Private Skip the Line Vatican, Sistine Chapel, and St Peter's Basilica Tour

Enjoy a tailored VIP Vatican experience with a dedicated private guide

Travel Flexibly 5 / 5 See All 136 Reviews · 3.00h · Vatican, Italy

Looking for a more intimate way to see the wonders of the Vatican City? Then join an engaging local guide for a private Vatican tour that’ll show you the finest art and most iconic sites at a pace that suits you! Our strong relationship with the Holy See means you’ll skip the line and you will receive a more peaceful, in-depth exploration of the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, and more!

  • Skip the Line
  • Early morning private Vatican tour
  • Vatican Museums
  • Gallery of the Candelabra
  • Gallery of the Tapestries
  • Gallery of Maps
  • Raphael Rooms
  • Borgia Apartments
  • St. Peter's Basilica
  • Baldacchino by Bernini
  • La Pietà by Michelangelo
  • Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel

You'll meet your dedicated local guide near the Vatican Museums entrance. Your guide is a true Vatican expert with tons of facts and stories to share, and you'll see the main highlights alongside some of Vatican's lesser-known gems.

With your friendly private guide, you can ask as many questions as you like and the tour will move at a pace that suits your group. Plus, if there's anywhere you'd like to spend more time or particular artworks you want to see, your guide will try to make that happen!

Early Morning Private Vatican Tour Description

Your 3.5-hour private tour includes:

  • Skip-the-line Vatican private tour

  • Pio Clementino Museum and Gallery of Masks

  • Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries, and the Gallery of the Maps

  • Raphael Rooms and School of Athens

  • Entry to the Sistine Chapel

  • Explore inside St. Peter's Basilica (except Wednesdays)

  • A private, English-speaking Vatican guide

Pio Clementino Museum and Nero’s Bathtub

Your private guide will take you to the Pio Clementino Museum where you'll see three of the most iconic statues in the world. Learn about the myths and legends associated with the Apollo Belvedere, Laocoön and His Sons, and the Belvedere Torso. You'll also visit one of the biggest and oldest bathtubs you'll ever see, made for Emperor Nero from a rare red marble that discovered in Egypt and impossible to find today.

Gallery of Masks

On this tour, you'll have a chance to see an incredible gallery that's only open to authorized guides and groups. Here you'll see an amazing collection of female Greek statues, tiled mosaics (some from Hadrian's villa), and beautiful paintings. And you'll see the reason for the name "Gallery of Masks," though there is much more to see here than just masks.

The Best Galleries at the Vatican

Your private guide will lead you on through the Vatican Museums before the big crowds, visiting the Candelabra Gallery, 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.

At the height of the Roman Empire, pontiffs rarely left Rome. In order to understand the Italian peninsula without endangering his life, Pope Gregory XIII commissioned 40 giant meticulous maps to be created for his use. Most of these maps measure more than 15 by 16 feet, and the end result is nothing short of spectacular.

You'll hear the stories behind these treasures from your expert guide as the Vatican secrets are slowly unveiled to you.

Raphael Rooms

Raphael is the epitome of a Renaissance artist. In the period of European civilization immediately following the Middle Ages, a great period of revival in art, literature, and thought occurred. Raphael encompassed the ideals of a Renaissance man and frescoed multiple rooms inside of the Vatican Museums. Among other masterpieces, see one of Raphael’s most famous works of art, The School of Athens.

The Sistine Chapel

One of the top things to do in Vatican City is visit the Sistine Chapel. Since you're coming early in the morning, it will be less crowded in this beautiful chapel than in the afternoon. Speaking is not allowed in the chapel since it's a sacred space, so your guide will explain what you'll see before entering and give you a handy guide for reference.

Only when you are inside is it clear why the Sistine Chapel is one of the most celebrated works of art in Western civilization. Michelangelo painted more than 600 figures in all, and the sheer magnitude of his endeavor is mind-blowing. As one of Michelangelo’s most prized masterpieces, the Sistine Chapel also serves as a gathering place for cardinals of the Catholic Church when electing a new pope.

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 a portion of your Vatican tour. We understand the summers in Rome are hot - a great alternative is to bring a shawl/sweater to wrap around you when necessary.

St. Peter's Basilica

Your final stop on this tour is St. Peter's Basilica, so follow your guide through the special corridor reserved for groups to access the basilica quickly. Before you enter, your guide will share about the history and construction of this incredible church. They will give tips for what to look for when you enter to explore on your own such as the Baldacchino, La Pietá, the statue of St. Peter, and more.

Please note that 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
Skip-the-line early access Vatican private tour
Pio-Clementino Museum and Gallery of Masks
Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries, and the Gallery of the Maps
Raphael Rooms and School of Athens
Early entry to the Sistine Chapel
Explore inside St. Peter's Basilica (except Wednesdays)
A private, English-speaking Vatican guide
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136 total reviews

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5.0/5 (based on 136 reviews)
5 stars
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1 stars
24 May 2024
J
Reviewed by
Jared Pelley

21 May 2024
S
Reviewed by
Stephen Guebert

Best tour ever!! Our Guide was very knowledgeable and helpful !! Loved our small private tour and personal attention!!

17 May 2024
V
Reviewed by
Vicki Gold

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to bring?

In addition to wearing or bringing clothing that covers your knees and shoulders, it's recommended to wear comfortable shoes. You're also welcome to bring a water bottle as it can get hot inside the Vatican during the summer months.

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 certain 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 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 in without waiting in 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 security line after our timed-ticket entry. For this reason, we leave the meeting point as early as possible and get in the security line reserved for tour operators before the general public.

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

St. Peter's is always included on this private Vatican Museums tour, except on Wednesdays when it is closed in the morning for the papal audience.

What to bring?

In addition to wearing or bringing clothing that covers your knees and shoulders, it's recommended to wear comfortable shoes. You're also welcome to bring a water bottle as it can get hot inside the Vatican during the summer months.

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

If you have any doubts about your mobility, this is your best bet for a Vatican tour. Private Vatican tours are more easily customized to the needs of people with reduced mobility.

Is photography allowed in the Sistine Chapel?

No photography is allowed inside the Sistine Chapel.

Can I join a group tour of the Vatican instead?

Sure! If you'd like a more affordable option, check out our Privileged Entrance Vatican Tour.

Start From: $456.52

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