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“Avoid at all costs - this was a terrible experience!”
1 of 5 bubbles Review of Italy With Us

Italy With Us
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Skip the Line Vatican: Day Time Tour including Vatican Museums and Sistine...
Ranked #61 of 764 Tours in Rome
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: We arrange private and group tours of the Vatican, Rome and Italy. One of our specializations is getting to the Sistine Chapel ahead of the crowds or being there when no one else in the Vatican! Our Vatican office is very close to the entrance to the Vatican museums. That is where we meet for our Vatican tours, not in or outside a bar or on the steps opposite the entrance to the Vatican museums.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Lockers / storage, Stairs / elevator
Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Avoid at all costs - this was a terrible experience!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 30, 2009

We felt this company scammed us on a tour of the Vatican. It was the last Sunday of the month, so admission is FREE. While waiting in line we were offered an official guided tour of the Vatican in English which would enable us to "Skip The Line" - all for 25,00EUR. What we understood from this is that the "official guided tour" had permission to get groups into the Vatican ahead of other patrons. This is not the case at all. What they do, is take groups of six at a time and try and sneak you in at the front of the line.

Our group was spotted by an official Vatican guard who kicked us out and told us to go away.

So, we had lost our place in the original line, paid 25,00 EUR for a tour we couldn't go on.

We complained to the guards who, after some time and serious negotiations told us that what the company was doing was illegal but they understood and let us in.

We managed to find the "guide" who was originally assigned by the company to take us around. She could hardly speak English and knew absolutely NOTHING about the Vatican. She would point to an object and say "This is a work art".

When we confronted the owner later she was extremely reluctant to give us any information about the company or our money back. She plead ignorance, yet their website says they've been running the business since 1998.

My advice to you is to STAY AWAY FROM THIS TOUR COMPANY. It was a terrible experience. Thankfully the beauty and the grandeur of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St Peter's Cathedral more than made up for it.

Good luck!

7 Thank kiwijente
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HelenDonegan, owner at Italy With Us, responded to this review, November 28, 2009
If I was never to see the Vatican museums and the Sistine chapel in my life, I wouldn’t go on the last Sunday of the month. It is a truly terrible experience for most.

Thousands wait in line and many try to find a way of jumping the line. We used to put a guide in the line and let people who want to do a tour join him. There was always a big demand.

Of course some said they wanted a tour, got into the museums and then wanted their money back. It became too problematic and for some, unethical in a way. We no longer offer tours on a Sunday and it is a great relief to me. The 8am VIP entrance tour on the Monday morning is heaven!!! 
I remember very well indeed meeting the lady who wrote about her bad experience with one of our Sunday tours. We had an official Vatican guide with the group while our own guide was held up but on his way. Official guides are licensed and those we use are supposed to speak English. This can be a problem, however, as people can find it difficult to understand their accents etc. We now have mother-tongue English-speaking guides authorized by the Vatican.

I asked kiwijente to listen to “Jim from Michigan” for a while before renouncing her tour. She and her friend were so angry at this point there was no talking to her. Tempers flared and there was a lot of hostility. I gave the ladies their money back and they went on their own way.

Once calm was established things went well - the tour kiwijente rejected was actually very successful , some who went on it came back to my office near the Vatican to say how they had enjoyed their visit and how wonderful Jim was. He certainly gives value for money – his 2-hour tours can last nearly 5 hours!!!

What happened in the line to kiwijente and her friend is very puzzling but then again the total chaos that exists on a free Sunday for the Vatican museums means that nothing occuring in the line surprises me in the slightest. For her to say she was scammed is not correct – she met two guides and myself, jumped a long line and got her money back. There was never any attempt to con her.

I am very sorry that people have had a bad experience with my company. I try to help everyone, whatever their budget and time constraints. A tour on the free Sunday would never be anyone’s first choice but some have no alternative. The Sunday tour costs €25 as opposed to €40/€50 for a normal day tour when the entrance fee is included (this fee depends on the time you choose for your tour).
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Saint Clairsville, Ohio
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Italywithus.com tour”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 26, 2009

Our time was limited in Rome, and I did not just want to walk through the Vatican. From readings of comments posted during the summer of 2009, all said that the Vatican was not crowded as in the past, but I did not want to chance it.
Italywithus offered an 8AM tour. It was excellent. Our guide, Jay, walked us quickly though the museum so we could get to the Sistine Chapel before it got too crowded. It was wonderful to soak in the beauty of the room in somewhat of a subdued atmosphere. He spent a great deal of time explaining the meaning of the frescoes, and by the time we left the chapel, it was almost wall to wall people. We then backtracked & saw many of the other wonders. His love & knowledge of the Vatican was very evident. I highly recommend this tour group.

3 Thank wschicldtravlmor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
36 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Excellent Tour!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 6, 2008

My wife, 21-month old daughter and I visited Rome at the end of November. We joined the long line to enter St Peters and were approached by a an Italy with Us representative approached us to take a tour. We decisied to do it based on skipping the lines alone.

Our tour guide was Jim from Michigan. Jim was a fantastic tour guide and made the experience one of the best tours we have done. He was truley energetic about his work and was very knowledgeable on the vatican, the museums, St Peters and the history of Rome and the Catholic church. Our tour was supposed to be about 2 hours through the museums and end at the Sistine Chapel. Instead, Jim spent about 4 hours with us, including through the Sistine Chapel, the Rafael rooms, the Tombs and a unique one hour overview / tour through St Peters (this was not required by Jim as part of the tour which is illustrative of his enthusiasm).

Overall - great tour and especially an excellent tour guide.

Thank Brett S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
171 reviews
77 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 336 helpful votes
“AMAZING After-Hours Vatican Tours - Explore the Vatican with NO CROWDS!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 17, 2008

In preparing for our trip to Rome this past March, my sister mentioned that a friend of hers had been able to do an after-hours tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel and that it had been an amazing experience. I went online and researched these opportunities, and found Italy With Us. They run these tours about once a week (usually Saturday evening) and they are extremely costly - 250 Euros per person for us - but my mom, sister and I did it the very first day we arrived in Rome and it was undoubtedly the highlight of our time there.

The tour runs from about 6 PM to 9 PM, and you literally are one of a handful of people walking through the Vatican Museums on a private, guided tour. You see the Map Room, the Raphael Rooms, the Sistine Chapel, and other places - along with priceless works of art, tapestries, etc. The tour provides a wealth of information about all of the pieces you're viewing, and the lack of crowds allows you to examine each and every piece at your own pace, closely, without being jostled, hurried, or generally annoyed. You're escorted the entire way by a group of security guards, who are generally friendly and don't yell at you when you linger or fall a little behind.

The highlight of the tour was, for us, the Sistine Chapel - instead of it being wall-to-wall people where you have to stand there and just crane your neck, we could literally walk around, sit, and enjoy the amazing frescoes. We had about 25 minutes there and as you can see from the pictures, we had the place entirely to ourselves. Also, the security guards allowed us to take all the pictures we wanted of the Sistine Chapel (and throughout the entire tour). They didn't even yell when people used their flashes!

The trip to Rome was a surprise for my mom, and we planned this as a "once in a lifetime" activity - though I know if my parents go back, my mom would take my dad in a second. We kept saying throughout the trip how cool that experience was - and even though we were dead tired when we started the tour because we'd just gotten into Europe from the U.S., it was an absolute highlight. It's a splurge, but totally worth it to have the opportunity to enjoy parts of the Vatican Museum without the crowds, noise, and queueing that is commonplace during the day.

All I can say is - go!

7 Thank Kimberly530
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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