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Waking Up the Vatican: VIP Small-Group Tour Before Museums Open

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Vatican City, Vatican City
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Book online or call: (888) 651-9785(888) 651-9785
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icon2 hours 30 minutes  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
icon2 hours 30 minutes  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English

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icon2 hours 30 minutes  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English

Overview

Not many people can say they've spent time in the Sistine Chapel alone—until now. This experience grants you entry into the Vatican Museums with the clavigero (key keeper), a staff member with the privilege of opening the doors to the Vatican Museums and its galleries, before standard early access tours. You and your small group get to see the Gallery of Maps and the Raphael Rooms as the lights are switched on—something never before witnessed by the public—and enjoy a rare guided visit inside the Sistine Chapel. Breakfast in the Pinecone Courtyard is an added bonus.
  • VIP early access to the Vatican Museums with the official key keeper
  • Enter the Sistine Chapel with your guide (usually not allowed) before it's open to the public
  • Indulge with a banquet-style breakfast in the beautiful Pinecone Courtyard
  • Explore in a small group for unparalleled access to a world-famous landmark
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Expert, English-speaking tour guide
Small groups of 20 people or less
Guided visit in the Sistine Chapel before it has been opened to the public
Buffet breakfast
Breakfast
Gratuities
Hotel pick-up/drop-off

Departure Point

00120, Vatican City

Vatican Museum Entrance Meet your guide at the main entrance of the Vatican Museums, on Viale Vaticano.

Departure Time

6:00 AM

Return Details

Returns to original departure point
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • This service ends at around 08:30AM inside the Vatican Museums.
  • Due to heightened security measures, you may experience delays in clearing security checks when entering the venue.
  • Large purses, bags, and backpacks are not allowed inside the Vatican Museums.
  • It is the responsibility of all visitors to be at the meeting point 10 minutes before departure. Guests arriving after departure cannot be accommodated & missed tours or tickets cannot be refunded.
  • This tour involves a fair amount of walking and stairs; comfortable shoes are recommended.
  • This activity is not wheelchair accessible. We are also unable to accommodate strollers or baby carriages on our group tours.
  • Entrance into the Vatican Museums requires a strict dress code. Knees and shoulders MUST be covered for both men and women.
  • Photography is permitted in certain sections of the Vatican Museums. Your guide will inform you of restricted areas.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 20 travelers
  • OPERATED BY City Wonders Ltd
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.

    Learn more about cancellations.


    Traveler Photos

    Traveler Tips


    • "It may be early and it may be pricey, but it is worth every penny and every minute of missed sleep!!!" See review
    • "It is expensive and you have to get up super early to go, but it is totally worth it." See review
    • "Yes, it is pricey and yes it is early, but both are totally worth it." See review

