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Pristine Sistine Early Entrance Small Group Vatican Tour

Enter the Sistine Chapel before it opens to the general public and enjoy Michelangelo’s masterpieces in peace before embarking on a thorough guided tour of the Vatican Museums. There is simply no better way to see the highlights of the Vatican without the crowds that can overrun the galleries later in the day.

The Sistine Chapel was not meant to be seen standing shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of other people. Beat the crowds by entering 45 minutes before the Chapel opens to the public and enjoy the incredible frescoes in relative peace.

Passing through empty galleries, you'll arrive first at the four Raphael Rooms. Considered by many to be as beautiful as the Sistine Chapel. It can be difficult to negotiate these apartments later in the day, but at this hour of the morning, your guide will have the time and space to give you a proper tour. There are so many incredible details in these frescoes; including a likeness of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, strolling through The School of Athens.

Now that your eye is trained to great Renaissance masterpieces, it's time for the main event. You'll enter the Sistine Chapel just as the doors open to groups and ahead of the general public. By this time, your guide will have given you the full history of this space and pointers on what to look out for. Take your time and enjoy some of the most iconic images on earth. After 15 to 20 minutes of quiet contemplation, you'll embark on a guided tour of the Vatican Museums.

Engage with the Best of the Vatican Museums Collection

The Vatican Museums are home to some of the world's most precious artefacts and some of its most impressive artworks, but it can be hard to understand the significance of works without some expert help. They'll show you the highlights of the collection and enrich your visit with witty anecdotes and entertaining details. Traveling in small groups of only 15 people or fewer (with top-quality headsets) you’ll always be able to hear your guide and engage with their stories, asking all the questions you can think of.

Among the galleries you visit will be the Pinacoteca Art Gallery. Overlooked by most visitors, it's the more modern wing of the Vatican Museums and home to a collection of the Vatican's most precious paintings. You'll see works by Leondardo da Vinci, Caravaggio and more by Raphael. Anywhere else in the world just one of these works would draw lines around the block, but at this time and in this setting, you'll often have the space to yourselves.

Previously, many Vatican tours visited St Peter's Basilica. Following the pandemic however, routes and access have changed, making this impossible. The Basilica remains a must-see on any trip to Rome though, so your guide will give you the tips and context you need to get the most from an independent visit. They'll do this in a special spot overlooking the Basilica's most notable feature - it's incredible dome.

Experience Includes

  • Enjoy skip the line access at the Vatican Museums, saving your hours of waiting in line.
  • Enter the Sistine Chapel 45 minutes before the general public, to see the Chapel at its best!
  • Expert, English-speaking guide.
  • Spend 4 hours exploring of the Vatican Museums, seeing highlights including the Raphael Rooms.
  • Small groups with a maximum 15 people.

Experience Excludes

  • Gratuities
  • Hotel Pick-Up/Drop-Off

Departs

Varies, please see calendar.

Departure location

Please meet your guide at Piazza del Risorgimento, 52 , (Bar l'Ottagono), Rome, Lazio, 00192, IT

Duration

Around 4 hours

Terms & Conditions

  • You will receive a voucher for this experience. Please read it thoroughly.
  • Itinerary subject to change without notice.
  • Gratuities to guides are appreciated but never obligatory.
  • Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
  • Please note that the tour meeting time is 30 minutes prior to the start time. No refunds or re-bookings can be provided for late arrivals or no shows after tour commencement or departure.
  • Hotel pick-up/drop-off is NOT included. Please meet your guide at the green bar (called l'Ottagono) in Piazza del Risorgimento
  • Please remember that the Sistine Chapel is a holy place, and attire must be appropriate for the visit. Both men and women are asked to wear clothing that covers at least the shoulders and knees.
  • While the Vatican Museums are equipped with elevators for wheelchair and stroller access, they are not conveniently located on the group tour route and only give access to specific sections of the Museums. Please contact us to make further arrangements.
  • Please note that guests may only carry small handbags inside the Vatican Museums. Larger backpacks and big pointy umbrellas etc must be left at the cloakroom. It is the responsibility of the guest to return to the Vatican Museums entrance to collect these after the tour.
  • Please ensure that all members of your party have a valid ID on them on the day of the visit. This is particularly important for guests who have qualified for child reduction.
  • Cancellation policy: Cancellations received greater than 72 hours prior to tour commencement are fully refundable. Cancellations received within 72 hours of tour commencement are non-refundable. Amendment requests are subject to availability and price changes.