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I have extremely limited mobility and use a walker. There were many tours from which to select, offering early morning before the crowds access to the Sistine Chapel. I called several, but was told by the lady at Viator that this would be the best - that there was access, through a dedicated door, directly into the Sistine Chapel, without going through any of the Museums. For this I paid 176 for three of us. It turns out, the dedicated door is the entrance used by all other early morning tours, and once inside, there was a walk of 1/2 mile through Museum Corridors, to gain access to the Sistine Chapel. Of course, once finished, the only way out was back through the same 1/2 mile Corridor. I know the mileage to be true, for each of my daughters was wearing a mileage tracking device on her wrist. I feel I was totally ripped off by the Viator Representative with whom I booked the tour, and will not recommend Viator to anyone, ever.
After our last visit to the Sistine Chapel, and Vatican Museum, we vowed never to return. The Sistine is one of the most remarkable artworks in the world, if not the most remarkable, but visit during normal hours and you will wonder why you bothered. The chapel will be uncomfortably crowded and any attempt at quiet contemplation and interpretation will be impossible. The embargo on photography will elicit loud cries of No photo! from the official stewards and oh the irony of it loud shushing noises from the self-same stewards, attempting to restore some semblance of serenity. We couldnt wait to get out.
Fast forward to 2018 and we discovered by accident that private or semi-private tours could be arranged at an extra cost of varying steepness. These packages vary wildly in price but the one we booked via Viator, using the services of I Love Rome by Carrani Tours, was for our purposes the best deal. This meant a very early meet at 0715, before entering the Vatican Museum at 0730 and on to the Sistine which opens at 0800.
All of the above went like clockwork. The tour representative was a charming young lady, sorry to forget her name, who explained the procedure excellently. We made our way, not accompanied by the way, to the Sistine a little before 0800 and had to wait until it opened. So was it worth it? Compared to our last trip this was like night and day. Essentially we were alone in the Sistine. There were about fifteen of us and we had plenty of time to sit and enjoy the spectacular artwork in relative peace. I say relative as we did have one solitary No photo! barked out, as someone tried surreptitiously to take a few snaps.
Is it worth paying approximately 45 instead of the standard 17 plus 4 to beat the queue but not the crowds thats for you to decide. As we emerged from the Vatican Museum later on in the morning, the early start was taking its toll, the longoh so very long queue, told us all we needed to know it was a BARGAIN. Then again, you could save 28 per person, stand in a queue for three hours, then get to be pushed, jostled, annoyed and shouted at trying to see one of the worlds greatest art treasures instead. As they say you pay your money, you make your choice.
I gave this a three because although we saw the chapel, it would have meant a lot more if we had also purchased the audio tour.We were told we could also enter St Peter's Basilica from the back of the chapel, but there was no one around to show us. We just wondered around lost trying to find our way out.
We had a fantastic viewing of the Sistine chapel, but the guide was disappointing, She was late first of all and all the people going on the tour were running around looking for her or someone from her company at the meeting point. After eventually turning up, she took us inside the Vatican, leaving us infront of the second entrance point without even explaining where we had to go or what to do from that point onwards. I cannot see the reason why we had to pay for a guide in the first place. It was amazing though to see the Sistine chapel while there were so few people inside and we had more than enough time to look at all the amazing artworks on the walls and ceiling.