Privileged Entrance Vatican Tour with Sistine Chapel

Enter the Vatican Museums before hours!

Our bestselling Vatican tour! You'll enjoy a Vatican Museums tour that lets you enter just after 8:00am, a whole hour before regular entry time slots. Visits to the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museum Galleries and St. Peter's Basilica are included.

Active

This is a walking tour and involves occasional walking up & down stairs.

3.5 h
max 14
from 149 reviews
1 Sistine Chapel Visit
2 The Creation of Adam
3 Vatican Museums Tour
4 The Raphael Rooms
5 Borgia Apartments
6 St. Peter's Basilica Tour
7 La Pietà by Michelangelo
8 Baldacchino by Bernini
9 Want to climb St. Peter's Dome?

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Pre-Opening Entrance
Sistine Chapel
St. Peter's Basilica
Primary Galleries
Raphael Rooms
Borgia Apartments
Pio Clementino

Enter A Full Hour Ahead of the General Public! 

One of our top-selling Rome tours, skip the line and go straight to Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel with this guided tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. See the Vatican Museum’s best galleries and tour St. Peter's Basilica with a professional English-speaking guide. Our Privileged Entrance guided Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel tour starts at 7:30 a.m. and doors open shortly after 8 a.m. (a full hour before general admission opens). Witness the awe-inspiring Sistine Chapel before the large crowds. Our professional English-speaking guide will then take you through a guided tour of the Vatican Museums before heading to St. Peter’s Basilica.

Short delays at the security check may occur during June and July, our busiest months. However, we have a team of experts at the Vatican every morning to best help our groups avoid delays. Your guide will meet the group at 7:30 a.m. to begin the early access Vatican Museum tour prior to doors opening for special groups at 8 a.m.

The Sistine Chapel 

First stop is a visit to the Sistine Chapel before it opens to the general public. Upon entering, you’ll see why the Sistine Chapel is one of Michelangelo’s most prized masterpieces. The Sistine Chapel also serves as a gathering place for cardinals of the Catholic Church, where new popes are elected. As the Sistine Chapel is a place of worship, speaking inside is forbidden. Your guide will tell you about its history and provide you with a map for reference prior to entering.

Please note: The Sistine Chapel is a sacred place, so visitors are required to have their knees and shoulders covered when inside. Failure to do so will result in refused entry to a portion of the Vatican tour. During Rome’s hot summer months,  consider bringing a shawl or sweater for covering yourself when necessary.

The Best Galleries at the Vatican

Visit the Vatican’s most celebrated galleries including the Borgia Apartments, Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries and the Gallery of the Maps. Predating a unified Italy by nearly 300 years, the Gallery of the Maps contains painted topographical maps of Italy. This is one of our favorite places in the Vatican.

Raphael Rooms

The term Renaissance, meaning "rebirth," refers to the period of European history between the 14th and 17th centuries that produced a revival in art, literature and learning. The ideal Renaissance man, Raphael was one of Rome's most famous Renaissance artists who designed and painted multiple rooms connected to the Vatican Museums. Among the many Vatican Museum masterpieces, you’ll see one of Raphael’s most famous works, The School of Athens.

Skipping the Line at St Peter's Basilica

 

Except on Wednesdays

St. Peter's Basilica is the Vatican’s grand centerpiece. Upon entering, you’ll encounter the largest church you've ever seen, filled with artwork from all of Italy’s historically-renowned artists. Skip the lines waiting outside in St Peter's Square and access the basilica through a special side entrance available to our guides. Once inside, admire masterpieces such as Bernini’s Baldacchino, La Pieta and the statue of St. Peter. While it is free to enter, this guided tour will optimize your Vatican Museum experience while skipping the long lines outside. 

Important: If you wish to further explore the museums toward the end of your guided tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, you must forgo the guided visit of St. Peter’s Basilica. If you choose to do this, you’ll lose the opportunity to skip the lines with your guide and use the special entrance from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s Basilica. If you decide to leave the tour early, please return your headset to the tour guide. You are welcome to remain in the basilica longer once the tour concludes, we ask that you do not proceed with your tour guide to take photos in the piazza. The regular security line is long and re-entry on your own is not recommended.

Pio-Clementino Museum and Nero's Bathtub

 

On Wednesdays Only

The itinerary for any guided tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel will change on Wednesdays due to the weekly Papal Audience. If you take the Privileged Entrance Vatican Tour on a Wednesday, the visit to St. Peter's Basilica is substituted with a visit to the Pio-Clementino Museum, home to three of the most iconic historical statues. Learn the oral history associated with the Apollo Belvedere, Laocoön and His Sons and the Belvedere Torso. You'll also visit one of the biggest and oldest bathtubs in existence, which to this day, is impossible to recreate.

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