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Sistine Chapel Private Viewing Small-Group Tour of the Vatican's Secret Rooms

Lazio, Italy
  • 3 hours (approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


This isn’t just any private tour of the Vatican and Sistine Chapel — on this Viator VIP tour, you’ll have permission to visit rooms of the Vatican Museums that are typically closed to the public, plus you’ll go inside the Sistine Chapel after hours, when it’s only open for your small group limited to 15 people. This unprecedented opportunity to gaze at Michelangelo’s famous ceiling fresco without the usual crowds is the ultimate way to experience this iconic site. In addition to secret sites like the Room of Gold, you’ll also visit public galleries like Raphael’s Rooms.
  • 3-hour small-group VIP tour of the Vatican Museums including skip-the-line entry
  • Enjoy exclusive access through a reserved entranceway to skip all the lines
  • Visit hidden corridors and secret Vatican rooms such as the Niccoline Chapel or the Bramante Staircase
  • See top Vatican attractions like the Apollo Belvedere statue, Raphael’s Rooms and Gallery of the Candelabra
  • Take a rare, private tour of the Sistine Chapel after its doors are closed to the public
  • Hear commentary from your guide inside the Sistine Chapel, which is normally forbidden
  • Experience the Vatican as a VIP insider with this Viator exclusive tour
  • Small-group tour limited to a maximum of 15 travelers

Why Travelers Choose This Tour

This VIP tour unlocks secret rooms not normally open to the public.

What's Included

  • After-hours access to the Sistine Chapel
  • Professional guide
  • Small group limited to a maximum of 15 people
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Gratuities

Meeting And Pickup

Start time

Pickup details

Location Name: Vatican Museums, Rome Directions: Meet your guide at the bottom of the steps across the street from the Entrance of the Vatican Museums. The steps are located right next to Caffe Vaticano on the corner of Viale Vaticano and Via Tunisi. Return Location: Returns to original departure point

What To Expect

Vatican skip-the-line tours are in such demand that even the priority-access lines are long. To ensure you won’t spend time waiting in queues, your Viator VIP tour provides admission through a reserved entrance, plus gives you access to secret rooms unlocked by the Vatican guard who accompanies you. It’s a rare chance to see the hallowed halls of the Vatican the way that only dignitaries and royalty typically do.

The nature of this exclusive tour means that the itinerary changes each time based on the availability of the secret rooms, but most tours include the Bramante Staircase (Scala del Bramante) on the corner of the Pope’s Palace. You’ll likely also see the lavish Room of Gold (Sala degli Ori), home to an impressive collection of papal jewelry and precious Etruscan jewels, and the Niccoline Chapel (Cappella Niccolina), a room that compares to the Sistine Chapel with its gold brought back from the travels of Christopher Columbus and its frescoes by Fra Angelico, a Renaissance painter who pre-dates Michelangelo.

Additionally, your tour includes artwork like the Apollo Belvedere statue and rooms seen on regular Vatican Museums tours such as Raphael’s Rooms, the Pinecone Courtyard and the public area of the pope’s apartments. As you explore, listen to stories from your guide about the Vatican’s renowned art collection and scandalous history of power and treachery.

Finally, arrive at the Sistine Chapel, where you have private access after the chapel closes to the general public. Talking in the chapel is typically prohibited, but during your 30 minutes inside your guide is allowed to tell you about Michelangelo’s two famous works as you look at them—his wall fresco The Last Judgment and his legendary ceiling fresco, The Creation of Adam, which depicts scenes from the Book of Genesis.

