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Our Top Picks
"Your guide takes you through 2,000 years of history, from the emperors who built the Colosseum to the gladiators who fought in its arena."
Best in the Vatican: Skip-the-Line Tour at Viator
"This three-hour tour includes skip-the-line entry into the Vatican Museums, home of the city-state’s incomparable treasures."
"The Gallery houses one of the world’s most important art collections, including the Birth of Venus and the Venus of Urbino."
"You’ll discover Milan’s most beautiful piazzas and parks, as well as the modern fashion district in a private walking tour."
"With this after-hours evening tour, your group will have the basilica to yourselves."
"Discover Pisa highlights like Piazza dei Miracoli, Piazza dei Cavalieri, and San Sisto Church."
"This four-hour tour of Padua’s top attractions includes entrance to the Basilica of St. Anthony."
Best in Siena: Skip-the-Line Siena Duomo and City Walking Tour at Viator
"Bypass the cathedral queues and enjoy more time to admire its collection of priceless artworks."
Best in Rome: Private Skip-the-Line Tour of the Colosseum and Ancient Rome
As the most iconic Roman monument on Earth, the Colosseum is a must-see in Italy. If you don’t book a ticket in advance, you can expect to spend several hours queuing in the heat to get inside. With this skip-the-line private tour, however, you’ll have VIP access to the ancient amphitheater, which was commissioned by Emperor Vespasian in the first century AD. As you explore, your professional guide will take you through almost 2,000 years of history with fascinating details about the emperors who built the Colosseum and the gladiators who fought and died in its arena.
After the Colosseum, you’ll walk along the Via Sacra, or the main street of Ancient Rome — just as the religious processions and victory parades of the Empire would have done. On the way, you’ll stop to admire the triumphal arches of Constantine, Titus, and Septimius Severus while your guide explains the history and symbolism behind each one. Continue on to the Roman Forum, the commercial and political center of the ancient city. The three-hour tour ends with a trip to Palatine Hill, one of the famous "Seven Hills of Rome," where a spectacular birds’ eye view of the city awaits.
Take a look at other ways to see the monument with our reviews of the best Colosseum tours.
Best in the Vatican: Skip-the-Line Tour
This three-hour tour includes skip-the-line entry into the Vatican Museums — home of the city-state’s incomparable treasures. With a maximum of six participants, you’ll be able to ask the professional guide plenty of questions, who will explain the stories behind the artworks and artifacts on display in the Octagonal Courtyard, the Hall of the Muses, the Round Hall, and the Greek Cross Hall. You’ll see part of the papal apartments as you pass through the Julius II and Raphael Rooms (the latter named for its majestic frescoes by the painter Raphael).
The highlight for most visitors is the walk through the Sistine Chapel. Here, Michelangelo’s genius is displayed in a series of iconic frescoes including ceiling panels depicting scenes from Genesis, and his final completed work, The Last Judgement. Next, you’ll pass through an interior passageway into St. Peter’s Basilica. In addition to being the second-largest church in the world, the basilica is one of the Catholic faith’s most important religious sites. A masterpiece of Renaissance architecture, it houses an astonishing collection of art, artifacts, and relics – including the tomb of St. Peter, Jesus’ principal apostle.
Interested in more options? See our guide to the best Vatican tours.
Best in Florence: Early Access Guided Uffizi Gallery Tour with Skip-the-Line Ticket
The jewel in Florence’s cultural crown is the Uffizi Gallery, which houses one of the world’s most important art collections and is the most-visited museum in Italy. As a result, queues can be extensive, but with this early access tour, you’ll skip the lines and get a chance to explore the museum before most of the crowds arrive. Best of all, this means you’ll have more time to explore the gallery’s many halls – which reveal masterpieces by Renaissance icons such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, and Botticelli.
Your art historian guide will explain the techniques and symbolism behind museum highlights like Boticelli’s Birth of Venus and Titian’s Venus of Urbino. With a maximum of 15 people, your group is never big; and if there are more than seven participants, you will be given complimentary headphones to ensure that you won't miss out on any commentary. Although the guided tour lasts approximately two hours, this ticket remains valid for the rest of the day, allowing you to stay and explore the collection at your own leisure.
Best in Milan: Best of Milan Experience Including Da Vinci’s The Last Supper and Duomo Tour
One of da Vinci’s most famous paintings, The Last Supper, resides within the refectory, or dining hall, of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. To preserve the mural, tourists are only allowed to view it in small groups for 15 minutes at a time. Tickets also have to be booked well in advance and the best way to secure them is to sign up for a Milan city tour like this one. It lasts approximately six hours and takes you through the city in a small group accompanied by an expert local guide. You’ll discover Milan’s most beautiful piazzas and parks, as well as the modern fashion district.
