maestros and rivals Raphael and Michaelangelo.

Your highlights tour of the Vatican Museums will whisk you through the galleries ensuring you see the most renowned pieces. You will see the Belvedere Courtyard with the Appollo Belvedere and Laocoön sculptures, explore the Gallery of Tapestries with designs of the life of Christ by Raphael and the exquisitely frescoed Gallery of the Maps.

You'll hear all about the life and papacy of Pope Julius II who commissioned Raphael to paint his private apartments and Michaelangelo to paint the Sistine Ceiling. Your guide will show you the Raphael Rooms with the School of Athens fresco that would set a new standard in the art world, followed finally by the truly awe-inspiring and magnificent Sistine Chapel with those astounding frescoes painted by Michelangelo in his thirties and later his sixties.

Admire the Creation of Adam on the Ceiling and the perfection of the human form with the 392 bodies in the Last Judgement. Most of us have seen reproductions of the Sistine Chapel, but nothing beats the real thing!

Your guide will give you fascinating in-depth explanations, stories, and analyses of Michelangelo's life and masterpieces.

Your tour ends inside the Vatican Museums.

Please note this tour does not visit St. Peter's Basilica. It ends inside the Vatican Museums, allowing you to spend as long as you wish inside to get food and keep exploring at your own leisure. 
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