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Pristine Sistine™ Tour
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Key Details

  • City: Vatican
  • Duration: 3 hrs 45 mins
  • Start Time: 7:30 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

ENTER THE SISTINE CHAPEL BEFORE THE GENERAL PUBLIC

There are moments that stay with you forever. Visiting the Sistine Chapel and seeing the masterpieces of Michelangelo should be one of those. For too many visitors, this special experience is ruined by overcrowding, but what if there was a way to guarantee your perfect moment?

Our Pristine Sistine™ Chapel Tour enters the Vatican Museums one hour before they open to the general public. Over the last five years we've practiced this tour on over 50,000 guests, crafting the best possible experience of the Vatican Museums (even during the crowded summer months!) Along with your guide, you'll power through empty galleries to be the first inside the Sistine Chapel – so you can enjoy these masterpieces in peace – then embark on a full tour of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica.

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.

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.

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.

WHICH START TIME SHOULD I CHOOSE?

Through the summer months we're offering two start times on this tour: 7.30AM or 8AM. The 7:30AM start time gets you inside just as the doors open at 8AM, while the 8AM tour aims to enter between 15 and 30 minutes later. We would always recommend starting earlier because there are fewer people inside the Museums and entry is a little faster, but if you value an extra 30 minutes in bed, the 8AM tour still enters the Museums before the general public. The 8AM start time is a little cheaper too, with a €2 discount per person.

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 2850 Customer Reviews

Juliette was a fantastic guide! Her passion and pride for all things Rome shined bright! Our Walks of Italy tour of the Vatican was the highlight of our trip to Rome. Thank you, Juliette!
She was great and very kind and patient. We loved that she was very informative and seemed to really be enthused even though probably doing the tour many many times.
Loved, loved, loved our guide. Wealth of information. Spot on! He was very accommodating to everyone in the group. Extremely knowledgeable and friendly!
Claudia our tour guide was excellent. A really worthwhile tour.
I have used other tour companies in the past ~ "Walks" is SO much better! The tour, the equipment, the number of guests and the guide. Our guide Ootah was fabulous!
Great tour, got to see the sorting chapel without hoards of people around. Breathtaking. A nice tour of some of the highlights in the museums aswell.
Luigi was one of the best guides we have ever had. He was friendly and knowledgeable and provided such an enjoyable tour!
Our guide was wonderful!! She was cheerful and so very knowledgeable! I would highly recommend this tour!
Good your and I'll recommend Pristine Sistine to friends...it was evident how much more crowded the Sistine would be if we had not been able to take your tour when we doubled back thru the SC to get to the Basilica....also appreciated our guide taking us thru the Jubilee door.

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 info@walksofitaly.com 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.

