At a Glance Why You'll Love It
Tour Summary Get in the Know
The Only Way to See the Vatican Early Access
Want to ensure your Vatican experience is a memorable one? We've done all the legwork for you on our Vatican Early Access Tour! First, you'll enter to see the 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 this tour, 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 to the Vatican from Raphael to St. Peter's
After the Sistine Chapel, 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 this tour culminates in St. Peter's Basilica (*except most Wednesdays in high season, see note below). 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
Upon entering the chapel, the visual cues are spellbinding. Covering 12,000 square feet, biblical stories inhabit almost every centimeter of space. Gaze upwards at Michelangelo’s ceiling, a masterful tour de force and cornerstone of High Renaissance art, to behold nine mystical depictions of stories from the Book of Genesis. His other masterpiece on the altar wall, The Last Judgment, foreshadows the Second Coming of Christ and the final eternal judgment by God of all humanity. Our early entry Vatican guided tours afford our customers the opportuity to experience this iconic chapel without the chaos and crowds.
Security checks at the Vatican may cause some lines to form even for skip the line tours. Our customers will always enter with priority over the general public.
Wednesday morning tours usually do not include St. Peter's Basilica in high season due to the Papal Audience. Tours are slightly shorter, and you will have the opportunity to stay inside the museum. These dates are marked by an asterisk in the booking calendar with a 10% discount.
A dress code is enforced at the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. Make sure both your shoulders and knees are covered.
Due to mobility restrictions at the Vatican, we can only accept persons requiring wheelchairs on our private Vatican tours.
Vatican Early Access Tour Reviews
What Our Customers Say...
Great guide Lucia. Had an Aunty with mobility issues so they customised a tour to suit our party of five. No waiting in long lines. Worth the money. Cappuccino and fresh croissant before we started tour.
My wife and I toured Rome last year and loved our tours so much we returned with our kids and sent them on the same tours. Great company
Guide was knowledgeable and thorough. We would have never seen and understood so much by ourselves in our limited time frame. I knew going on your own would involve long waiting lines but when I saw the reality. just WOW. My husband would never have waited in a line that long. So this tour made it possible for us to see the Vatican. Getting up at 5am was worth it.
Highly recommend this tour. We learned so much. Anna did an incredible job as our tour guide. Worth every penny and more!
We were so pleased that we booked tours with What a Life prior to visiting Italy. It's impossible to describe the scope of the museums and monuments as well as the size of the crowds. A tour helps you to focus on what you came to see while the guide easily navigates to bring alive the highlights. Carlotta did a fabulous job with our group. Lovely to listen to, passionate about the subject matter, enjoyable to be around. Wonderful morning spent!