Walks of Italy

Walks of Italy

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Vatican - Pristine Sistine

Key Details

  • City: Vatican
  • Duration: 3 hrs 45 mins
  • Start Time: 7:35 AM

Tour Highlights

  • Stand on the altar of the Sistine Chapel and admire the little details of Michelangelo’s masterpiece – without being pushed or shoved! We enter the museums before the general public.

  • See the best of the Vatican City in under four hours. With a guided tour of the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums (including the Raphael Rooms) and St. Peter’s Basilica, you’ll cover all the bases.

  • Engage with the art and architecture of the Vatican. Our guides are passionate art historians, while our groups never number more than 12, so you’ll get the most from your once-in-a-lifetime visit.

Enter the Vatican before the crowds Rush to the Sistine Chapel before the public Busy Vatican Museum corridors See the Sistine Chapel when it's almost empty Guide uses aids to explain Sistine frescoes The Sistine Chapel Roof Visit the Raphael Rooms The School of Athens by Raphael Raphael Rooms: Can you spot Raphael? Raphael Rooms: Do you see Rocky? This sculpture inspired Michelangelo The Belvedere Torso Ancient Greek sculptures, Vatican Museums Nero's bath (its literally priceless!) The Laocoon Group, Vatican Museums Apollo Belvedere, Vatican Museums The Gallery of the Maps, Vatican Museums St. Peter's Basilica, included on our Pristine Sistine Tour Inside St. Peter's Basilica Bernini's 'Baldachin' altar, St. Peter's Basilica Michelangelo's 'Pieta', St. Peter's Basilica The ceiling of St. Peter's Basilica Bernini's stained glass window, St. Peter's Basilica Rubbing St. Peter's foot for luck Pristine Sistine Chapel tour ends at St. Peter's Square

EXTENDED TOUR DESCRIPTION

The Sistine Chapel on our Pristine Sistine Tour

ENTER THE SISTINE CHAPEL BEFORE THE GENERAL PUBLIC

For the last four years we’ve worked on honing our signature Pristine Sistine™ Tour to be the perfect experience. We’ve taken over 50,000 visitors inside the Sistine Chapel before the general public enters to experience the Sistine at its shining best. During the summer months in particular, the crowds can be terrible during general access hours, but not when you visit. You’ll power through the empty corridors of the Vatican Museums and be among the first visitors to arrive at the Chapel, for a much more peaceful (pristine!) experience.

Our guides have been carefully chosen as the perfect travel companions, enriching your visit with witty anecdotes and entertaining details to bring world-famous works to life. Entering before the public you’ll have time to get up close to the art, admiring it from every angle, without having to use your elbows. But that’s only the start of our journey.

The Raphael Rooms

ENGAGE WITH THE BEST OF THE VATICAN MUSEUMS COLLECTION

We say engage because that’s what you’ll do. Your guide will lead you on a carefully- crafted route through the best of the collection, teaching you not just about the art and history of the collection (which spans from Ancient Greece to a very modern “Squashed Tomato”) but the history of the Papal Palaces too and the many characters that have lived, worked, ruled and painted here.

Traveling in small groups of only 12 people or fewer (with personal headsets in case it’s a little loud) you’ll always be able to hear your guide and engage with their stories, asking all the questions you can think of. We won’t finish at the Vatican Museums though. Our next stop is the world’s largest ancient basilica.

St. Peter's Basilica

SKIP THE LINES INTO ST. PETER’S BASILICA

As an official Vatican tour operator, we’ll go directly from the Vatican Museums to St. Peter’s Basilica, bypassing long general access lines and saving a 30-minute walk. Everything about this incredible building is awe-inspiring. From Bernini’s monumental carved Baldachin altarpiece to Michelangelo’s emotional ‘Pietà’ and the huge dome whose completion (literally) threatened to tear the basilica in half.

As you explore every nook and cranny of this huge building, you’ll get an insight into the heart of the Catholic Church and Renaissance Italy with our passionate guides at the helm. Our Pristine Sistine™ Chapel Tour guarantees that perfect Sistine moment – plus an engaging and entertaining three hours to follow.

