Max 12




3.5 hrs


7:20 am

Join our exclusive Vatican tour with early access to the sights. Ranked #1 on TripAdvisor, 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 Vatican tour!

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 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 Judgement 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 this tour 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

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.

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.

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.

St. Peter's Basilica is an active parish and therefore subject to last minute closures due to mass or other religious events. In these cases, we will offer an extended tour of the Vatican Museums to see treasures not included on our normal tour itinerary.

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Vatican Early Access Tour Reviews

What Our Customers Say...

Overall rating
What every tourist wants!

As the title suggests, this was a great tour and the awards for What a Life are well deserved. The office was welcoming even for early arrivals like us, breakfast was just right, and the staff was friendly, even before sunrise!  Being at the front of the line for entry to the museum was priceless. We did this tour at the end of a vacation that included at least 9 other tours and tour guides, and Elaine was our favorite. 

Mario was fantastic!
My family loved the tour. Mario was fantastic. He was the perfect combination of academia and entertainment. He maneuvered and guided our group with exceptional timing. I’m so pleased with our experience. We would have never been able to experience these wonders to the same level without his expert guidance. We will recommend What a Life and Mario to our friends, family and colleagues. Thank you for such a thoughtful and comprehensive tour!
Vatican Early Access

Having Elaine as our tour guide, we were not only in for a delightfully informative tour, beautiful British accent and also a generous amount of enthusiasm. She simply loves her job and we were the beneficial recipients of her abundant knowledge. My feeling was that she had so much more to share, but we ran out of time. Every tour (four) we took with this company was top notch! We are only sorry that time limited our ability to experience more valued tours. Than you so much Elaine for making our visit to Rome a cherished memory.

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