See the Itinerary for a full list of the Vatican rooms and sights you can expect to see.
Classic Vatican sites: • Apollo Belvedere • Chiaramonti Museum • Sistine Chapel, home to artwork by Michelangelo including The Creation of Adam and The Last Judgment • Gallery of Maps • Gallery of the Candelabra • Gallery of the Tapestries • Lacoon • Pinecone Courtyard • Raphael's RoomsSecret rooms (subject to change): • Bramante Staircase (Scala del Bramante) • Niccoline Chapel (Cappella Niccolina) • Room of Gold (Sala degli Ori)

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • A dress code is required to enter places of worship and selected museums. No shorts or sleeveless tops allowed. Knees and shoulders MUST be covered for both men and women. You may risk refused entry if you fail to comply with these dress requirements
  • No large bags/tripods/umbrellas/backpacks are permitted in the Vatican and must be checked in. Only very small purses are allowed. Please do not bring these items as you will need to leave the tour early to retrieve them at the entrance
  • Due to the nature of this special-access tour, the itinerary changes each time. Access to the secret rooms varies and is based on availability
  • Backpacks, tripods and big umbrellas must be left inside a cloakroom on entering the Vatican Museums. To reduce any disruption for your group, we recommend that these items are not taken on this tour
  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate

Cancellation Policy

This experience is non-refundable and cannot be changed for any reason. If you cancel or ask for an amendment, the amount you paid will not be refunded.

      about cancellations.

      Traveler Photos

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      Traveler Tips

      The tour is 3 + hours long and not appropriate for young children.