You’ll probably only visit the Vatican City once. Make it perfect with our original, pristine tour.

Sites visited

  • Sistine Chapel (twice)
  • Raphael Rooms
  • Belvedere Courtyard with Apollo Belvedere & Laocoön & His Sons
  • Pinecone Courtyard
  • Gallery of the Candelabra
  • Gallery of the Maps
  • Gallery of the Tapestries
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • St. Peter’s Square

Included

  • Skip the Line Access tickets to the Vatican Museums (with early entrance an hour before the general public!)
  • Skip the Line Access to St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Expert Walks of Italy tour guide
  • Small groups, never more than 12 people
  • Headsets

Reviews

5-stars from over 1780 Customer Reviews

We loved both of our tours! The guides were GREAT and very informative. We were so glad we went to the Sistine Chapel in the morning and missed the crowds. It was a great experience! No complaints! Thank you!
The Sistine Chapel tour was fantastic. Cecelia got us to the Chapel right away and we got to experience it well before many other tours were there. She was incredibly informative. Being there at 7:30 a.m. was perfect!
our Pristine Sistine Tour and our tour guide was very knowledgeable! Very satisfied customers!!!
Pristine Sistine....Glorious!
Pristine Sistine: The best of all four of our tours. Great guide with fabulous knowledge and access. Even those of us who had been to the Vatican were knocked out.
Fabulous . Our guide was marvellous both knowledgable and personable. It was amazing that we had the Sistine chapel to ourselves something I will treasure as a true once in a lifetime experience. Thank you
Excellent tours. Both tour guides were very knowledgeable about the history of Rome and the Vatican.
We enjoyed the tour very much. Camilla, our guide, she was great! Very knowledgable and paces herself very well in explaining the history of the sights and answering questions. We'll definitely be checking out other tours from Walks of Italy again for our next trip!
An incredible insight into Rome and it's layers of history. Both David and Toni gave us their endless amount of knowledge of Roma and the Vatican. Thank you for sharing one of Europes great treasures with us. A fantastic tour to be part of.

Important information

Before you travel, please read our important notes about possible disruptions & site entrance requirements

As with all museums, particular galleries of the Vatican museums can sometimes be closed without prior notice and pieces removed for restoration or loan. In the case of a gallery being closed, your guide will take you to another section of the museums instead.

Also, please remember that the Sistine Chapel is a holy place, and attire must be appropriate for the visit. Both men and women are asked to wear clothing that covers at least the shoulders and knees. Walks of Italy cannot be held responsible for denied entry due to improper dress. Please note that, since the chapel is at the end of the Vatican visit, it is sufficient to bring extra coverings with you and put them on before our entrance to the holy areas.

Note: We advise our clients that St.Peter's Basilica may be closed during special celebrations/festivities, including the Easter ceremonies. If this occurs during your visit, we will spend more time inside the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. Your guide will still give you an introduction to the church should you wish to visit this on your own at a later occasion. We are unable to provide refunds or discounts.

IMPORTANT: While the Vatican Museums are equipped with elevators for wheelchair access, they are not conveniently located on the group tour route and only give access to specific sections of the Museums. Please contact us at [email protected] if you have walking disabilities or if you are in a wheelchair. We can then work out a suitable alternative.

Please ensure that all members of your party have a valid ID on them on the day of the visit. This is particularly important for guests who have qualified for a senior, student, or child reduction.

For details of what you may and may not bring inside the Vatican Museums (you may not, for example, carry backpacks), click here. Guests who do bring these items will be required to leave them in the Vatican cloakroom and will be responsible for collecting them at the end of the tour. Please note that it is a 15 to 20 minute walk from St. Peter’s Square back to the entrance of the Museums.

