Private Vatican Highlights Tour with Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica

Explore the Vatican before the crowds on an early morning private tour with your own expert guide

Travel Flexibly 5 / 5 See All 16 Reviews · 2.50h custom · Vatican, Italy

Want to see the best of the Vatican without the big crowds and with your own private guide? This private highlights tour lets you do both, and with a super-early start time you’ll still have a whole day to enjoy Rome! Skip the line and join your passionate Vatican guide on a private journey through the famous artworks of the Vatican Museums, then enjoy a less crowded experience as you explore St. Peter’s Basilica and Michelangelo's world-famous Sistine Chapel.

  • Early access private Vatican tour
  • Gallery of the Maps
  • Gallery of the Candelabra
  • Gallery of the Tapestries
  • Sistine Chapel tour
  • The Last Judgement
  • St. Peter's Basilica
  • La Pietà by Michelangelo
  • Baldacchino by Bernini
  • Laocoön and His Sons
  • Nero's Bath
  • Belvedere Torso

After meeting your personal Vatican guide near to the entrance, you'll be allowed to skip the line and enter the Vatican Museums before the general public and most tour groups are allowed inside! Skip the general admission lines and see the splendor of the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel in 2.5 hours. Along the way, your expert private guide will tell the stories behind the Vatican's iconic Renaissance masterpieces and hidden gems.

Especially if you're only in Italy's capital city for a short time, this earlier and slightly shorter private tour gives you almost a full day to explore more of Rome's highlights after your Vatican experience comes to an end.

Private Vatican Highlights Tour Description

Your 2.5-hour private tour includes:

  • Early access skip-the-line entry to the Vatican

  • Tailored private guided tour of the Vatican Museums, rooms, and galleries

  • Early entry to the Sistine Chapel

  • Guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica

  • Private English-speaking guide with expertise in art history

As this is a private tour, your guide will have a well-planned itinerary but there's some flexibility too. Depending on what your interests are and the pace that you're comfortable with, the tour can be tailored to suit you. Just chat with your guide and they'll do what they can to make your Vatican experience just perfect!

Pio Clementino Museum and Nero’s Bathtub

After skipping the line for early entry to the Vatican Museums, you'll begin your tour in a collection of the most important Roman and Greek artwork at the Pio Clementino Museum. Visit three of the world’s most iconic statues: the Apollo Belvedere, Laocoön and His Sons, and the Belvedere Torso. Learn the stories behind the statues, before visiting Nero’s huge, one-of-a-kind red marble bathtub and St. Helen's sarcophagus.

Highlights of the Vatican Museums

Before the crowds have begun to flood into the world-famous Vatican Museums, you'll follow your guide through the Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries and Gallery of Maps. Admire the ancient Roman and Greek statues, the Flemish tapestries created by Raphael's students, and the gorgeous topographical depictions of Italy.

Based on painted maps by Dominican Italian friar Ignazio Danti, the Gallery of Maps is both beautiful and informative. Predating a unified Italy by nearly 300 years, the Gallery of Maps shows the length and breadth of the peninsula in the late 1500s.

On this slightly shorter tour, your guide will recommend the best things to see depending on your interests and the pace you're comfortable with, and you'll hear the stories behind these treasures as the Vatican secrets are slowly unveiled to you.

Sobieski Room and Room of the Segnatura

You'll continue your guided tour to the Sobieski Room and the Room of the Segnatura. The Sobieski Room is known for its stunning canvas by Polish artist Jean Marejko, depicting the Polish victory over the Turks in 1683, but also holds a couple other beautiful pieces. In the Room of the Segnatura, your guide will share the story behind Raphael's stunning frescoes that portray a heavenly vision of God.

The Sistine Chapel’s Ceiling

While you stand beneath the frescoes of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, it’s impossible not to appreciate how difficult it must have been for Michelangelo to toil away year after year at this masterpiece. Visiting the Vatican is simply not complete without a Sistine Chapel tour. You'll see the famous Creation of Man and the Last Judgement, and enjoy the silent serenity of the world's most famous chapel.

