Thanks to Simone and her wise advice, we managed to do the whole Vatican-Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter Basilica. After a lot of thinking, we opted for the meet and greet service. so we could do the whole thing at our own tempo. best decision ever! Simone met us right on time, in the agreed place and took us through the madness of the security and entrance of the Vatican museum.... once inside, she explained to us very clearly how to navigate inside, what was important... gave us valuable tips that help us to get the most out of our time.. we recommend this service 100%!
The Greeter was very curtious and professional. It was great being able to go at your own pace, but we wish we would have got the Audioguides to give us a little more information on what we were seeing. Was going to ask if there was a drop off point for the Audioguides when you go to the Sistine Chapel, but didn't. Hopefully for anyone else, there is. Otherwise it was excellent. no problems with meeting the Greeter, just down the street from entrance.
We had a great time in Rome and this was one of the many highlights.
There was an issue in that we couldn't find the guide ahead of the tour of the Vatican Museums even with the 15 minute tolerance and had given up and resigned ourselves to having to purchase another ticket but the folks at Eyes of Rome phoned us and arranged collection of the tickets as well as offering us some great guidance on other places to visit - great customer service
This was perfect for us because we wanted to skip the line but tour the Vatican on our own. It was very smooth to meet our guide, who was holding a sign, in a small plaza across the street from the entrance. Indeed, the line we could see at the entrance was very very long. He took us inside promptly and we waited for him in a lobby while he obtained our tickets. Upon giving us our tickets he directed us to the ticket-taker and left us. We entered and opted out of the audio guide because we didn't want to double back to return the headsets but instead proceed through the Sistine Chapel into St. Peter's Basilica. The complex is huge with long distances to walk, so that should be considered when renting headsets. Instead of the headsets we relied on signage, the printed map, and Rick Steve's small guide to Rome, which paid for itself several times over on our Vatican visit. We advise you to read it very carefully, especially noting the tip about the shortcut from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter's. There is so much to see at the Vatican--so many statues and paintings--that having a live guide explaining it all would have exhausted us. Viator offered a number of options for Vatican tours and we are very glad we chose this one. We were grateful to be able to be selective about what we saw. It was a wonderful experience.
It was crowded even in the winter. But,we enjoyed the self tour at our own pace. The sistine chapel was closing early the Friday we went. It was beautiful and made the entire experience worth it. If it is possible to figure out when it would be less crowded, the experience would be more enjoyable. Also, we would have spent more time in the museums if we didn't feel like we had a time limit to get to the chapel.
This was a great way to avoid the long line to get in. Our guide met us across the street and escorted us to the security point and entrance. He directed us to the best starting point for our tour. We had to rent a wheelchair for my wife, and when we found out they required I leave behind my passport which I wasn't carrying as you are advised not to carry too much of value- I thought they'd take a credit card deposit thought we'd be stymied. However, our guide/agent was persuasive and they gave us the chair as long as I left behind the color photocopy of my passport that I WAS carrying. We were on a private tour of Rome so limited our time in the museum to the Sistine Chapel. We were under no illusion that we'd be able to see even a tiny fraction of their collection. Note that the museum is always crowded, so jostling is normal.
Skipping the line but not having to follow a guide once inside the Vatican worked for us. We could go and see whatever we wanted in whatever order we wanted. That said, this type of approach to the Vatican requires one to do extensive pre-tour research so as to not miss and understand/appreciate important objects.