New: VIP Access into the Vatican’s Behind the Scenes Gems

The Bramante staircase, visitable on our brand-new tour (photo credit: Erica Firpo of

There are more than 1,200 rooms in the Vatican complex. Many—including some of the most important and stunning, like the Niccoline Chapel or Cabinet of the Masks—aren’t open to the public.

Until now.

The Vatican’s lovely “Three Graces”

It’s now possible to visit these hidden, locked rooms of the Vatican museums… on our VIP Access: Vatican Behind the Scenes & Sistine Chapel tour.

On this brand-new experience, clients travel with a Vatican guard, who opens locked doors and lifts velvet ropes into normally off-limits rooms and places.

And what you get to see, which other visitors simply don’t, is incredible. Like the Scala del Bramante, the world-famous spiral stairs designed by the architect of St. Peter’s Basilica. Or the Loggia Scoperta, a terrace with a stunning view.

Or the Gabinetto delle Maschere, with its ancient Roman mosaics, taken from Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli, and its ancient statues, including the seminal Three Graces (left).

But the pièce de résistance has to be the Niccoline Chapel. This was the papal chapel before the Sistine Chapel. Frescoed by Fra Angelico, one of the most influential painters of the 15th century, the paintings here are breathtaking and some of the most important of the early Renaissance.

The Niccoline Chapel (photo credit: Erica Firpo of

Oh, and did we mention that you explore all of this with an expert equally well-versed in art history and in Vatican scandal, as well as in a maximum group of just 10 people?

We’re the only ones who offer this particular, and unique, exploration of the Vatican. And we couldn’t be more excited about it.

Here are some more photographs of what you can expect to see in this behind-the-scenes Vatican tour:

The Loggia Scoperta, where you get a great view over the Vatican (photo credit: Erica Firpo of

Ancient statue of Aphrodite in the Gabinetto delle Maschere (photo credit: Erica Firpo of

The Niccoline Chapel

The papal toilet, something else you don’t see in the “normal,” open parts of the Vatican! (Photo credit: Maddie DeWitt of


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7 Responses to New: VIP Access into the Vatican’s Behind the Scenes Gems

  1. Nathalie (@spacedlaw) June 15, 2012 at 7:10 am #

    It bears repeating: this is a wonderful tour.

  2. Claire August 3, 2012 at 2:14 am #

    is it possible to see this only on your tour?

    • walksofitaly August 3, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

      Hi Claire,
      As far as we know, yes. Here’s more on the tour (and on a similar, but much more expensive, version of it you can do with another company) from blogger Revealed Rome.

  3. Stacie April 3, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    The links to this tour seem to be inactive. Is it still available?

    • walksofitaly April 7, 2013 at 11:09 am #

      Hi Stacie,
      Unfortunately, the Vatican is no longer offering this as a viable option, so we’re unable to continue to run it. We’re crossing our fingers this might change, so check back again in the future. In the meantime, our brand-new Vatican After Hours tour is an even more exclusive way to visit the Vatican—you can be in the Sistine Chapel when it’s closed to the public! Let us know if we can answer anything else!

      • Walks of Italy July 16, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

        Good news: We are now offering a new version of this behind-the-scenes Vatican tour! You can read about it here. We’re very thrilled to be able to offer a version of this tour again!


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