Similar Tours

We loved both of our tours! The guides were GREAT and very informative. We were so glad we went to the Sistine Chapel in the morning and missed the crowds. It was a great experience! No complaints! Thank you!
The Sistine Chapel tour was fantastic. Cecelia got us to the Chapel right away and we got to experience it well before many other tours were there. She was incredibly informative. Being there at 7:30 a.m. was perfect!
our Pristine Sistine Tour and our tour guide was very knowledgeable! Very satisfied customers!!!
Pristine Sistine....Glorious!
We've done three tours and all tours were brilliant! The guides were all very pleasant and nice and very knowledgeable! We never had to wait in queus and if we had to wait for a few minutes there was also some fun fact or information the guides shared with us. It is really worthwhile your money. We loved being at the arena in the Collosseum and experience the sight of seeing it from below and imagining the 40,000 spectators (and the 5,000 women up above, yes I did pay attention, :) ) shouting and cheering the gladiators on. The Borghese villa was great (and we were only three persons in our group so it was very cosy and intimate) and the Vatican museum, St Pieter and Sistine chapel before opening hours was worth every penny. It made our visit so much more interesting. We'll certainly be back for more tours! Thank you so much for making our visit so much more enjoyable!
Pristine Sistine: The best of all four of our tours. Great guide with fabulous knowledge and access. Even those of us who had been to the Vatican were knocked out.
Fabulous . Our guide was marvellous both knowledgable and personable. It was amazing that we had the Sistine chapel to ourselves something I will treasure as a true once in a lifetime experience. Thank you
Fantastic tour with Fabrizio who was very knowledgable and informative. He explained and made sense of the history and background of the Vatican and its many famous artworks. We had an incredible time in the Sistine Chapel with only 5 other people in the Chapel compared with the hundreds of people there when we went back later. Well worth doing the tour.
Rosa was incredibly knowledgeable about the Vatican collection and was able to answer many questions given by the tour members. I appreciate that the tour was kept to such a small number because it made learning much easier. The printout of the Sistine Wall and Ceiling given to us was very useful, so do keep that up. All in all, thank you, and I look forward to booking another tour with Walks of Italy should I visit again.
Excellent tours. Both tour guides were very knowledgeable about the history of Rome and the Vatican.
We enjoyed the tour very much. Camilla, our guide, she was great! Very knowledgable and paces herself very well in explaining the history of the sights and answering questions. We'll definitely be checking out other tours from Walks of Italy again for our next trip!
An incredible insight into Rome and it's layers of history. Both David and Toni gave us their endless amount of knowledge of Roma and the Vatican. Thank you for sharing one of Europes great treasures with us. A fantastic tour to be part of.
Mauro was excellent! Knoweldgable and personable, he led our group through the Vatican and St Peters efficiently while teaching us so much. I have twin 11 year old boys and they loved the tour just as much as the adults did. This is in no small part due to the kind attention and active engagement Mauro provided for them. We loved the tour and will recommend it to all our traveling friends.
It was refreshing to be at the Sistine Chapel when there were only a number of people. We were given 20 minutes by Claudia to spend here. One of the good things about this particular tour is that they limit the number of people per group (I believe we were only around 11), whereas other tour groups had more than 40. This is a must for first-timers!
By chance, we left the Vatican tour to the last day of our week in Rome. Hands down, it was the HIGHLIGHT of the trip! The guide was among the best any of our well-traveled group has ever had. And the opportunity to spend a quiet moment with family in the Sistine Chapel was ... priceless. Can't wait to book more adventures with Walks of Italy.
Great tour. Claudia was a fabulous guide.
Jon was our tour guide for a day trip to Vatican City. He made the tour very interesting and fully captivated our attentions the whole 3 hours and half even though there were so many people around us. He's so knowledgeable about the subject that we really enjoyed the fun facts and cool stories he told us during the tour
The Pristine Sistine tour was amazing! Our tour guide, Claudia, was very informative and helpful, especially answering whatever questions our kids (5 and 7 yrs old) had! Without this tour, we would have just shuffled along the rooms of the Vatican, not knowing the historical significance or trivia regarding the pieces of art that we saw. Priority access was a plus too. When we visit Rome again, we will be sure to take this tour again!