      590 reviews
      Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
      Reviews by Viator travelers.
      Showing 1-10 of 590 reviews
      Fantastic tour, fantastic guide
      Erica_H, Dec 2019
      This was the best tour of our trip to Italy. This tour was well worth the money. We have friends who did a different tour and were squeezed into the Sistine chapel so tightly they were shoulder to shoulder with the other tourists. We were thrilled to be in the chapel with only 6 other people. Our guide Gigi was incredibly knowledgeable about every piece of art we saw. He was engaging and fun.
      Viator VIP:Sistine Chapel Private Viewing
      Hilario_M, Dec 2019
      I loved the tour. Sev was a great historian of the Vatican and it’s history. Having a small group really added to the VIP experience and not the crowd that I was used to. Will definitely do it again!!!
      Wonderful experience
      Caroline R, Dec 2019
      Although the weather was bad, a complete down pour of rain, the experience in the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel were amazing and such a memorable experience. Doranna was excellent. I felt special going into areas others were not allowed access. Alone in the Sistine Chapel allowed for a true connection to art and spirit.
      Definitely worth the additional cost!
      David_P, Dec 2019
      "Gigi" our tour guide was very insightful and entertaining, worth requesting if possible. But the most important aspect of this small group tour is to have quiet time to reflect and really appreciate the art and meaning of the Sistine Chapel. Throw in the expedited entry and access to some areas not available during the standard tours, and the tour was definitely worth the additional cost. If you are a traveler who prefers to "do it once, and do it right", this is the tour!
      The only way to see the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums
      RosieNOLA_RN, Nov 2019
      This tour was really good--our tour guide, Alessandro, began the tour while the Vatican museums was still packed, to see many views of the area. Beautiful. Most of the time, it was just our small group of 9 people in the Vatican, but other stragglers from earlier in the day were still there--but very manageable. Only our small tour group was in the Sistine Chapel, and it was much appreciated. We were not rushed during this tour. Alessandro was well-versed in the artists, the works, and the Sistine Chapel. We are glad to have experience the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel in such a special way. I highly recommend this tour.
      14 People alone in the Sistine Chapel.... What else can you say....
      Scenic713375, Oct 2019
      The tour starts in the Vatican Museum. You start by visiting various parts of the museum and visiting area that are part of every other tour out there. At this point I was thinking to myself "why did we pay so much for this tour?" Then we are directed to an area that is outside the normal viewing areas. This happens several times where we are directed to areas that are not open to the general public and you get to learn about some of the other history that is NOT part of a normal tour. This happens on several occasions. The highlight of the tour is the Sistine Chapel, we are directed into the Chapel as the museum/chapel is closing. Then the security guards close the chapel and everyone is directed out and you are left with your fellow tour members and the guide. We only had 14 of us total. We spent the next 15 minutes or so in silence taking it all in.... Then our guide starts to explain everything. Speaking of our guide he was very knowledgeable and passionate. The tour was excellent and I would highly recommend it. I know the price is high... but the time in the Chapel in silence is worth every penny.
      great experience, very good guide that explained everything in just enough detail
      Thomas_W, Oct 2019
      this was a great way to see the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, and to see areas that you would never see without this guided tour. Of course our specific guide was excellent, Sal. The name of the tour agency that you end up meeting with has a different name that Viator, which is a little confusing, but they were very organized and helpful in getting us started. the staff was friendly and considerate. while it was not inexpensive, i believe it is worth it or you end up looking at a lot of history that you dont really understand without the guide. Also they know how to key in on the most important areas - and it is still three hours long. we loved it.
      Hard to rate....
      Sharron N, Oct 2019
      Words are inadequate. ..astonishing, amazing, emotional, you get the picture. If you get a chance, this is THE tour to take. The guide was knowledgeable, respectful and made you feel like you were a part of a much bigger picture. Nothing prepares you for the overwhelm of sitting in the quiet of the Sistine Chapel, tears unashamedly streaming down your face, and gazing in absolute awe. Of you're quibbling about the cost I assure you it's worth every penny and then some. Thank you for an experience we will never forget.
      Sistine Chapel with Salvatore
      Catherine_P, Oct 2019
      Salvatore was delightful and knowledgeable! He took special care of his older clients, and he also had a great sense of humor! We were lucky to have him as a guide
      Best Sistine Chapel tour
      Charles M, Oct 2019
      This tour walked in front of very long lines and straight into the museum. Ended in the Sistine Capel with the super knowledgable guide and 14 others. Guide was permitted to explain everything. Not like most visits that are body to body.
      Susan_G, Oct 2019
      Monica was the best guide you could ask for, she knew stuff. Taught us a lot about what we were looking at. Highly recommend asking for her.
      Best tour ever!
      stanramirez, Oct 2019
      Learned so much from Monika.I was amazed to see and hear so much about not just the Sistine Chapel, but the history behind so much of the construction and of the Catholic Church. Highly recommend this tour.
      When away from the hordes, great tour
      James S, Sep 2019
      Tour was terrific, guide was superb. Only negative and something to consider is that when going from secret room to secret room, you are with the general admission crowd and it is really congested, hot and slow! However, we were in the Sistine Chapel for about 20 minutes with just our tour....that was worth the cost.
      Suzyp72, Sep 2019
