Privileged Entrance Vatican Tour with Sistine Chapel

Pre-Opening Tour of the Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica

Travel Flexibly 4.9 / 5 See All 267 Reviews · 3.50h 14 max · Vatican, Italy

This is our most popular Vatican tour since you enter the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel a full hour before the main crowds are allowed inside. Let us create a memorable experience for you as your knowledgeable guide tells you insightful anecdotes that will make you laugh and be in awe at the amazing history that this museum possesses. Admission Included.

Tour Details
  • See before the crowds
  • View of St. Peters Basilica
  • Pinecone Courtyard
  • Gallery of Candelabra
  • Gallery of Maps
  • Galley of Tapestries
  • Raphael Rooms
  • Sistine chapel-
  • Creation of Man
  • Last Judgement-
  • St Peter’s Basilica
  • La Pietá
  • Baldacchino By Bernini

*The Vatican has temporarily suspended early access entrance for All tour companies. That said, we have adjusted our prices and times to reflect this change so you can book this tour with confidence. Customers have been overwhelmingly satisfied with the lack of crowds!

Our Privileged Entrance Vatican Tour starts at 7:30 a.m. and we enter the Vatican Museums just after 8 a.m (an hour earlier than general public access). Witness the jaw-dropping Sistine Chapel before the masses stream in. As one of our most popular Rome & Vatican City tours, this 3.5-hour Vatican tour includes:

  • A memorable experience with insightful anecdotes

  • Skip the line Vatican tickets

  • Maximum group size of 10

  • 7:30 a.m. start for entry shortly after 8 a.m.

  • A professional and fun English-speaking guide

  • Skip the line entrance to St. Peter's Basilica (except on Wednesdays)

* As of June 23rd, 2021, the Vatican has closed the "licensed guide entrance" to St Peter’s Basilica for all tour companies and tour guides. Don't worry, we still visit the amazing Basilica! However, until this message is removed, we cannot enter St. Peter's Basilica without lines for security. Hopefully, this changes very soon!

The Sistine Chapel

One of the top things to do in Vatican City is visiting the Sistine Chapel. Therefore after your skip-the-line access, your first stop is a visit to the Sistine Chapel before it’s open to the general public. As one of Michelangelo’s most prized masterpieces, the Sistine Chapel also serves as a gathering place for cardinals of the Catholic Church. This is also where new popes are elected.

Since you are not allowed to speak in the chapel, your expert guide will explain the chapel to you fully outside before entering. Your guide will bring alive the amazing stories of Michelangelo and his trials in tribulations in creating this Renaissance marvel.

The Sistine Chapel is a sacred place, so 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/sweater to wrap around you when necessary.

The Best Galleries at the Vatican

Led by our fun and knowledgable guide, visit our favorite galleries including the Borgia Apartments, Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries, and the Gallery of the Maps. Predating a unified Italy by nearly 300 years and based on painted topographical maps of Italy, the Gallery of the Maps is one of the coolest places in the Vatican Museums.

Raphael Rooms

The term Renaissance literally means "rebirth" and refers to the period of European civilization that produced a great revival in art, literature, and learning. Raphael was one of Rome's most famous Renaissance artists who encompassed all the ideals of a Renaissance man. Among many of his famous works, discover the School of Athens.

Except on Wednesdays

St. Peter's Basilica is the grand centerpiece of the Vatican. Walk into the biggest church you've ever seen, filled with artwork from all the famous Italian artists. Skip the lines as you access the Basilica from the inside, through a special side entrance our guides can use. Once inside, admire masterpieces that include the Baldacchino, La Pietá, the statue of St. Peter, and more. While it is free to enter, this guided tour helps you make the most of it, without suffering the long lines.

Important: It isn’t possible to return to the Vatican Museums from St. Peter’s Basilica. If you want more time inside the museums, 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.

