• Location: Rome, Italy
  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

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$531.80 Save $159.54

From USD $ 372.26 View price calendar

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Special Offer

Introductory offer: Book and travel by July 31st, 2018 and save 30%!
You get to be one of 20 people to enjoy the quiet of the morning at the Vatican before the crowds. This experience is only available through TripAdvisor and Viator.

Not many people can say they've spent time in the Sistine Chapel alone—until now. This first-ever experience, only available through Viator and TripAdvisor, 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, at least an hour before standard early access tours. You and your small group get to see the Gallery of Maps and Raphael’s 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
  • Be the first of the day to visit the Raphael’s Rooms and Gallery of the Maps with no crowds
  • 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

What You Can Expect

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

Inside the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Museum
© TripAdvisor

Customer Reviews

Ty L

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2018

Lindy was the best tour guide! this tour was worth every penny and I would recommend it to anyone. It was amazing being able to be in the Vatican before it was open. My 9 year old was able to turn on the lights and use the keys to open the doors.

Holly S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2018

This tour is fairly new, I think the guide said 3 or 4 months old. I had been on a front of the line tour 4 years ago and I wish they had THIS tour back then. What an amazing experience!! There were only 25 of us in the WHOLE Vatican/Sisitine Chapel. When we left the tour there were 4000 people in line!! Plus you get a buffet breakfast at the end.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2018

It is almost impossible to describe how amazing this tour was. Meeting at 6:00 am in front of the Vatican museum--We were 20 people walking with the keyholders of the vatican. Our guide was fun and informative as we entered dark rooms, turned on lights and even were allowed to unlock doors.

Perhaps the most fabulous part of the tour was sitting in the sistine Chapel holding the key to the door.

This tour was definitely the highlight of our Rome visit and I would recommend it as a must do for future visitors.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2018

Waking up to the Vatican is an unforgettable experience. You are the 1st ones into the Vatican when it is still pitch black inside. You go with the key holders and open the 1st doors and turn on the lights.
It is a magical experience and best of all there are no people. Just you and 15 others in the whole place.You can really soak it all in! You are able to go in rooms others can't. Great tour guide! The only thing I would say is that the tour company shouldn't allow small children under 6 as the crying can be distracting.

Faisal D

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2018

One of the greatest tours you can ever do ..... Sisteen Chapel and the vatican before the crowds. is an experience of a lifetime .....

Cannot recommend this enough....

trust me when the crowds are in.... its messy and you are not permitted to take photographs ....

with this tour .... there are no questions asked.....

Bruce K

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2018

This is a must do in our opinion. Our tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable and patient!

Andrew Aley

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2018

This was a really wonderful experience. Having been to Vatican before there was something really special about waiting outside in the empty streets. It felt like the whole city was sleeping and the Vatican was opening only for us. To be able to walk the halls with only our group was really special and up there with one of the most amazing things I have ever done. The highlight for me was being in the Sistine Chapel, which felt like it was privatised just for us. You really get a sense of the spirituality of the place. I even managed to take to get photos as a memory. The Guide and Clavigero were fantastic, thank you so much for making this possible.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2018

Absolutely amazing! One life time experience! Being at the Vatican Museums before the opening was really a unique thing to do in Rome; our guide Francesca showed us all galleries, including Raphael's rooms together with the Vatican guard who was opening all doors and gates. It was impressive to visit the museum without anybody around and see the Sistine Chapel empty! After the visit there is also a nice breakfast in the courtyard where we relaxed looking at all visitors that were entering at that time. Absolutely worth to do this tour and I'd recommend to anybody!


5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2018

This is a really unique experience. Opening the Vatican Museums with the Clavigero made me feel really special and privileged. I wish we all could witness art and history in the peace of empty rooms, with a knowledgeable and friendly guide like we did. Visiting the Sistine Chapel on our own is invaluable, something I will hardly forget.


5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2018

A truly unique experience from beginning to end. There’s a lot of excitement as you walk through the museums with the clavigero, see him open a door at a time, and you walk into those beautiful empty rooms. I loved the tapestry corridor, which was particularly dark and we the guide had to use torches! Being inside the Sistine chapel with no one else around, and having your personal guide explain the paintings right there, is also amazing. The tour finishes with a buffet breakfast at the courtyard café, which was very nice (and they cater for food requirements). It is an early start, but it is totally worth it and you do feel like that the Vatican is waking up as you walk along. I’d recommend to anyone, even those who have visited the Vatican Museums before, as this is a completely unique way of seeing and experiencing the museums.

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