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Tens of thousands of people visit the Vatican Museums each day to see St. Peter’s Basilica, masterpieces by the likes of Michelangelo and Raphael, and the Sistine Chapel. Get inside the UNESCO-listed complex almost an hour before it opens to the general public on this 3-hour, early-access tour that’s limited to just 12 participants. Enter through a reserved doorway to skip the lines, and stay a step ahead of the large crowds on this carefully planned route that ensures you make the most of your time.


  • 3-hour, small-group tour of the Vatican Museums including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica
  • Get inside almost an hour before the crowds arrive at 9am
  • Enter through a groups-only doorway to skip the long lines
  • Cover nine miles of museums in the morning when it’s quieter
  • Get context to the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, and masterpieces by the likes of Michelangelo
  • This small-group Vatican tour is limited to 12 participants ensuring you can always see and hear the guide
  • Stay and admire St. Peter’s Basilica for as long as you want after the tour concludes

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

Early Access Vatican Museums Small-Group Tour with St Peter’s and Sistine Chapel

Statues inside the Vatican Museums

Meet and greet your guide opposite the entrance to the Vatican Museums, a collection of galleries filled with classical and Renaissance masterpieces, including the Sistine Chapel frescoes. Walk inside through a reserved door without any waiting. This access is even faster than the priority lines.

Once inside, there are more than 2,000 rooms and nine miles of art, so follow along with your guide who will point out the highlights and explain the story behind each piece. The small-group nature of your tour allows you to remain close to your guide at all times, but a headset is included to make sure you can always hear the commentary clearly.

Stroll through rooms like the Gallery of Maps, with its golden, vaulted ceiling; the Raphael Rooms, painted by Renaissance artist Raphael; and the stunning Sistine Chapel, considered to be the Pope’s home chapel, with Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam and The Last Judgement. On your early-access tour, you’ll find the galleries to be considerably quieter than they would be later in the day.

Finish with a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church ever built and one of the holiest and most important sites in Christendom. Get an overview of its long history from your guide, and get an up-close look at the Pietà, one of Michelangelo’s earlier sculptures that depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion.

Your tour ends inside the basilica. After you’ve finished exploring with your group, you can stay as long as you want on your own. It’s the perfect time to head down into the crypts or climb up to the top of St. Peter’s dome (own expense) for uninterrupted views of Rome.

Customer Reviews

Patricia C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2016

I would definitely recommend the small group, early access tour to avoid the biggest crowds. Very knowledgable guide made it all come to life!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2016

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful

Robert K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended December 2016

The tour was excellent. Our guide, Francesca, was charming and brilliant. This small tour12 persons maximum is a must!!!

Terry C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

Great guide. More beauty, spectacular architecture and art than one brain can even imagine. A true must do tour!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

My teenage daughter and I took this tour in May 2016. I think there were a total of 8 of us on this tour would recommend a small group such as this and we met up at 8:00 am on a Friday morning. May is a busy tourist season so we were one of many groups touring the Vatican museums, St Peter's and Sistine Chapel. In spite of that we were still able to really enjoy this tour. I would imagine the crowds build as the day goes on so if possible you may want to consider an early start time for your tour. Our tour guide was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and clearly very passionate about everything we were seeing. Each of us had headphones on so we were able to hear what he was saying. It was all so fascinating!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

A wonderful tour and our guide was amazing! Highly recommend this tour!

Jason K USA

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

If you did your research, you would know the best way into the Vatican is through a guided tour. The lines for tickets and entry are always long. A guide also gives you information that you may not know. This small group tour is the best way to go. It gets you in and through without any delays.

I really enjoyed the whole tour and saw pretty much everything there was to see. Plenty of time provided to go through the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel remember no pictures allow there. The tour concludes in St. Pauls Cathedral, so you get the guides comments and then have lots of time in there to take pictures or see the sights inside this large cathedral.

Edward G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

A very nice introduction to the Vatican and how the popes of the 16th century lived. I found the Vatican Museum to be overwhelming in size and content -- but our tour guide made sense out of it, by stopping at the highlights and explaining why it was so important. She did point out further side trips we could do and where to go inside the Vatican when the tour was over. I liked the timing of the morning tour, so you could do the side trips or head out to find lunch.

We took the Metro to the Vatican and the start location was easy to find as I had used Google Maps on the hotel WiFi to pinpoint our starting location and used a paper map between the station and the meeting point.

Donald H

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

This tour was made superior by our guide. The history which was expertly pointed out made this experience memorable. Highly recommend.

Shannon J

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2016

This was a great tour! Our guide, Lorelei was terrific, very knowledgeable and very easy to understand. The pace of the tour felt just right and three hours flew by! Early access was most definitely worth it as we never felt rushed or crowded.
It goes without saying that the venue is stunning!

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