    Reviews

    5.0
    star-5
    305 Reviews
    3 stars
    0

    Reviews by Viator travelers

    Showing 1-10 of 305 reviews
    star-5
    Absolutely Fabulous
    Kelly_M
    , Mar 2020
    Was privileged enough to di this tour on the last day of the season 31st Oct 2019! Cannot rate it highly enough from start to finish .. the guides, the tour, the Vatican with only a handful of others WOW .. was a fabulous way to end my month in Italy ❤️
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    Amazing experience!
    WNYNancy
    , Dec 2019
    This tour was an amazing way to see the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Our guide, Rafaella, actually took Pope Francis through the museums to discuss the art! She was wonderful and our group felt very special. We were able to take amazing photos of the Sistine Chapel which as a teacher I greatly appreciate. It is expensive but worth every penny and we will never forget seeing the beautiful empty rooms and halls.
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    Vatican Must do. 2.5 hours of disbelief unlocking awakening the Vatican
    Leslie G
    , Nov 2019
    Hold shake and use the keys to open locks and pull back doors to the worlds best art collection with a grouping 15. No one else. Take pictures, view art from ropes removed, and discover hidden no public rooms. End with beautiful brunch.
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    Been there many times but this was well worth it!
    mwsremaniak
    , Nov 2019
    OMG What a great way to see the Vatican! The experience was exceptional. We have been there several times with school group and waiting in line and in the narrow hallways. But not this time! Phenomenal!!
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    Once in a lifetime experience
    Philip Q
    , Nov 2019
    We visited on 19th September and Tiffany was our guide. It was extremely surreal to enter the Vatican Museums at 6am, Rome was deserted except for the people waiting to go in. Once in, Tiffany introduced herself and the head keyholder Gianni. We then had a private tour culminating in the Sistine Chapel. Everything was as advertised – turning on lights to reveal corridors filled with statues, opening doors into rooms crammed with art, holding the literally hundreds of keys to the museum. All the time, Tiffany is telling us about the history of the pieces we’re passing and answering questions. Gianni even opened a few doors and pulled back a few ropes that weren’t mentioned on the itinerary, though I suppose this depends on how you’re doing for time. As we get to the Raphael Rooms, the excitement is palpable. These rooms are wonders in their own right and Tiffany makes sure we get all the information about them. Then it’s onto the Chapel. Gianni clips all the keys together and first one to find the key gets to open the door. (If you miss out, don’t worry, everyone gets an opportunity to do it!) Then we’re inside. Normally, there’s no talking and no photos, but since we’re a small group of less than 20, Tiffany is able to point out things we would have missed if we’d been on our own. It’s amazing to be in the room in the dark, then the lights come on and everything is there all around you. It was magnificent. You have plenty of time in the Chapel, then it’s onto breakfast. Since you’re in the museum, you can go around again, but by this time it was already 8.30 and getting very busy, which made the experience even more memorable. This was the centrepiece of our holiday in Italy and it certainly delivered.
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    Amazing Waking up the Vatican!
    slm0330
    , Nov 2019
    Yes, it is more expensive than most tours, and it is very early to get up and go to the Vatican. But absolutely worth it! Our group had 16 people, led by our fabulous guide Tiffany. We saw so many areas that others on "regular" tours did not get to experience. Seeing the Sistine Chapel with such a small group, and being able to take pictures, was amazing. As was seeing the Egyptian antiquities and mummies. We are so happy with our decision to do this tour, and would do it again.
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    Experience of a lifetime!
    Ange_LifestyleTradie
    , Oct 2019
    This is a MUST do activity while in Rome... nothing compares to being in each room of the Vatican Museum & the Sistine Chapel with a small group of 15. We went to the Vatican Museum the day before and the crowds were crazy (and we were told it was quiet)! That moment when the light switch is turned on, with not a soul within, is nothing short of incredible. This is THE ONLY WAY to capture photos in the Sistine Chapel, just of YOU..... It may be expensive but worth EVERY cent... If you're on the fence, just DO IT... book now... you'll love it!
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    Incomparable!!
    Jet21357
    , Oct 2019
    Opening the museum doors and being granted access to areas normally closed to the public was a once in a lifetime experience. The Sistine Chapel alone was worth the price of admission.
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    Worth every penny!
    Mina Y
    , Oct 2019
    This is truly an ultra-exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime experience. We were the only tour group in the entire Vatican Museums, and got to unlock doors, open windows, and turn on the lights. It is quite magical to walk through the dark rooms and hallways without another soul in sight. And nothing - NOTHING - can beat the experience of walking into the Sistine Chapel all by ourselves! I'm not sure if this is a feature of this particular tour, but we were allowed to take pictures inside the Sistine Chapel, which alone is worth the price of admission. Our tour guide, Becky, was wonderful - cheerful, and full of fun and descriptive history of the artwork inside. We were all fed a breakfast buffet at the end of the tour, and my spouse and I decided to stay and walk through the museums on our own one last time. By this point, it was open to the public, and it was a total madhouse! It made us appreciate what we got to experience so much more. I was a little concerned about the exorbitant cost of this tour, but we can both say that it was extraordinary and totally worth it. Highly recommend!
    HelpfulHelpful
    star-5
    Best Vatican Tour
    Linda10708
    , Oct 2019
    I thought this tour was awesome. The tour guide was excellent. We were part of the FIRST 20 people to enter the Vatican. We were each given a turn to unlock a different room and/or turn on the lights. We opened windows. We could take photos in every room without obstruction. We were not rushed. We were even allowed to take photos in the Sistine chapel. We have an incredible collection of spectacular photos to remember this tour. A tasty buffet breakfast was provided at the end of the tour. The tour does not include skip the line access to St Peter’s Basilica so we returned early the next morning to see that.
    HelpfulHelpful

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