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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.

Highlights

  • 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

Why Our Insiders Chose 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

Mark M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2018

The Vatican Museums including the Sistine Chapel and St Peter's is simply a wow. The art work is so fantastic it ruins your appreciation for modern art. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the Pieta statue in St. Peter's were amazing. This is a must see if you are in Rome.

kona6604

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2018

This was a fantastic experience. Our guide was so entertaining and informative. We had a small group of 11, and she made sure to be involved and spoke with each one of us. Would definitely recommend this tour, whether your in Rome for 1 day or several.

Lyndsey K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2018

This tour was fantastic. Going in the off season, many rooms of the Vatican Museums were practically empty, and the guide was easily able to show us many wonderful pieces of art. The Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica were the only places that had considerable crowds. For your knowledge, my fitness app said we walked about 2 miles on the tour, and there were several places where we had to go up and down some minimal steps, so you have an idea of the activity level. The tour was listed as three hours, but my guide was great and showed us many things, so we actually took about 3.5 hours. Overall, great tour!

Roger F

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2018

Best deal in Rome.

Sandra K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended February 2018

A must see for even those who don't have an art background and the early access tour gave us more time and space to see what these three spectacular sights had to offer. You didn't have to compete with the crowds. We actually took photos of paintings and the area around us like the floor artwork without having hundreds of people in our photos. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and would do this tour again.

david e

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

original tour was cancelled. communication informing us was very good. Tour that was organised instead was great for history buffs and those with an interest in art.

Jane B

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

Francesca was a wonderful guide. She was very detailed and was truly excited about what she was telling us. I felt very prepared before going into the Sistine Chapel to truly understand all of the paintings. I would highly recommend this tour!

James R

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

Our guide Marco was fantastic. His detailed knowledge and historical background made the tour one of a kind. Booking small group/early access is the only way to see the sites in Rome. Definitely got our monies worth for this tour!

Pedro V

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

This tour was amazing! Special thanks to Tiffany, the tour guide, such a brilliant person. Highly recommended!

Melissa L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2018

Outstanding! don't miss this tour, I also recommend climbing the dome if you're not claustrophobic our tour guide was terrific skip the line is the best way to go early access was awesome because we were in before the crowds and lines when we finished, the line to get in St Peter's was around the entire square, I would have been very unhappy having to wait in that line

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