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TOUR DAYS

Mo, Tu, Th, Fr, Sa

START TIME

7:25 am

ENTRY

Admission included

DURATION

2 hours

Streamline your Vatican Museums visit with a personal insider who knows not only the history but also all the shortcuts, bypasses and timesavers. We’ll whizz pass the nonessentials and shine the spotlight on the two main protagonists of the show – the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica.

Why you'll love this tour

  • Enter the Museums one hour before the general public for a uniquely quiet visit to the Sistine Chapel.

  • Enjoy a fully guided tour of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica with one of our dynamic Vatican guides.

  • Get a taste of Italian hospitality as you dig in on the complimentary pre-tour breakfast in our office.

Tour description

Fit your Vatican visit into a 2-hour time slot

On a tight sightseeing schedule? Traveling with some not-so-museum-loving kids? Or just looking to maximize your precious time in the Eternal City? Whatever your reason may be, we are happy to announce that there is in fact a way to get the best of the Vatican without making it a full-day affair. On our whistle-stop tour of the Vatican featuring the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica, you will breeze past all lines and fast-track straight to the main must-sees in only 2 hours.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; there is no better way to start a morning of sightseeing in the Vatican City than with the quintessential Italian breakfast in the pleasant company of an expert local. Get to know your guide over a scrumptious croissant and a cup of hot coffee (or a fresh orange juice for the youngsters) before taking the 2-minute walk to the Vatican Museums’ entrance. Private tours are all about customization, so feel free to let us know if you have any special requests in mind (you’re the one who calls the shots after all!).

Exclusive access to the Sistine Chapel – before the crowds

We could save the best for last… but we’d rather make your jaw drop right off the bat! Gawk at stunning tapestries, lifelike sculptures and intricate Baroque ceilings on the art-filled route to the very crown jewel of the Vatican – the glorious Sistine Chapel. With exclusive access to the Museums and all of their treasures one hour before general public, you will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to marvel at Michelangelo’s piece de résistance in the blissful peace it deserves – without the usual rush and crush of tourists.

The exceptional storytelling skills of our official Vatican tour guides are put to good use as you learn more about the man (the myth, the legend!) behind the world’s most famous ceiling. Hot-tempered and never one to shy away from controversy, Michelangelo has left quite a few intriguing tales for posterity. The Renaissance “rock star” was known to avenge himself against the few who had the courage to criticize his work – using a paintbrush as his only weapon. One who learnt this the hard way was Biago da Cesena, the Master of Papal Ceremonies under Pope Paul III. Tucked away in the bottom right corner of the enormous Last Judgment fresco, this critic can be found – hand-painted in Hell, surrounded by snakes and demons. You can imagine what he must have done to deserve this – or you can let us fill you in on the gossip!

Get the lowdown on St. Peter’s Basilica

Navigating efficiently from one masterpiece to another, we'll save hours in line by taking advantage of the exclusive "groups only" passage from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s Basilica. The majestic church can fit up to 65,000 people but, fortunately for us, we won’t have to worry about fighting crowds at this time of day. Listen to enthralling stories of the popes, pilgrims and artistic prodigies who have left their marks on this iconic Catholic site as you explore its every nook and cranny. Some of the awe-inspiring highlights include Bernini’s massive bronze Baldachin and, yet another of Michelangelo’s chef d’œuvres – the towering 446-foot tall dome.

Lastly, we'll stop to admire the sculptural wonder of the Pietá, one of the finest treasures of the Renaissance. The calmness of the Virgin Mary's unspoken suffering as she cradles her dying son has moved viewers for over 500 years and continues to do so to this day. Take a moment to study the folds and creases in Mary’s dress and the tension of the muscles in Christ's body – it’s almost impalpable that such amazing detail and beauty could be made by one man and his chisel. Even more astonishing is the thought that Michelangelo sculpted this masterpiece at the tender age of 24 (enough to give just about anyone a quarter-life-crisis!) – but so again, visiting the Vatican was meant to be a humbling experience.

What you'll experience