Florence tours




Florence tours

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 and optional hotel pick-up.

  • 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
Fantastic experience

What a fantastic day!!! We scheduled the Vatican VIP Early Entrance Private Tour and could not have been happier with our experience. Upon arrival, we were greeted by Pip who was very friendly and welcoming. (The croissants were fresh and delicious and the coffee was marvelous!) Elaine was our guide for the day - she was fantastic! We learned so much about the Vatican and St. Peter's. Her depth of knowledge is more than impressive and her love and appreciation for the history there really shows through. She was able to point out unique intricacies throughout the tour and tell stories to make you feel that you actually knew the people. Thank you What A Life Tours for a wonderful experience we will always treasure.

Private Vatican Tour was perfect

This was one of the main highlights of our visit to Italy. Mario was our tour guide and we had Kat as our photographer. Mario was so knowledgeable that it was almost hard to absorb it all. He knew exactly which exhibits to focus on during our 3.5 hours and he made the entire tour not only fun but extremely educational. The tour was in January and we started off early in the morning before the crowds. We went first to the Sistine Chapel and I don't think that there were even 25 people in the chapel. Until we got into St. Peters Basilica it felt like we were the only ones in the place. I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to get the most out of their tour. Mario even spent extra time with us as we spent almost four hours together. Thank you What a Life Tours!

the best value

The Vatican Early Access Tour is the best value when it comes to Vatican Tours. You see the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica in 3.5 hours. Our guide Carlotta took us to see the Sistine Chapel when the Vatican Museum is still closed to the public. I really appreciated the small number of people inside. Carlotta is very knowledgeable and armed with an archaeological degree. I will definitely use What A Life Tours and Carlotta again!!

Private Vatican/Sistine Chapel early entry

We did a private tour of the Vatican with Giuliano and it was amazing. The early entry was key to the enjoyment of the tour, and Giuliano made the 3.5 hour tour interesting from start to finish. The cost of the tour when we booked seemed steep, but it was absolutely worth every penny. I would recommend this tour to everyone, though young children (under 10) may find it a bit exhausting.

Great tour without the crowds

Maria was my private tour guide for an early morning tour of the Vatican museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica before all the crowds arrived. I really enjoyed my tour as Maria was very engaging, informative and answered all my questions. She came prepared with an iPad holding many photos and details of the sites we would be seeing that also helped with her explanations. I also received a complimentary Sistine Chapel book, had a great breakfast and enjoyed the ride from my hotel to the Vatican. Would definitely do it again!

Please Note*

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.

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