64 reviews of Viator VIP: Sistine Chapel Private Viewing and Small-Group Tour of the Vatican's Secret Rooms
Read what other Viator.com travelers think about the Viator VIP: Sistine Chapel Private Viewing and Small-Group Tour of the Vatican's Secret Rooms. What they loved, what they liked and what they think could be improved, it's all here to help you make the most of your next trip.
Reviewed by Mohd Shukri Bin H, December 2012
Very informative and the guide was very good. Her name was Shannon from the US. The climax was the private visit of the Sistine Chapel after opening hours. I would recommend it to anyone visiting Rome. It is a must tour to do "when in Rome"!
Reviewed by Rebecca B, December 2012
Worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY we paid for the tickets! Our guide, Shannon, was amazing- knowledgeable, gracious, and helpful. The time we spent was informative but the coup de grace was spending 30 minutes with our tour guide, 8 other tourists, and a guard in the Sistine Chapel- no one else! PRICELESS!
Reviewed by Kathleen W, November 2012
This was amazing and surpassed my expectations. It was great to be able to see areas the public aren't generally able to visit (e.g.artist's staircase, etc). Even more so, to be there in the Sistine Chapel, with only 10 people after hours in Nov, was absolutely breathtaking! Our guide was great too!
Reviewed by hanginggrimston, November 2012
The tour guide, Rachael was extremely knowledgeable and entertaining whilst explaining the various aspects of the vatican museums. The secret rooms were disappointing, as clearly marked reference numbers indicated that tours were able to enter the rooms. The VIP private viewing to the sistine chapel was worth the fee alone and a once in a life time experience; Rachael's ability to communicate the history of the chapel whilst also explaining the asthetic content enhanced the experience. I would recommend this tour as the only way to visit the Sistine Chapel.
Reviewed by Joseph T, November 2012
This was my wife,s first trip to Italy and the Private viewing tour of the Sistine Chapel was the highlight of our entire trip. Our guide was extremely informative and entertaining. we would highly recommend this tour to anyone.
Reviewed by Sandra, November 2012
Thank You Viator, we just loved this tour. Your tour guides are all so very Educated and Knowledgable, and Nice. We by-passed thousands of people, as we were escorted by the guide and a private guard. Our tour had 8 people, and we were the only ones in The Sistine Chapel!! Michael Angelo, Phenominal!!
Reviewed by Kerry M, November 2012
I'm writing this the day after our VIP tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. My head still feels like sensory overload. It was brilliant. But a bit more about where I'm coming from so you'll know why I was so blown away by this tour.
This is my 11th trip to Rome. I come almost every year, for a week, just to walk around and take pictures and sit in cafes and to disconnect from everything. I love this city. I've been to the Vatican Museum 3 times in the past, and honestly, each time felt like torture. God help you if you're trying to get into that museum between March and November: prepare for 2-hour lines and thousands of people. And when you finally get to the Sistine Chapel at the end of your visit, you will be herded in along with the 400, 500, 600 other people in there that are shuffling about shoulder-to-shoulder, while guards hiss "Silencio!" and "No Photos!" I remember my first time in there: I was expecting this miraculous, overwhelming, powerful moment -- and instead I was overcome by a feeling of "oh my god I have to get out of here." I say all of this so you can get a grasp of how special this VIP tour was that my mom and I were on yesterday.
Here's what the website promised: a private tour of secret, closed-to-the-public rooms of the Vatican Museum, ending with 30 minutes spent in the Sistine Chapel, completely alone: just your group of a max of 10 people. And you know what? They delivered, tenfold. It was SPECTACULAR. So, the details:
Our guide Shannon was wonderful. She is an American transplant in Italy and had her degree in art history so she knew this stuff inside out, but her presentation was friendly and informative and never dry or boring: it was the insider scoop. It wasn't "and then Raphael painted this painting in the year ___" -- no, it was the backstory about the rivalries between these famous artists, how they lived, what influenced them -- it was the stuff that you never hear about in stuffy, stodgy old history books. And we had a guard who accompanied us on the tour, unlocking secret rooms along the way, like the Bramante Staircase and one of the pope's private chapels. The tour started around 3:15 as the museum was already emptying out, and by partway through the tour you noticed that the place was empty except for the cleaning people and the guards locking things up. You hit a few of the major attractions in the museum that are open to the public, but by the time you get to them they're empty. The Raphael Rooms? Empty. It was breathtaking. We were literally walking down empty corridors, and if you've ever been to this museum before, you know that it sees a good 15,000 people per day. The other thing I liked: the Vatican Museum is 9 miles of museum. It's filled with amazing things, but not all of these amazing things are significant. Sure, that statue might be 2000 years old and it might be pretty, but it's not "important" -- and you could spend days in this museum -- so Shannon took us to the major things worth seeing, so you know that you leave the VM having seen what you should've seen.
