Walking across Piazza Risorgimento then following the Vatican walls round to the museums entrance, one can expect to see a good number of guided tours at almost any time of day between March and November. Tour groups alighting from coaches assembled in orderly lines on one side of the piazza, arrive with a guide who has travelled to Rome with them, from as far afield as the United Kingdom, France and Poland. More often than not, these people have paid for a Rome pilgrimage, a group tour to Rome organised by their local parish or similar community at home.
Many visitors to Rome book their Vatican tours and other tours of Rome on our website at When In Rome Tours. On the day of the tour, they attend our office (a stone’s throw away from the Vatican Museums entrance) and wait for their guide. Refreshments and a rest room are available. Any questions about the tour or indeed anything else about Rome are answered by When In Rome Tours reception staff. We also have walk in tours for visitors who have not pre-booked online. They pass by our office, pay at reception and join the next Vatican tour (or book one of our other tours).
An ever increasing number of agencies now operate in and around the Vatican. Their tour guides, be they students or travellers, know their history inside out and it’s relatively unheard of for a Vatican guide to falter in the face of historical fact. However, it goes without saying that it is sensible to pre-book tours online, or at least attend the premises of a licensed tour operator close to the Vatican, where one can arrange a once in a lifetime tour properly and in a relaxed and professional environment. Guides who work on the street, and they’ll expect a cash payment on the street too, may be considered unseemly.