Pio-Clementino Museum and Nero’s Bathtub

On Wednesdays Only

If you take this tour on a Wednesday, St. Peter's Basilica is substituted with a visit to the Pio-Clementino Museum, where you'll see three of the most iconic statues in the world. Learn about the myths and legends associated with the Apollo Belvedere, Laocoön and His Sons, and the Belvedere Torso. You'll also visit one of the biggest and oldest bathtubs you'll ever see, which is impossible to recreate, even today!

We are recommended by Rick Steves for our Vatican tours!

What you get with this tour
English-Speaking Guide
Vatican tickets included
Skip the Line
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267 total reviews

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Average customer rating
4.94 / 5 based on 267 total reviews
5 star 255
4 star 9
3 star 3
2 star 0
1 star 0
10/9/2021

R
Reviewed by
Roy Belluz
9/12/2021
Vatican tour

This tour is an excellent value as it includes the museums, Sistine chapel and St. Peter’s. Raf was a superb guide. Audio headsets are provided. It took about four hours.

J
Reviewed by
James Ramage
9/8/2021
Fantastic tour with extremely knowledgeable guide

My wife and son and I had a small tour - five people. The guide was professional knowledgeable and smart. She did an excellent job navigating what we saw and curating the experience. She tailored it to our interests such that we stayed longer in rooms we had more interest in and moved more quickly through rooms that we had less interest in. We had an incredibly privileged position in that because it was Covid the crowds were a tiny fraction of what they normally would be so although you have to hit a very specific time frame in order to replicate that I wish you well and if you happen to be reading this in September 2021 I suggest you immediately do it. It is not at all difficult to imagine that these were the smallest crowds in 50 years so caveat emptor. It is absolutely the best way to see the Vatican.

T
Reviewed by
Trevor Williams

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where to meet?

Between Hotel Alimandi and Caffé Vaticano, at the top of the big staircase (Viale Vaticano, 100). A representative will be there holding a sign with our company name on it.

What to bring?

Cover your knees and shoulders. There's no need to dress like the people who live in Vatican City, just avoid short pants, dresses and tank tops. If you're a woman and you are wearing something that bares your shoulders, bring a shall or sweater. Comfortable shoes are always recommended for walking tours. No tripods or large backpacks can be brought into the museums, we kindly ask you to leave them at your accommodation.

Is there a way to see the Vatican without a guided tour?

Of course. Click here for skip the line Vatican tickets.

I have some doubts about my mobility. Is this tour right for me?

If you have any doubts about your mobility, we strongly suggest you take a private Vatican tour.

What are the chances my tour will be cancelled or the Vatican will close something?

We run the tour rain or shine all year round. Although it is rare, sometimes part of the Vatican City closes for special religious events. If an area normally covered on a tour is closed, our guide will still provide explanations of the closed areas from outside. Plus, we will show you an extra site or gallery to compensate.

Does the tour go inside at 7:30 am without waiting in any lines?

As an accredited tour operator, we do not have to wait in the ticket line, but we still have to wait in a security line. For this reason, we leave the meeting point as early as possible and get in the security line reserved for tour operators. The doors open for us at 8:00 am, an hour before the general public.

Does this tour always include St. Peter's Basilica?

St. Peter's Basilica is closed on Wednesday mornings due to the Papal Audience. We still run the tour because it might be your only day in Rome! Instead, we visit some of the most iconic statues in the world and Emperor Nero's enormous marble bathtub.

What to bring?

Cover your knees and shoulders. There's no need to dress like the people who live in Vatican City, just avoid short pants, dresses and tank tops. If you're a woman and you are wearing something that bares your shoulders, bring a shall or sweater. Comfortable shoes are always recommended for walking tours. No tripods or large backpacks can be brought into the museums, we kindly ask you to leave them at your accommodation.

Where to meet?

Between Hotel Alimandi and Caffé Vaticano, at the top of the big staircase (Viale Vaticano, 100). A representative will be there holding a sign with our company name on it.

Total: $107.05 as low as $90.99

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