As we approached the finish line - the Sistine Chapel - Shannon told us what to expect: she said there was another private tour group ahead of us but that they would be ushered out as we entered, and then we'd have 30 minutes alone in the chapel. Just our group of 10. If you've been to the Sistine Chapel before, you know what it's like to enter it: it's like Grand Central at rush hour, but worse. So bad, in fact, that when friends have visited Rome and asked if they should see the Vatican Museum, I normally tell them "don't do it, you'll regret it." So I want you to imagine what we saw: we entered a quiet, empty room with a little group standing in the middle chatting as they walked out. There was silence, and the room was empty. THE SISTINE CHAPEL WAS EMPTY. Our guard closed and locked the front door and exit, and it was just us and our tour guide. A completely empty Sistine Chapel. I looked around at our group and we were all staring, slack-jawed, at what was around us. Shannon gave us a few minutes to just sit and take it all in before she started the tour-guide portion of the details of the chapel (which is another great thing, because tour guides aren't allowed to talk in the chapel, but on this VIP tour, they ARE allowed to talk -- and you'll learn more info in this 30 minutes than you will in any history class.) I can't stress enough how amazing a moment that 30 minutes was: that alone was worth the cost of the ticket. For people who appreciate art or beautiful things, this actually delivers that "oh my god" moment that you hope to experience when you see something as beautiful as the Sistine Chapel. As we entered, I think I heard 9 other audible gasps.
So let me just say that if you've never seen the Vatican Museums before -- or even if you have, but were frustrated by the experience -- this is worth the price of admission. SO worth it. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience that so few people ever get to have. We were all giddy by the time we left: it felt like we had just shared something really special. On a scale of 1 to 10, this is a 20 and that's not hyperbole: it was A-MA-ZING. Already looking forward to my next Rome trip so I can do it again!!!
Reviewed by Al D, November 2012
This was amazing. It's the only way to see the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. The guide was amazing! We were in the Sistine Chapel with only 10 people for over 30 minutes
Reviewed by Christopher H, November 2012
Absolutely DO NOT MISS THIS TOUR. It will be a highlight of your trip and a highlight of your lifetime. On-time, professional, informative and
absolutely breath taking.
Reviewed by Magenta, October 2012
A magical place indeed! Everywhere you look you're more in awe of the last...it just gets better and better. Our guide was a little difficult to understand, but again, he was very knowledgeable. I would recommend this tour
Reviewed by Robert W A, October 2012
Marco was so knowledgeable and this tour was fantastic. The only way to see the Sistine Chapel. There were only six of us in the Chapel, along with Marco.
Reviewed by Helen M, October 2012
It was great to be there without the crowds. Our guide (we think his name was Marco) was excellent. He was extremely knowledgable
Reviewed by Michael B, October 2012
Money well spent. While we only saw a few locked rooms our guide Rachel was well versed and knowledgable. Arriving to the Sistine Chapel just as it was closing, seeing the crowd leave and then having a good 40 minutes to ourselves was money well spent. Rachel walked us through the progression of frescos and had enough time to just sit and take it all in.
Reviewed by Christopher F, October 2012
This was the best tour we have been on during our visit to Rome and Paris. The tour guide Rachael was wonderful, combining great knowledge with a very personal presentation , to give us a real feel of Vatican and it''s treasures.
The private viewing experience in the Sistine Chapel was unforgeable the ordinary tour people were emptied our and we had over an hour in the Chapel just 10 people in the tour without the noise and you get a real feel of the Chapel, the other great thing I could take fantastic photos which I will treasure. They even turned on the lights which gave us another aspect of the Chapel.
Great tour and not to missed when visiting Rome.
Reviewed by wziska, October 2012
Absolutely amazing and worth every penny! First our tour through the Vatican museum was fantastic. Our guide was an American art history scholar who brought the museum to life. The conclusion of the tour was a breath taking visit to the Sistine Chapel. Our group of 10 entered as the Chapel was closed to the public. We had 45 minutes for just our group with our guide to enjoy and marvel at this masterpiece. If you want to see, enjoy, marvel at Michelangelo's genius this is the way to do it. The tour is everything it promises and will give you memories for a lifetime.
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