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Juliette was a fantastic guide! Her passion and pride for all things Rome shined bright! Our Walks of Italy tour of the Vatican was the highlight of our trip to Rome. Thank you, Juliette!
(No comment)
She was great and very kind and patient. We loved that she was very informative and seemed to really be enthused even though probably doing the tour many many times.
Our guide, Jeb wasn't just extremely knowledgeable but had a real interest and enthusiasm in the wonderful artifacts and treasures we were seeing on our walk in the Vatican. This encouraged many questions from most of us. The group was small, fewer than 10 (in high season) and Jeb made it a wonderful experience for us. Congratulations on the quality of your guides. We will use you again when next in Italy. Mario
Our tour was a group of 12 people the guide superb although a lot of what he told me was beyond us. paying a premium price to go in was worth it to go in early as two hours later it was bedlam and quite frankly far to many people in there to give the place any dignity whatsoever and that shouldnt be . Overall I'm glad I went but wouldn't go again simply because of the crowds , on our return through the sisteen chapple the place was packed like a football terrace and I tripped over to the floor . An excellent tour and beautiful place but cut down the crowds and give the place the dignity and respect it deserves
Please send me the guide's name as we may come back next fall and wish to have her again. If I know her name we can request her next year. She was wonderful! She was extremely knowledgeable and relayed her information in an enjoyable manner that was not a dry fact filled tour that left you glad it was over. We wanted it to go on. Thank you for a great tour. Please send her name to leokenney@gmail.com
Loved, loved, loved our guide. Wealth of information. Spot on! He was very accommodating to everyone in the group. Extremely knowledgeable and friendly!
Claudia our tour guide was excellent. A really worthwhile tour.
The tour guide was very knowledgeable; however, I feel she tried to squeeze way too much info into each stop. The Vatican Museum apartments were terribly crowded to the point of being dangerous. Something must be done to better manage the crowds!!
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The guide seemed to be rushed and was constantly checking his phone. I may have booked the wrong tour as we were more interested in the museum thant the Sistine chappel.
I have used other tour companies in the past ~ "Walks" is SO much better! The tour, the equipment, the number of guests and the guide. Our guide Ootah was fabulous!
Great tour, got to see the sorting chapel without hoards of people around. Breathtaking. A nice tour of some of the highlights in the museums aswell.
The decision to take the early tour was well justified as the crowds increased greatly once the doors were open to all, making it very difficult to move about or take reasonable photos of points of intrest. The guide was very informative and organised the tour so we saw the Sistine Chapel without many other people being present.
Luigi was one of the best guides we have ever had. He was friendly and knowledgeable and provided such an enjoyable tour!
(No comment)
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Our guide was wonderful!! She was cheerful and so very knowledgeable! I would highly recommend this tour!
(No comment)
Good your and I'll recommend Pristine Sistine to friends...it was evident how much more crowded the Sistine would be if we had not been able to take your tour when we doubled back thru the SC to get to the Basilica....also appreciated our guide taking us thru the Jubilee door.
(No comment)
Maria was fantastic! Can't express how impressed as a guide we were with her. She was an honest and very knowledgeable person, and she stood out from other guides who seemed bored by their jobs or are to used to saying the same thing over and over again. She was very funny and personable, highly recommend!
Guido is a guide"rock star!" We would ask for him again & again. Very knowledgable, and a very smooth leader in tight situations!! Bravo!
Mauricio was amazing...his knowledge and professionalism were a wonderful accompaniment to the sights we took in. My husband had some issues with the physicality of the tour and Mauricio was especially solicitous in making sure he was ok with stairs and access ...so much appreciated... he made a marvelous tour absolutely spectacular. Thank you, thank you...highly recommended.
Tour was great. Crowds were awful
Francesca was fantastic, knowledgeable and engaging. From start to finish, the tour was terrific.
Great guide and tour!
Our guide Juliette was AMAZING. Loved every second of the tour!
Wonderful tour. Well timed given there is so much to see.
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I was disappointed that we did not have more time in the Museum. It would be nice to end there so we could explore after the tour on our own. We just flew through it and didn't get a chance to really look at anything. I was surprised to learn that I would have to go purchase another ticket to go walk through it again.
Same great experience. Couldn't have been happier.
I so appreciated being able to start the tour early and loved having such a long time to take in the art in the Sistine Chapel. Luigi was highly knowledgeable and never flagged throughout the intensive, and ultimately crowded tour through the museums and St Peter's Basilica. His gentle manner and his interesting explanations of what we were seeing made for a memorable tour.
I have been on several Walks of Italy and think they are definitely the best. The guides are knowledgeable and have alway been most kind and informative.
Very informative tour with a very enthusiastic and knowledgable guide. Very satisfied with the experience. Thanks!
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Our guide was knowledgeable and entertaining. She did an excellent job.
Excellent tour! Full of knowledge and the perfect amount of time spent in each spot.
Really liked our guide and liked touring Vatican before the hoards descended! Can't think of any recommendations, was well done
This has to be the best way to tour the Vatican. We got in before it was too crowded and Felix seemed to know something about everything. He was able to answer all questions asked. It is so impressive that someone can point to something during a tour as extensive as the Vatican museums and the guide can give you information on it. My husband and I absolutely loved this tour!
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We were surprised we had to deal with the crowds to EXIT through the Sistine Chapel. It was hot and claustrophobic. We were expecting a cleaner getaway out of the Vatican. Our guide, Maurizio, was excellent- extremely knowledgable and effective in monitoring our group. He kept our group together and engaged at all times.
Jeb is articulate, knowledgable and considerate. He was able to frame his comments in context of history, the business of the church and art history and artist motivations. He was an absolute pleasure to learn from.
We could not have survived the crowds at the Vatican Museum, St Peter's Cathedral and Sistine Chapel without the guidance of our excellent tour guide, Guido, who first and foremost gave us important survival skills information at the onset of the tour. Really appreciated Guido's humor and intelligence throughout the tour.