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Vatican Early Access Tour

with Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms & St. Peter's Basilica

Overall rating:
Vatican Early Access Before the Crowds Tour Overall rating: ★★★★★ 5 based on 22 reviews.
5 1
Group size: max 12 Language: English Duration: 3.5 hrs Start Time: 9:00 am

Join our exclusive small group Vatican tour in the early morning and see the sights at your own pace. Ranked #1 on TripAdvisor since 2011, this is our best-selling Vatican tour. Get early entrance to the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums & Raphael Rooms. Book now and beat the crowds! In groups of 12 guests or fewer, you’re guaranteed to have personal attention that is hard to come by at this venue. That’s why TripAdvisor reviewers vote this the best early access Vatican tour!

For September/October 2020 due to safety regulations we do have to revert the itinerary, but you will always visit the big 3’s: St. Peter’s Basilica + Vatican Museums + Sistine Chapel!

At a Glance Why You’ll Love It

 Meet at our comfortable offices less than a block from the museum entrance where you’ll be pampered with hotel-like service, an italian breakfast with croissant and cappuccino, and true hospitality.
 Enter the Vatican Museums at 8:00 am (a full 1-hour head start on the general public!) to enjoy masterpieces like the Raphael Rooms and Sistine Chapel without budging or being budged.
 Enjoy the Vatican City in small groups of 12 people or fewer for personal attention from your expert story-teller guide without getting herded around.

Tour Summary Get in the Know

The Only Way to See the Vatican

Want to ensure your Vatican experience is a memorable one? We’ve done all the legwork for you on our Vatican Early Morning Tour! First, you’ll enter to see the Vatican museum’s breathtaking masterpieces one hour before the big bronze doors open to the general public, meaning that the premises will be filled with only a small fraction of the visitors pushing their way through the corridors later in the day. What’s more, you won’t be struggling to get noticed by your guide, or keep up with them.

On one of our early Vatican tours, you’ll be one of just 12 other guests, so you’ll have more than the mic and earphones in common with your guide, getting real personalized attention and really connecting with the charms of one of the most visited art collections on Earth. Add this to the continental breakfast and helpful staff at our offices before your tour begins, and it’s easy to see why we’ve been ranked #1 on TripAdvisor since 2011.

The Sistine Chapel & More Free of Crowds

Once inside the Vatican Museums, it’s straight to the main event – the Sistine Chapel. Gaze upon Michelangelo’s stupefying ceiling, Creation of Adam and the Last Judgment in awe, sharing the space with your group and a few others. Take your time – and savor each moment – because this is an experience you’ll never want to forget, as you nearly reach out and touch one of humankind’s most astounding creative achievements.

Some 25,000 people visit this world-famous chapel every day, meaning that during peak season opening hours there are thousands crammed into this opulent yet tiny space. Michelangelo’s enigmatic frescoes are brimming with genius and symbolism, but they can go completely unnoticed if you’re worried about losing your group, or where to put your feet. Give yourself the chance to see it the way Michelangelo intended, with a tour company that has our TripAdvisor pedigree.

More of the Vatican City from Raphael to St. Peter’s

After the Sistine Chapel Tour, follow your guide back through the museums, savoring the finer details of the multitude of artworks. Some of the most famous and timeless master works can be found in the Vatican’s gigantic collection, founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century. Get a thorough look at the Lacoöon, Belvedere Apollo, dazzling Raphael Rooms and more with a captivating historic photograph at each stop from your expert guide.

The finale of our early entry Vatican tours culminates in St. Peter’s Basilica. Majestic and inspired, it is the perfect place to come full circle on the morning’s itinerary. Every inch of this 240,000 square foot church is breathtaking, but our tour goes beyond the gold and splendor, revealing the true stories of fervor, innovation, faith and power. Feast your eyes on Michelangelo’s Pietà and admire the stunning interior of the dome he designed, as well as Bernini’s massive bronze baldachin sitting over the Pope’s private alter directly above St. Peter’s tomb.

What you’ll See Along the Way

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Tour Highlights

  • Continental Breakfast before the tour
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Raphael Rooms
  • Belvedere Apollo
  • Laocoön and His Sons
  • Belvedere Torso
  • Gallery of Maps
  • Gallery of Tapestries
  • Gallery of Candelabra
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Michelangelo’s Pietà
  • Bernini’s Baldachin


  • Skip-the-line access to St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Expert English-speaking tour guide
  • Small group of 12 or fewer
  • All tickets and reservations
  • Italian breakfast
  • Headsets to hear the guide clearly

Please Note*

The itinerary of this tour may vary depending on how busy the Museums are. On particulary crowded days, the guide may choose to reverse the order of the sights to ensure a more enjoyable visit.

Vatican Early Access Tour Reviews

What Our Customers Say…

Vatican Early Access Before the Crowds Tour Overall rating: ★★★★★ 5 based on 22 reviews.
5 1

Two wonderful tours

My husband and I took two tours - Vatican Early Access and the Colosseum Underground, Palatine Hill and Roman Forum. Both tours were guided by Carlotta. She was extremely knowledgeable, kind, entertaining and funny. We really enjoyed our time with her. She offered to spend a little extra time in St. Peter's at the end of our Vatican tour and my husband and I decided to stay. By the end of the tour I felt like we were old friends. I would definitely recommend What a Life Tours. Their service was professional, prompt and courteous.
- Margo Rogers

Do not miss this!

Meet early at the What A Life tour office 200 metres from the Vatican Entrance - coffee and pastries for breakfast :-) - a nice touch. We met our tour guide Carlotta and sorted out radio headphones, then walk to the Vatican entrance ready for the earliest possible start. Carlottas commentary and knowledge were fantastic - very engaging and delivered at the perfect pace. I cannot recommend this tour highly enough. Thank-you Carlotta and What A Life tours, you made our first day in Roma something very special.
- Andy L

I was stunned

This was my first time in Rome and I did a bit of looking around before deciding on the early morning tour with What a Life Tours. So glad I booked with this company!! I arrived by taxi to their office, was greeted warmly, had a delicious coffee and croissant, and then we took off to get in line at the Vatican. My guide was Mario, and he was the best guide out of all the tours and things I did while I was in italy by a long shot! He explained and revealed so many interesting things about what we were seeing, all while maintaining a really respectful and gentle attitude. Do not miss this tour!
- Melissa G

Tour with Mario was excellent

We so enjoyed our tour with Mario as it was best ever! From the moment we arrived for tour until the very end we were treated so kindly with warm pastries and delicious coffee! Mario was a phenomenal guide and his drama/theater background was quite evident throughout as we felt we were living in the moment. His passion and extensive knowledge was clear in every word he spoke.....we loved it!
- Levan B

Just amazing!

We had the 7am tour at the Vatican with Mario, and it was beyond words incredible!!! So worth it! He is a really smart and funny guy!! Had an unforgettable experience!
- Beatriz M

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