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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

Pamela D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

Our tour guide Alina was excellent. The directions to find her were very easy. The tour started on time. Her English was excellent. She was a wealth of information and very interesting and entertaining. We are so glad we took this tour. I would recommend it to everyone.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

Our guide Stephanie was fabulous. Incredibly knowledgeable,lots of details and tidbits to give you what you needed . She was very organized, keep us moving in large crowds without missing a thing! Highly recommend!

David A

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

Our tour guide was absolutely fantastic. We had a really small group and she gave wonderful detail for each point of the tour. Would strongly recommend!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

Breathtaking. Guide was very knowledgeable and took extra care since I was walking with a cane.

Peter F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

This was really a great tour. Our guidem, Tiffany, was fabulous and had enough ineresting anecdotes, knew teh materila intimately, but not so much detail that we drowned. The early entry was very good, and you end up in the Basilica, so you have as much time as you want there.

Sheryl V

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

excellent tour and guide

kelley l

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

This was definitely one of the big highlights to the trip to Rome. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour and the information we received. The only way to fly is on the tour before the Vatican City opens! Thanks, Viator. Well done.

Alan Y

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

A great experience that I would recommend to anybody visiting Rome. An excellent guide that was very knowledgeable and handled the tour group extremely well through a very busy environment.

Jodi M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

Our guide was great and we really enjoyed the tour.

Fernando S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended October 2016

Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica. There were tremendous queues everywhere but she guided us in a very stress free manner through all the halls and chambers. We saw a lot in the time we had available.

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