Vatican & St. Peter’s Basilica and Vatacombs Tour

1.712 Reviews
from €137.34 EUR
Duration: 3-3.5 Hours
 Organized by: Italia Tours

See among the most important collections of art in the world at the Vatican Museums, which consist of more than 1,200 rooms. This tour include the Rooms of Raphael, the Sistine Chapel and the ancient Roman and ancient Greek masterpieces in the Belvedere Courtyard. Enjoy skip-the-line access to maximize your time, and enhance your experience with a knowledgeable guide leading the way.

Experience Vatican City’s Highlights with Skip-the-Line Access

Avoid the hassle of waiting in long ticket lines and spend more time exploring the incredible treasures of Vatican City. With our exclusive skip-the-line access, you’ll be granted fast entry to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

Uncover the Vatican Museums’ Most Captivating Art and Architecture

Discover the fascinating history and stunning art of the Vatican Museums with an expert guide by your side. You’ll be led through the museum’s most noteworthy sections, including the Gallery of Maps, Gallery of Tapestries, and the breathtaking Raphael Rooms. Each area is adorned with captivating masterpieces by renowned artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael, and Caravaggio.

Vatican & St. Peter’s Basilica and Vatacombs Tour

Vatican & St. Peter’s Basilica and Vatacombs Tour

Marvel at Michelangelo’s Masterpiece in the Sistine Chapel

Experience the awe-inspiring beauty of Michelangelo’s iconic frescoes, including “The Last Judgment” and the “Creation of Adam”, in the Sistine Chapel. Your guide will provide insights into the history and significance of these world-famous works of art.

Explore the Majestic St. Peter’s Basilica

Continue your journey to the heart of Vatican City with a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the world’s most sacred sites. Admire the stunning architecture and art, including Michelangelo’s “La Pieta” and Bernini’s “Baldachin.” Your guide will share stories about the basilica’s history and the notable figures buried within its walls.

Vatican & St. Peter’s Basilica and Vatacombs Tou

Vatican & St. Peter’s Basilica and Vatacombs Tour

Discover the Papal Tombs’ Rich History and Artwork

Complete your Vatican City experience with a rare visit to the Papal Tombs, the final resting place of numerous popes and royals. Immerse yourself in the spiritual atmosphere as you explore the intricate sarcophagi, frescoes, and tombs near St. Peter’s burial site.

Papal tombs in Vatican are some of the most significant religious and historical sites in the world. These burial sites, dedicated to the Popes who have shaped the Catholic Church and its history, are known for their artistic beauty and architectural grandeur.

The tradition of papal tombs dates back to the early Christian period when the first bishops of Rome, later known as Popes, were buried in catacombs or simple underground chambers. The most famous of these early tombs is that of St. Peter, the first Pope, whose remains are believed to be buried beneath St. Peter’s Basilica.

During the Middle Ages, papal tombs evolved into more elaborate structures adorned with intricate carvings, mosaics, and frescoes. The Popes of this period were often buried in the churches they founded or renovated, which led to the creation of several remarkable tombs in Rome and other cities.

The Renaissance period saw a significant shift in the art and architecture of papal tombs. Renowned artists such as Michelangelo and Bernini were commissioned to create grand and elaborate tombs, turning them into masterpieces of sculpture and design. These tombs were often placed in prominent locations within the Vatican, elevating their importance as symbols of papal power and prestige.

In modern times, the tradition of constructing elaborate tombs for Popes has continued, with each new tomb reflecting the artistic and architectural trends of its time. Today, many of these tombs can be visited in the Vatican Grottoes, a vast underground necropolis beneath St. Peter’s Basilica.

