Pre-Opening Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica Private Tour

Skip the Line on Private Vatican Tour

Witness the renowned collections of the Vatican on this early access skip the line private Vatican tour. Experience the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica with a private guide with expertise in art history. Ask all the questions you want.


This is a walking tour and involves occasional walking up & down stairs.

3.5 h
custom size
from 12 reviews
1 Sistine Chapel
2 MIchelangelo's Masterpiece
3 Vatican Museums
4 Gallery of the Candelabra
5 Gallery of the Tapestries
6 Gallery of Maps
7 Immaculate Conception
8 Raphael Rooms
9 Borgia Apartments
10 St. Peter's Basilica
11 La Pietà by Michelangelo
12 Baldacchino by Bernini


Pre-Opening Entrance
Sistine Chapel
St. Peter's Basilica
Primary Galleries
Raphael Rooms
Borgia Apartments
Our pre-opening private Vatican tour lets you skip the regular line* and enter the museums an entire hour before the general public. After visiting the Sistine Chapel with your own personal English-speaking tour guide, tour the highlights of the Vatican Museums including the Candelabra Gallery, Gallery of the Tapestries, Gallery of the Maps, Raphael Rooms and Borgia Apartments. Finish up with a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, the most magnificent church in the world. This 3-hour tour includes:
- Skip the line Vatican tickets
- Early Morning Access to the Sistine Chapel
- A private English-speaking guide with expertise in art history
- A guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica
Important! If you wish to stay in the Vatican Museums toward the end of your tour, you must forgo the guided visit of St. Peter’s Basilica. If you choose to do this, you’ll lose the chance to use the special entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica from the Sistine Chapel and skip the lines with your guide. If you decide to leave the tour early, remember to return your headset to the tour guide.

Michelangelo’s Restored Sistine Chapel

*After meeting your private guide, your Vatican Museums tour begins. As an accredited tour operator, we do not have to wait in the ticket line, but we still have to wait in a much shorter security line. Short delays at the security check may occur during the busiest months, June and July. We do, however, have a team of experts at the Vatican every morning to help our groups avoid delays as much as possible. Once inside, head straight to Michelangelo’s restored Sistine Chapel before the crowds flood in.
Since the Sistine Chapel is located inside the Vatican Museums, entrance is included in your private Vatican tour. Only when you’re inside, is it clear why the Sistine Chapel is one of the most celebrated works of art in Western civilization. The Sistine Chapel is a place of worship, so speaking inside is forbidden. Don’t fret though, your private Vatican guide will provide you with a map/handout for reference before you enter.
Please Note: Since the Sistine Chapel is a sacred place, both men and women must cover their knees and shoulders. Otherwise, you may be refused entry to a portion of your Vatican tour. We understand the summers in Rome are hot - a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way, you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.

The Main Galleries of the Vatican Museums

After experiencing the incredible Sistine Chapel, circle back through the most beautiful galleries of the Vatican Museums: the Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries and our personal favorite, the Gallery of the Maps. Predating unified Italy by almost 300 years, the frescoes show the geography of the Italian peninsula circa 1580. Painted between 1580 to 1585, the maps are based on drawings by famous geographer Ignazio Danti.

Raphael Rooms - The School of Athens

In constant competition with Michelangelo, Raphael designed and frescoed multiple rooms connected to the Vatican Museums. On this private Vatican tour, among other masterpieces, visit the famous The School of Athens painting. A depiction of philosophy, the painting represents all the greatest mathematicians, philosophers and scientists congregated and sharing ideas. In an early version of a selfie, Raphael included himself in the painting!

Private St. Peter’s Basilica Tour

(Except on Wednesdays)
St. Peter's Basilica is a massive church filled with artwork from some of the most celebrated artists in history. On this private Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica tour, skip the long lines snaking their way through St. Peter’s Square and enter the palatial church through a special door by way of the Sistine Chapel. Once inside, admire masterpieces that include the Baldacchino, La Pieta, the statue of St. Peter and more. 
Important: Remember, it isn’t possible to return to the Vatican Museums from St. Peter’s Basilica. If you want more time inside the basilica, you must forgo the guided tour of the basilica. Also, if you’d like to stay in St. Peter's Basilica longer, don't leave with the guide to take photos in the piazza. Because the security line is long and re-entry on your own is not recommended, we suggest you stay inside St. Peter’s and explore on your own after the tour concludes.

Octagonal Courtyard and Pio-Clementino Museum

(Wednesday's Only)
If you take the Privileged Entrance tour on a Wednesday, St. Peter's Basilica is substituted with a visit to the Octagonal Courtyard in the Pio Clementino Museum. Home to the Apollo Belvedere, Laocoön and His Sons statue and the Belvedere Torso, this area of the Vatican Museums is not to be missed. Learn about the myths and legends associated with these iconic statues, before visiting one of the biggest and oldest bathtubs you'll ever see. Within the Pio Clementino Museum, visit Nero's Bathtub. Stretching a whopping 25 ft in diameter, the tub is made from a kind of red marble so precious, it’s impossible to recreate it.