Highlights include important churches like San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore and Santa Maria presso San Satiro (with its famous trompe l’oeil apse). On any day except Sunday, the tour also includes skip-the-line tickets to the Duomo di Milano, an incredible feat of Italian Gothic architecture and one of the largest churches in the world. If The Last Supper isn’t on your must-see list, you can choose to visit da Vinci’s vineyard instead. This private sanctuary has been lovingly restored to its original magnificence.
Best in Venice: Small-Group Tour with Evening Access to St. Mark’s Basilica
In a city full of elaborate buildings, St. Mark’s Basilica stands out for its sheer opulence and its fabulous blend of Byzantine, Gothic, and Renaissance architectural elements. It is the principal cathedral of Venice and the city’s most-visited monument. During the day, it can get uncomfortably crowded, but with this after-hours evening tour, your group will have the basilica all to yourselves. The tour starts in Piazza San Marco, where your guide will give you an overview of Venetian history while you admire the spectacle of the illuminated cathedral façade.
Once the custodian unlocks the door, you’ll spend an hour and a half discovering the cathedral’s incredible artworks and ornate architectural elements. In particular, you will have the chance to stand in awe before its famous golden mosaics and the Pala d’Oro. The latter is a high altar retable (ornamental panel), studded with thousands of precious jewels and is considered to be one of the finest examples of Byzantine enamel in the world. Certain areas of the basilica that are usually not open to the public, like the crypt, will also be available for exploration. The group can hold a maximum of 15 people.
Best in Pisa: Private Pisa Discovery Walking Tour with Leaning Tower Access
In order to preserve the legendary Leaning Tower of Pisa, tickets to the attraction are limited and assigned to a specific time slot. Therefore, those hoping to climb it should definitely book tickets in advance to avoid disappointment — like this one. It lasts approximately 2.5 hours and is completely private, ensuring that you have full attention from your guide. It includes skip-the-line access to medieval Pisa Cathedral and the Leaning Tower. You’ll also have 30 minutes to climb to the top of the tower’s spiral steps for incredible views of the city.
During the tour, you’ll discover Pisa highlights like Piazza dei Miracoli, Piazza dei Cavalieri, and San Sisto Church. Along the way, your guide will tell tales of the city’s progression from Etruscan settlement to Roman colony and later, medieval port town. In particular, you’ll find out how architectural error resulted in the Leaning Tower becoming the most celebrated mistake of all time, and what measures have been taken to ensure it doesn’t topple over completely. Opt for the upgraded tour and finish with a two-course meal at a traditional Tuscan trattoria.
Best in Padua: Private Padua Highlights Tour including Scrovegni Chapel and St. Anthony’s Basilica
This four-hour tour of Padua’s top attractions includes entrance to the Basilica of St. Anthony, where pilgrims from all over the world gather to worship. You’ll also pass by Prato della Valle – the largest square in Italy – Piazza della Erbe, Palazzo della Ragione, and the University of Padua (the fifth-oldest surviving university in the world). Because this is a private tour, you can spend more or less time at each attraction, depending on which you are most interested in.
The highlight, however, is the Scrovegni Chapel. This small church is home to a breathtaking series of frescoes by Giotto, one of the most prominent Italian painters of the Late Middle Ages. His detailed depictions of the Life of Jesus and the Life of the Virgin entirely cover the chapel’s walls and ceiling. In order to preserve them, entry is restricted and tickets must be booked at least 24 hours in advance. However, tickets are automatically included in this tour, making it the ideal option for those who'd like to avoid the hassle of reserving tickets.
Check out more of what the country has to offer with our selection of the best Italy tours.
Best in Siena: Skip-the-Line Siena Duomo and City Walking Tour
Siena’s historic center is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on account of its immaculately preserved Gothic architecture — which also makes it one of the most beautiful cities in Italy. The best way to explore its many wonders is on a walking tour like this one, with the benefit of a knowledgeable local guide. You’ll start at the Basilica of San Domenico, then explore Siena’s winding cobblestone streets before arriving at the heart of the city – the Piazza del Campo. Here, landmarks like the Fonte Gaia and the Palazzo Pubblico with its towering campanile (bell tower) make for spectacular photo opportunities.
The highlight for most visitors, though, is the included skip-the-line tickets to Duomo di Siena. Bypass the queues standing outside the cathedral and enjoy more time to admire its ornate, inlaid mosaic floor and collection of priceless artworks. These include pieces by Bernini, a bronze relief by Donatello, and the altarpiece, which is made of four sculptures carved by a young Michelangelo. The entire tour lasts approximately two hours, leaving you plenty of time to discover the city’s authentic bars and trattorias after it finishes.