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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

Anne S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

Enjoyed very much

Anjali D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

We loved the tour. Sarah, our guide, was very knowledgeable and delivered the commentary in a fun and interesting way. Going early, in a small group, helped us to apparently avoid the crowds - general admission opens at 9 - but still very crowded though Sarah was expert at navigating all the people. Definitely would recommend booking this small tour with City Wonders.

Sylvia B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

It was very informative and educational

Michael M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

Excellent tour. We beat the crowds and had a great guide -- Emma. Very informative and well worth the cost.

Karen F United States of ... 

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

We got to skip the lines and the guide was very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable of the Vatican tour.
The headsets worked great and the meeting place was easy to find.

Carolyn S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

Fantastic this 3 hour tour takes you to every part of the Sistine Chapel, and St Peters Bascillia, our guide Gigi was amazing, his humour and knowledge was fantastic, he made the tour . We walked past all the lines to get in early and had a head start on everyone. Fantastic !,

Susann B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

Great tour. Wasn't too hard to find. Fredrica was a great guide.

Christine B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

Our guide was excellent Lorilei and we loved the tour

Ann G

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

Excellent tour and excellent information on where to go and what to do about getting with your group. Soooo much better than Florence tickets and prices are within range of each other. Highly recommend!

Gary C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended September 2016

Great tour! Guide was excellent.

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