Significant Papal Tombs in Vatican

  • St. Peter’s Tomb: The tomb of St. Peter, the first Pope, is considered the most significant papal tomb in Vatican. Located beneath the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica, this sacred site is believed to house the remains of St. Peter himself. The tomb is adorned with a bronze statue of St. Peter, and countless pilgrims visit it each year to pay their respects.
  • Tomb of Pope Alexander VII: Created by the renowned sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the tomb of Pope Alexander VII is a masterpiece of Baroque art. Located in St. Peter’s Basilica, this monument features a grand sarcophagus made of marble and adorned with statues of virtues, such as charity and prudence. The tomb is further embellished by an allegorical representation of death, symbolized by a bronze skeleton holding an hourglass.
  • Tomb of Pope Innocent VIII: The tomb of Pope Innocent VIII, located in the Cappella Sistina of St. Peter’s Basilica, is another significant papal tomb in Vatican. Designed by the Italian architect and sculptor Antonio del Pollaiuolo, this tomb showcases a combination of bronze and marble elements, with the recumbent figure of Pope Innocent VIII surrounded by statues of saints and angels.
  • Tomb of Pope Julius II: Commissioned by Pope Julius II himself, his tomb was initially meant to be an ambitious project designed by Michelangelo. However, due to various delays and changes in plans, the final tomb was downsized and eventually completed by Michelangelo’s students. Despite the changes, the tomb still features some of Michelangelo’s work, including the famous sculpture of Moses. Today, the tomb can be visited in the church of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome.
  • Tomb of Pope Paul III: The tomb of Pope Paul III, designed by Guglielmo della Porta, is located in St. Peter’s Basilica. This impressive monument features a central sarcophagus with the recumbent figure of Pope Paul III, surrounded by allegorical figures representing Justice, Prudence, and other virtues. The tomb is considered one of the finest examples of Mannerist sculpture in Rome.

Art and Architecture of Papal Tombs


Throughout history, papal tombs have been adorned with remarkable sculptures created by some of the most renowned artists of their time. These sculptures often depict the Pope in a recumbent position, surrounded by allegorical figures representing virtues or religious themes. The tombs of Pope Alexander VII and Pope Innocent VIII, for example, showcase the artistic prowess of masters like Bernini and Pollaiuolo.


Mosaics have also played a significant role in the decoration of papal tombs, particularly during the early Christian and Byzantine periods. These intricate designs, made from small pieces of glass or stone, often adorned the walls and floors of tombs, depicting scenes from the lives of the Popes or religious motifs.


Frescoes, another common form of decoration in papal tombs, are paintings executed on wet plaster. This technique allows the pigments to become part of the plaster, resulting in a durable and vibrant artwork. Papal tombs from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance often featured frescoes that depicted scenes from the Bible or the lives of the Popes.

Tips for Visitors

When visiting the papal tombs in Vatican, it is essential to follow some basic guidelines to ensure a smooth and respectful experience. Proper attire, covering shoulders and knees, is required for entry into St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Grottoes. Additionally, visitors should maintain a respectful silence when exploring these sacred spaces. Guided tours are available for those interested in learning more about the history and significance of the tombs, and it is recommended to book tickets in advance to avoid long queues.

The papal tombs in Vatican offer a unique window into the history of the Catholic Church, its leaders, and the artistic heritage that has been nurtured over the centuries. These sacred sites, showcasing masterpieces of sculpture, mosaics, and frescoes, provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Popes and the artistic movements that shaped their tombs. A visit to the Vatican Grottoes and St. Peter’s Basilica, where many of these tombs are located, is an unforgettable experience for anyone interested in art, history, or religion.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. How many papal tombs are there in Vatican? There are over 100 papal tombs in Vatican, including those located in the Vatican Grottoes and within St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • 2. Are all the Popes buried in Vatican? While many Popes are buried in Vatican, not all of them are. Some Popes have been buried in other locations, such as the church of San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome, where the tomb of Pope Julius II is located.
  • 3. Can anyone visit the papal tombs in Vatican? Yes, the papal tombs in Vatican are open to the public, though visitors must follow guidelines for proper attire and behavior. It is recommended to book tickets in advance and consider joining a guided tour for a more informative experience.
  • 4. What is the most famous papal tomb in Vatican? The most famous papal tomb in Vatican is the tomb of St. Peter, the first Pope, located beneath the high altar of St. Peter’s Basilica. This sacred site is visited by countless pilgrims each year.
  • 5. Who are some of the artists responsible for the art and architecture of papal tombs? Renowned artists such as Michelangelo, Bernini, Antonio del Pollaiuolo, and Guglielmo della Porta have all contributed to the art and architecture of papal tombs in Vatican. Their masterpieces can be found in various tombs, including those of Pope Alexander VII, Pope Innocent VIII, and Pope Paul III.

Reserve Your Tour Today

Embark on this incredible Vatican City tour and uncover the rich history, art, and architecture that have made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Reserve your spot now and create lasting memories as you experience the splendor and beauty of Vatican City’s most iconic attractions.

What's Included
  • Skip-the-line entry to the Vatican Museums
  • Skip-the-line entry to the Sistine Chapel
  • Skip-the-line entry to St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Expert, multilingual guide
  • Headsets for clear audio
  • Wi-Fi at the meeting point
  • Recharging station for mobile devices
Cancellation Policy

Free cancellation up to 1 day before tour starts.

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