The Sistine Chapel is a sacred place, so both men and women must cover their knees and shoulders. Otherwise, you may be refused entry to this portion of your Vatican tour. We understand the summers in Rome are hot - a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way, you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.

St. Peter's Basilica

Your last stop will be at St. Peter's Basilica, where your private guide will lead you inside and detail the incredible and controversial history of its construction, and the amazing art inside. This massive icon of a church is where St. Peter's remains are believed to be buried, but it's the architecture and artwork that also set this church apart. Stand in awe under St. Peter's dome and the magnificent canopy (Bernini's Baldacchino) and explore the Basilica's collection of art, relics, mosaics, and sculptures.

St. Peter’s Basilica’s dome was inspired by the Pantheon, just like the Florence Duomo. Bearing the distinction of being the tallest dome in the world at 448 feet, the dome's presence stands out amidst Rome’s skyline. After this tour concludes, we suggest you purchase a ticket and take the climb. The views from the dome are among the best in Rome.

St. Peter's Basilica is closed on Wednesdays for the Papal Audience and can occasionally experience other unexpected closures. If this happens, your guide will make up the time at other areas within the Vatican.

What you get with this tour
Early access skip-the-line entry to the Vatican
Tailored private guided tour of the Vatican Museums, rooms, and galleries
Early entry to the Sistine Chapel
Guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica
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16 total reviews

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5.0/5 (based on 16 reviews)
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1 stars
18 November 2022
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Reviewed by
gary kaltbaum

14 November 2022
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Reviewed by
Jeanmarie Oleary

Private Vatican Highlights
06 November 2022
H
Reviewed by
Helen McGrath

Mikayla was lovely, knowledgeable friendly and gave us plenty of time. I would highly recommend this tour

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where to meet?

Between Hotel Alimandi and Caffé Vaticano, at the top of the big staircase (Viale Vaticano, 100). A friendly representative will be there holding a sign with our company name.

What to bring?

Please be sure to meet Vatican dress code requirements by covering your knees and shoulders in the most sacred religious areas like the Sistine Chapel. You'll also want to wear comfortable shoes since this is a walking tour, and avoid bringing large bags or tripods since they are not permitted inside.

What are the chances my tour will be canceled or the Vatican will close something?

Although it is rare, sometimes part of the Vatican closes with little notice. If an area normally covered on a tour is closed, your guide will be sure to make up the time in other areas.

Does the tour go inside without waiting in any lines?

As an accredited tour operator we do not have to wait in the general ticket line, but we still have to wait in a shorter security line. For this reason, we leave the meeting point as early as possible and get in the security line reserved for tour operators. The doors open for us at 8 am, an hour before the general public.

Does this tour always include St. Peter's Basilica?

St. Peter's Basilica is closed on Wednesday's in the morning due to the Papal Audience.

Is there a dress code to enter the religious sites on this tour?

We ask both men and women to cover knees and shoulders, otherwise you may be refused entry to religious sites and miss out on a portion of your tour. We understand the summers in Rome can be hot, so a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. That way, you can cover your knees and shoulders when necessary.

What to bring?

Please be sure to meet Vatican dress code requirements by covering your knees and shoulders in the most sacred religious areas like the Sistine Chapel. You'll also want to wear comfortable shoes since this is a walking tour, and avoid bringing large bags or tripods since they are not permitted inside.

Where to meet?

Between Hotel Alimandi and Caffé Vaticano, at the top of the big staircase (Viale Vaticano, 100). A friendly representative will be there holding a sign with our company name.

Does the Vatican ever experience sudden closures?

During state visits or special religious events, parts of the Vatican may be closed unexpectedly and without much notice. If an area normally visited during a tour is suddenly closed, our guide will still provide explanations of the closed areas and show you another area to compensate for the lost time.

I have some doubts about my mobility. Is this tour right for me?

If you have any doubts about your mobility then a private tour is your best bet. Private Vatican tours are more easily customized to the needs of people with reduced mobility. If you prefer to explore at a slower pace, please consider our more in-depth private Vatican Tour which is an hour longer.

$70.85 per adult
+ $185.30 base price
Total: $256.15

available days discounted days

Reserve Now $70.85 / per person
$70.85 / per person
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