Group Size





3.5 hrs


7:20 am

Ranked #1 on TripAdvisor since 2011 with thousands of 5-star reviews, you're guaranteed to have the experience of a lifetime on our Private Vatican Tour. See the Sistine Chapel an hour before its doors open to the general public and get skip-the-line access to St. Peter’s Basilica, exploring all the timeless treasures with a top-rated personal guide.

At a Glance Why You'll Love It

  • Get VIP treatment enter the Vatican Museums without the lines a full hour before gates open for regular admission. Includes continental breakfast at our office.

  • Follow an enlightening route through the splendors of the Holy See including the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, Gallery of Maps and St. Peter’s Basilica, all at the quietest time of day.

  • Enjoy the undivided attention of a personal passionate Vatican expert with all the flexibility and attention that only a private tour experience can provide.

Tour Summary Get in the Know

The Treasures of the Vatican Before the Crowds

If there’s one thing to wake up early for on your trip to Rome then our Private Vatican Early Entry Tour is precisely it. On this VIP-style journey inside the walls of the Holy See you’ll admire the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s masterpiece, before the crowds arrive, and have the opportunity to tailor your tour based on your points of interest and itinerary of choice. You'll also skip-the-line at St. Peter's Basilica to discover the treasures of the world's largest and most influential church. Your private guide will be there every step of the way to make sure your experience is a mesmerizing one.

After enjoying complimentary continental breakfast at our comfortable offices just steps from the entrance to the Vatican Museums, you’ll take advantage of our entry time, one hour before regular ticket-holders are allowed inside. Not only will you be able to navigate corridors and galleries with ease and time to focus on details, you’ll also see the Sistine Chapel with a tiny fraction of the people who will literally “occupy” it later in the day.

Michelangelo & the Sistine Chapel Pure Mastery

Sorry Raphael, but any visit to the Vatican is all about Michelangelo. From the omnipresent dome of St. Peter’s to the multi-masterpiece Sistine Chapel, and the spectacular Pietà to the cameo in Raphael’s iconic School of Athens, his mind, brushstrokes and chisel-work are everywhere. Your guide is a bonafide expert in the affair and will walk you through the extraordinary accomplishments of this Italian master, and true-to-the-word Renaissance man, without masses of other visitors crowding your view.

The most amazing of the Sistine Chapel ceiling panels is the Creation of Adam, depicting God and the first of all men nearly touching fingers, an image that has become an integral part of our understanding of art and the divine. None the less powerful in imagery is Michelangelo's The Last Judgment, a representation of the second coming at the end of days as good souls are separated from those with less sinless natures, many with symbols of their own martyrdom. The vibrant colors of all of this are no less breathtaking than the backstories provided by your guide.

Inside St. Peter's Basilica Vast Treasure Trove

The magic of St. Peter’s Basilica is just through a set of skip-the-line doors, also closed to standard attendees who'll have to take the long way around the world’s smallest country to get inside. Welcome to majesty personified as architecture. This massive work of human endeavor took 120 years to complete involving the greatest engineering and artistic minds of the age, from Michelangelo to Bernini. There were in fact no less than seven architects put to the task by some 20 popes.

Inside you’ll stand agape by the sublime proportions. Your guide will take you to see Michelangelo’s Pietà, a masterpiece the famed Florentine sculptor completed at just 24 years of age, followed by a series of dazzling side chapels including that dedicated to Pope John Paul II. Then it’s on to Bernini’s enormous bronze baldachin, the canopy to the Pope’s private altar above the ancient tomb of St. Peter himself. You’ll also have the chance to discover the secrets of St. Peter’s Square with the optical illusions that Bernini so carefully planned for its visitors. Still have questions? Your private guide will satisfy your every curiosity before parting ways.

What You'll See Along the Way

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Private Vatican Early Entry Reviews

What our customers say...

Overall rating
A must do!

This was the way to see SO much and to avoid big crowds. Our guide Marco was amazing...extremely knowledgeable and a great personality.


Our tour was amazing. Giuliano was a fantastic guide, really knowledgeable and easy to understand. At times we had areas of the Vatican almost to ourselves! Thank you for a wonderful and memorable experience. Thoroughly recommend this tour.

Must see!

We did the early access vatican tour with Anna and it was fantastic! Pro tip: we scheduled car service through the company to pick us up from our hotel in the morning so we weren't lost trying to find the office. We met our wonderful tour guide Anna who is passionate, enthusiastic and very knowledgeable. She made the tour fun and interesting and had a great personality! She really knows her material! We would definitely schedule another tour with What a Life, this tour is a must see!

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.

Increased security measures at the Vatican Museums may cause some lines to form for tours with skip the line entry. Our customers will still always enter with priority over general admission ticket holders.

A dress code is required at some sites on this tour, namely the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. Please make sure that both your shoulders and knees are covered.

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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