Tour was fantastic. Guide well informed and knowledgable and enjoyable. At times the sound equipment was difficult to hear so we missed some conversations, but we enjoyed seeing anyway. I would recommend it to anyone for sure. It was nice to enter the chapel before the public.
When we got to the Vatican, Guido was not able to get our tickets, apparently due to an administrative error. Consequently we had less time in the Chapel and were behind on the schedule. We only got a bathroom stop for our break and had to deal with more crowds. This was not Guido's fault. If he had not worked so hard to get the ticket situation resolved, we would have not have gotten any private time in the Chapel. He did a great job as a guide, but the tour was rushed and stressful at times as a result of us getting a late start.
We had a wonderful tour with Camilla. She was patient with our children and extremely informative. It made the experience so much more manageable and rewarding.
From the moment we arrived, the tour started just as planned. Jon was a great tour guide, very knowledgeable and clear on every explanation, also managed in a very efficient manner the tour time, in order for us to enjoy the most of everything we were seeing in every step of the way. Jon always was open to addressed every question we had, overall we are extremely satisfied with our tour, and we would definitely take another tour on future visits to Italy with Walk of Italy. Thumbs Up!
Toni was an excellent tour guide. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour and did not want it to end! Toni was extremely knowledgeable on Roman and art history, and she was able to convey this information in an engaging, easy-to-understand manner...we finished the tour wanting more! Toni's engaging discussion, rather than lecture, made it feel less like a tour, and more like a walk through Rome with a friend. We would also like to thank Toni for being especially attentive to the needs of my husband, who was not well that day.
This was a great tour, I would highly recommend it to friends. Our guide Doriana was the best; friendly, knowledgeable, helpful, easy to understand. Our only critical comment is about the meeting location. It felt odd meeting at a tavern unrelated to the tour company a few blocks away from the tour site. We were not sure we were at the right place. Others showed up for the tour feeling the same way. A sign with a company name or acknowledging this was in fact the tour meeting location would have helped put us all at ease.
Julietta was absolutely brilliant! She thoroughly explained everything in great detail and in a fun and easy to understand way. Thankyou
Wonderful insightful tour.
Our guide Rosa was wonderfully knowledgable. It was a treat to be able to view the Sistine chapel without the crowds. Rosa's overview of the artwork before we started was a big help.
This tour was beyond fantastic. Our guide was overflowing with knowledge and energy and knew exactly how to show us the most in the most efficient way. Before we went, we felt the price was rather high, but after the tour, we know it was worth every Euro (and the pre-dawn start time). Only one suggestion: the owner of the cafe where we assembled in the morning deserves to have his generousity in accommodating the large crowd by having a note added to your tour materials that informs participants that the meeting place will be open for breakfast! A few people bought a coffee and a pastry, but most of us had already breakfasted with in-room instant coffee, and would have much preferred one of their beautiful capps and pastries. Nothing else to say but that this tour was the highlight of our two weeks in Rome. BRAVO!!
This tour was beyond fantastic. Our guide was overflowing with knowledge and energy and knew exactly how to show us the most in the most efficient way. Before we went, we felt the price was rather high, but after the tour, we know it was worth every Euro (and the pre-dawn start time). Only one suggestion: the owner of the cafe where we assembled in the morning deserves to have his generousity in accommodating the large crowd by having a note added to your tour materials that informs participants that the meeting place will be open for breakfast! A few people bought a coffee and a pastry, but most of us had already breakfasted with in-room instant coffee, and would have much preferred one of their beautiful capps and pastries. Nothing else to say but that this tour was the highlight of our two weeks in Rome. BRAVO!!
My gosh, do this tour. Don't think twice about it. We spent a week in Rome, and the 30 morning minutes virtually alone in the Sistine Chapel through "Pristine Sistine" is our undisputed highlight. Logistics, guide and her commentary all right on target. Kudos for a program well thought through and well executed
Enjoyed a great tour with lots of great information provided by David. He not only provided information, but also context on everything. You could tell he is a proud Roman
