Many visitors mistake Giuseppe Momo's 1930s staircase for the historic Bramante Staircase, but the original was built more than 400 years earlier and is closed to the general public. Only private groups led by an official Vatican-approved tour guide are authorized to visit the elegant Renaissance staircase.
Some small-group guided tours of the Vatican Museums—among the most popular attractions in Italy—include access to the Bramante Staircase. Book in advance to avoid long ticket and entry lines. Extended tours generally also include stops in the Painting Gallery (Pinacoteca), Gallery of Tapestries, Gallery of Maps, Gallery of the Candelabra, the Sistine Chapel with its frescoes by Michelangelo, and the Raphael Rooms before moving on the St. Peter's Basilica.