2 hours
6:00 AM


  • Join the Vatican Key Master on a special access tour and witness the opening of the Vatican Museums for the day.
  • Spend a few precious moments alone inside the Sistine Chapel.
  • Enjoy two exquisite hours inside the museums, sharing the space with a group of no more than 20 guests in total.
  • Follow an official Vatican guide who will reveal fascinating context and hidden details in each of the galleries you visit.
  • Spend as much time as you desire inside the museums at the conclusion of your tour.

Tour description

The Key Master's tour is the most incredible Vatican experience available.

Just before dawn in Vatican City, the Key Master moves from gallery to gallery, unlocking the various sections within the Vatican Museums. For the very first time, officials at the Vatican have invited a select few tour operators (including us!) to take part in this incredible morning ritual. For two memorable hours, join a small group before any other visitor steps foot inside, following the official Vatican Key Master to unlock the galleries (including the Sistine Chapel) for their thousands of daily visitors—none of whom you will even see.

Enjoy two full hours with an official Vatican guide.

Along with the Key Master, an official Vatican guide will join you on the tour, adding color and character to these hallowed halls. Along the way, they'll introduce you to famed frescos, marble sculptures, and artifacts of grandiose proportions. Void of the daily crowds, you'll appreciate the time and space given in one of the world's most revered spaces. Greet world-renowned works of art including Raphael's School of Athens, the celebrated Apollo Belvedere, and Laocoön and His Sons. Float through the most famed galleries such as the Gallery of Maps and Gallery of the Tapestries.

Spend time (truly) alone in the Sistine Chapel.

With great anticipation, you'll approach the small, unassuming wooden doors leading to the Sistine Chapel. Here, the Key Master graciously allows our guests a chance to turn the key and pry open the old doors, just as cardinals and popes have done for centuries. Beyond the threshold, celestial figures of Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Perugino await your arrival. Step inside and feast your gaze upon the most famous work of art in the world in unrivaled silence and peace.

Once your Vatican Key Master's Tour draws to a close, you're welcome to stay in the museums at your own leisure for as long as you choose. You'll depart full of wonder and awe, with memories of uninterrupted access to the world's greatest masterpieces that will be with you for years to come.

Please note that this description is an example and your experience may vary depending on the season, day of the week, and group size. Regardless of where your tour goes, you always have an excellent experience.

Sites visited

  • Vatican Museums
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Raphael Rooms (Stanze di Raffaello)
  • Belvedere Courtyard (Pinecone)
  • Octagonal Courtyard (Apollo Belvedere & Laocoön)
  • Gallery of the Candelabra
  • Gallery of Maps
  • Gallery of the Tapestries


Verified guest reviews

4.8 / 5
198 Customer Reviews
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Jun 22, 2024

The ability to see the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, without crowds, was very special. There is so much to see that i wish we had more time on the tour. The only criticism is that the guide was very knowledgable, but since we were walking in a group of 20 people, it was impossible to hear him speaking for most of the trip. Would have been much better to have the hearing devices to support his conversation.


Jun 22, 2024

Excellent experience; opening the Sistine Chapel was magical. Stay close to the guide and you will catch good information.


Jun 03, 2024

This tour is amazing! To be the ONLY GROUP in the Vatican museum at this time... is just priceless. You can see those beautiful and historical items without competing with thousands of other folks for vantage points. Photos are easy - as you're not being 'rushed thru' from room to room due to all the other tourists. Seeing the amazing rooms 'come to light' as the doors are unlocked (one by one) and lights turn on... is hard to put into words. Worth every penny - best tour in Rome!


May 06, 2024

We were here two weeks and this was the absolutely best tour ever! An experience of a lifetime. Can’t recommend this tour enough.


May 05, 2024

Both of us got to unlock doors. A must do tour.

Know before you book

Make it a perfect day


Enjoy the finer things in Rome on this one-day itinerary. Start the day with a VIP tour of the Vatican Museums and end with a food tour in the charming Trastevere for a day you won’t soon forget.

From $503
Free Cancellation