Our tour guide, Micela, was wonderful and very knowledgeable. The only downside was that it took a long time to get into the museum, probably a half hour, even with skip the line access, it was hot inside the museum and rooms July!, and everything was extremely crowded during our afternoon tour, which of course was no fault of the guide. We should have gone on an early morning tour. We only hit the highlights of the museum which made me wonder what else we missed. We had a lovely time though!
I've been to the Vatican twice before, the first time...50 years ago, the second time, 25 years ago for work. This time the experience was overwhelming with the crowds and lack of air flow. I never got to St. Peter's Basilica because I'd been told that there was a direct door to the Basilica from the Museum. There might have been but none of the Museum employees would tell me, they all said that I'd have to leave the Museum and enter through the front entrance. We left, the walk would have been horrible in the heat so we ditched the idea.
However, that being said...Adrianna, our tour guide was wonderful. She told us many details about the art that I'd never heard before and was very conscious of the terrible heat and made sure we knew where to get water and use the ever necessary toilets. The meeting place wasn't clearly marked but we connected on our own with the rest of the group and eventually found Adrianna. The wait to get into the Museum was long even with skip the line because the Vatican staff are extremely rigid about entrance times....to the minute.
If I were to go again, I'd go at a different time of the year to skip the crowds inside and out.
Our Tour Guide Barbara was informative and an effective communicator. She clearly knew her way around the Vatican. Unfortunately, we went on a day when 30,000 tickets were sold to enter the Vatican. Skipping the line was a 'joke'. Every tour company there, in line with us, was not skipping ahead unless they were rude and bad mannered. It takes hours to move that many people through small corridors.
The Vatican is impressive, but I wanted to experience it. This was a long slow walk through elbows and hips to catch glimpses of things.
June 30 was a bad day to be there.
I am giving this a 5 star review because of our guide Frederico. He had such a vast knowledge of the Vatican and was able to tell us amazing stories and history details. We did an early tour and I recommend going early or late because it is so crowded on this tour. Even during a non peak season, it was super crowded. I don't think I would do this tour again as I was underwhelmed by parts of it. I would love to one day go back and experience a Mass but do not have a desire to cram myself into a room to see the frescas again. I am glad we did it as we had an amazing guide and he gave us a great deal of information we will remember, but it was just not worth fighting the crowds to do it again.
This was one of the most exceptional tours we have ever taken. It was a small group mix of several cultures which contributed much to the sites we saw. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable. She could and did answer many questions. She also was very caring to help my husband enjoy the tour with a short-cut for him to avoid many stairs because he was experiencing a lot of hip and back pain. The length of the tour was just right, and being able to avoid LOOONG lines was a real blessing. We had the extra experience of being able to go through the Holy Door, open for the Year of Mercy. It is only opened by the Pope for special occasions approximately every 25 years. We would highly recommend the small group tours for the Vatican because otherwise being able to hear in the vastness and large crowds would be very difficult.