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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

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

Linda M S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Perfect way to enjoy this amazing location. Tour guides bring the art, history and people to life with their in depth knowledge. The 3 hour tour was just right. Having the head sets with ear phones, allowed us to easily hear the guide speak while not having to stay right beside her. we started at the vatican museums, which were amazing. Guide was great in calling out the highlights in the maze of rooms. We had enough time in the Sistine chapel, and prior to entry were told what to look for so we could just quietly study this masterpiece. .Recommend the smaller group tour, and early access. also I think trip was nicer in off season as things were busy but not crammed. Plenty of space to look around. Short lines.

Colin C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Excellent! The only way to see the Vatican Museums. Tour guide was knowledgeable and fun. Early access time slot means you don't get jostled by the crowds - I've been at multiple times of day and this was the best. Wonderful value for money and totally hassle free.

John M

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Excellent tour. Anna was a great tour guide. Very knowledgeable, interesting and friendly. We learned a lot and had a great time. Very many interesting and informative comments about the Vatican Museum and the Basilica. Skip the line is an absolute must for the Vatican Museum. Line was very long even on a very cold day in January with ice in the fountains.

jody138

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Patricio was an excellent guide. She knew so much about the Vatican and was a joy to listen to. Her expertise was outstanding. Thank you Patricio! I didn't want the tour to end.

rilde1313

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Excellent tour! Our guide met us exactly where we were told, and she was extremely knowledgeable about the everything the Vatican has to offer! We had a great time and spent a good 2-3 hours with our guide learning all about the different rooms and buildings, as well as seeing top sites like the Sistine Chapel and La Pieta. Not to mention the perk of getting in before the crowds! Highly recommend this tour.

Belle

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Sorry I can't remember the name of the tour guide but she was awesome - she is transplant from one of the Benelux countries. She spoke clearly and was very entertaining. I wish she would have commented more on the Museum tour, but I get that there is limited time. Next time I am going to take an in depth Museum tour. Well worth it.

nicole Australia

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Fantastic!! We had the fortune to have the world's most entertaining tour guide GiGi. He was hilarious and made the tour a great deal of fun. No one should go to Rome and not see the Sistine Chapel and St Peter's, and I thoroughly recommend the early access small group as the way to go, as otherwise you will be lining up for HOURS. GiGi took us through the Vatican museum and his knowledge of history and the personal stories behind the art and the many Popes who built the collection made the tour memorable. It's a must-do.

Luke W

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Stephania was a great guide. Her knowledge on all things Vatican was great and her stories really made the tour! The Vatican Museums are amazing to see and the Sistine Chapel is something you have to see at least once in your lifetime!
St Peter's Basilica is awe inspiring to see, and if you are not afraid of small spaces, heights or 500 steps it is well worth climbing Michelangelo's dome for one of the best views in Rome!
Would recommend this tour and Stephania to anybody who wants to see the Vatican area.

Tom D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Superb! The guide was fabulous. There is a lot of walking and I have a lung condition but I was always able to find a place to sit down along the way.A must see.

exprez35

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2017

Getting into the Vatican as some of the first groups made this tour so much more enjoyable. The Sistine Chapel is amazing and being able to see it with a smaller crowd allows you to take in the masterpiece that it is.

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