      This was WAY BEYOND INCREDIBLE!!! Worth every penny!!!! Our tour guide Laura took us into places in the Vatican Museums off limits to the general public and being able to escape the crazy crowds (30,000 visitors ad day) was absolutely amazing. We were able to climb the newly renovated Bramante Staircase and have amazing views of the city. We were able see the gallery of statues by ourselves and go beyond velvet ropes into rooms where no other visitors were allowed. THEN CAME THE SISTINE CHAPEL!!! We were ushered in via a back hallway and brought into the chapel when the museum was closing. The guards cleared the chapel of ANY OTHER PEOPLE. IT WAS JUST OUR TOUR GROUP OF 12 IN THE CHAPEL FOR 30 MINUTES!!!!! Absoultely awe enspiring, absolutely perfection!!! This is an experience that from now until I die will make me smile every time I think about it.
      Gabranto, Sep 2019
      It was incredible being able to have 30 minutes in the Sistine Chapel with just yourselves and a small group (~12 people). Best thing we did in Rome for sure. Our guide Gio was amazing!
      Best tour ever
      Catie56, Sep 2019
      Last year I took one of the generic tours of the Vatican museum. It was like being in a migrating herd of wildebeests - an incredible number of people all trying to see the museum. Kept losing the guide, couldn't spend any time - it was overwhelming. This year I sprung for the secret rooms and I am so glad I did. Our guide Gigi was unbelievably awesome- knowledgeable, friendly, great sense of humor. We started in the museum and Gigi showed us several rooms that were roped off - and then we got to see the Bramante staircase, the Niccoline chapel and the Raphael rooms - all with expert commentary as to context and importance. At the end we saw the Sistine Chapel with no one else in it. Phenomenal! With the ordinary tours you're packed into the Sistine like sardines in a can. But with Gigi - we had the whole chapel to ourselves. There were 15 in our group, a very manageable number. Highly, highly recommended! And ask for Gigi - he's great.
      Amazing Experience
      David_L, Sep 2019
      If you are a fan of Michelangelo's work in the Sistine Chapel, then this experience will be worth your investment. My wife and I were a little concerned about the price, and getting the level of access described for this tour, but our concerns were unfounded. Our tour had 4 couples, plus our expert guide. At the end of the tour, we walked into a Sistine Chapel completely empty. No lie! We had the entire Sistine Chapel to ourselves (8 guest, one guide and one security guard) for more than 30 minutes. The opportunity to view the art work, in a quiet environment, with no pressure, stress, crowds, etc. was something my wife and I fully appreciated. I will also note that Alessandro, our guide, was a real pleasure. Very knowledgeable, friendly, and gave real depth to the art works on the tour. He was a fantastic guide, and contributed to my feeling that we came away with a better experience than we originally had expected. One final note regarding the Vatican Security staff. These people were great. This tour allows you to visit locations in the museum where public access is not generally allowed. We had Vatican Security follow along, and help us whenever we needed to go to some unique location. The only reason I mention them is because they were also very friendly, and seemed they had a dual mission, protect the art within the facility, but also ensure the guest had an amazing time. Overall, this tour was a highlight. Expensive, but something I'm very glad we did.
      Amazing tour, worth every cent, do this if you can!
      Penny C, Aug 2019
      This after hours tour was amazing. To avoid the crowds and stand in the Sistine Chapel with a small group was an absolutely incredible experience. Our guide was so knowledgeable and told us many stories about the paintings and artists. It may seem expensive but it is definitely worth it.
      I was speechless, absolutely incredible! Worth the price!!
      Braedyt, Aug 2019
      If you are looking for an expert guide to show you around the Vatican Museums, and take you to private and secret areas of the Vatican closed to the general public, then this is the tour for you. The depth of knowledge our guide possessed was incredible, and she pointed out so many interesting things that tied into my own knowledge of history, art, and religion. We were extremely fortunate that we were the only two who had booked the tour so we had a very personal private tour. We literally had the Sistine Chapel all to ourselves, which was breathtaking and I was near speechless. We ended the tour with a walk out of the Vatican, and we were the last 2 tourists (non-workers) inside the Vatican. Some items to note - you do not get a tour of the Basilica on this tour, we made that mistake. The tour begins while the Vatican is still open so there are still tourists, you are not alone, but the crowds are thinning. You gain access to roped off areas, private areas, and of course time alone in the Sistine Chapel. You won't see the entire Vatican, but the main highlights. You will not have the ability to purchase from the gift shop unless you do so prior to the tour. For me, this tour was worth the cost, but make sure you are interested in learning the facts and history, otherwise general admission might be better if you want to breeze through the museums.
      Good, but could be better
      KevinDrach, Jul 2019
      Our guide, Leo, was very polite, easily understood, timely and knowledgeable. He kept our group together and we did see some amazing treasures- Rafael’s Rooms, Niccoline Chapel, Bastane Staircase, etc. We also did get to experience the Sistine Chapel with only our group of 15 or so people for about 15-20 min after hours. However, for the high price of this tour, the church should allow you to take at least one or two pictures in the Sistine Chapel without flash. Visitors are not holding anyone up when it is one of these costly after hours tours and no damage is being done to the art work without flash. I had read prior to going that sometimes the guards are more friendly and lenient and allow a few pictures. Ours did not. So do NOT count on it. In fact, many/most of the Vatican personnel that we encountered during our visit were pretty grumpy and unfriendly. During the rest of the tour there are others in the museum with you. It is the end of the day, so less then there would be at mid day, and our tour guide was good about explaining the pieces, especially some of the symbols in the paintings and importance of certain pieces. We certainly got to see the highlights of this vast museum and would recommend going. However, you will need to decide for yourself whether this “after hours” costly tour is really worth the money to you. If you go during high season, i think you could take an early in the morning guided tour when they first open or even use one of the Vatican’s audio guides and do about as well. Vatican City you need to rethink your rules and counsel your employees to at least be a bit more friendly. Off putting... Good luck!


      Product code: 3731VATICANVIP