John was an outstanding tour guide. He highlighted all the important sites in Vatican Museum and St Peters. It is fabulous to enter the museum 1 hour ahead of the public- only way to see the Sistine Chapel. We have recommended Walks of Italy to friends who will be traveling in 2015!
My husband and I went on this tour and highly recommend it! I have been to the Vatican on a previous trip during the day and it was so crowded. It is worth getting up early to enjoy the peace of seeing the Sistine Chapel without 100's of other people. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and very sweet. I have done several tours with Walks of Italy and the next time we are in Italy will do more.
Tour was wonderful, information was fabulous and detailed! Your guide was the best!
Both Tours were magnificent & excellent value for money thanks to the passion & the incredible knowledge of our 2 guides Camilla - for the Pristine Sistine Tour & Vincenzo for the VIP Tour of the Colosseum & Ancient Rome. Until you have personally experienced a great tour guide, you will never really know just how much detail you are missing out. These guides kept the tours interesting throughout with anecdotes, humour and insightful advice on what to look for in artworks, on columns etc. There is so much to see in Rome - it was wonderful to have somebody explain & make sense of it all. We highly recommend Walks of Italy & look forward to using them again on our next visit to Italy.
The tour on 15-11-2014, and tour guide Aleesia were excellent. We were told before hand that we should do a private tour and the tour was well worth the price. Rick Steves recommended and we follow everything he suggests. I would highly recommend Aleesia again to anyone she was the best!!! She is incredibly informative, knowledgable and seemed concerned about us gaining knowledge of the wornderful sights. The next time we go to Europe we will definately book our tours through Walks of Italy.
Our Pristine Sistine tour with Camilla, and our Colosseum at Night tour with Guido, were both excellent. We so appreciated Walks of Italy's small group tours - especially in the Vatican. The guides were both very knowledgeable and personable. We would definitely book with Walks of Italy again in the future and recommend them highly.
Our family of 4 took the Pristine Sistine Tour with Uta and she was excellent. One of the best guides we had on our trip.
The Walks of Italy Tour, "Pristine Sistine" with our guide, John, was fantastic! It was worth every penny spent, and we highly recommend the services of this tour company. John was extremely knowledgeable, entertaining, and just very nice. Getting in the venue an hour before the public is PRICELESS. Just a wonderful day for us, and more than met our expectations!
We toured with Jon and what a difference it made to our experience. He is knowledgeable and interested in making it a remarkable experience. Having the Sistine Chapel nearly to ourselves was more than we had hoped for and have been recommending it to our friends!
Our tour was thoroughly enjoyable! We did get a bit tired near the end = but more because it was near the end of our trip
Elisa was an amazing tour guide! She was very informative and very witty! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful place with us and all your knowledge. We really enjoyed ourselves and learned a great deal
David was fantastic. Very friendly, funny and knowledgeable. Will use "walks of Italy" when we are in Italy again. Thank you
Everything about the tour was well organized. The guides were all prompt, courteous, very informative and funny, totally engaging. We though the 3 or 3.5 hour tour would be too long, but the guides kept us interested with the wealth of information they provided. Truly a great tour and I would highly recommend Walks of Italy to our friends
Everything about the tour was well organized. The guides were all prompt, courteous, very informative and funny, totally engaging. We though the 3 or 3.5 hour tour would be too long, but the guides kept us interested with the wealth of information they provided. Truly a great tour and I would highly recommend Walks of Italy to our friends
Sergio is an outstanding and knowledgable guide. He was very sensitive to our interests and needs. Represents your company and Rome extremely well.
From setting up the tour with the office until saying goodbye to our guide Camilla, Walks of Italy proved to be first class, customer-oriented. Camilla, despite a froggy throat from a cold, proved friendly and knowledgeable. This tour is as advertised. Early entrance to the chapel allows for a great experience, easily proven by the fact you pass thru the chapel again moving from end of museum tour to St Peters ... the difference is astounding. The place is mobbed! And yet a wry Camilla says, "not too bad today." I dont even want to imagine what this place is like in high season! Summary: What are you waiting for? Sign up now.
Jeb was great and it was fantastic to have a tour guide who truly spoke english. Would have been nice to not have to race through the museum quite so quickly.