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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 2642 Customer Reviews

This was a great tour. Getting to go to the Sistine Chapel when it was less crowded was important to my husband and I, and I'm so glad we booked this tour. Our guide was very good and we thoroughly enjoyed this tour. Highly recommended!
It was a good tour. Very informative. Would recommend it to my friends.
Our guide was Dario and he was excellent! Very knowledgeable, thorough and very entertaining as well. We were very happy indeed
Our guide skillfully worked us around the crowds of people to see all the superstars of the museum, chapel and Vatican City
This was amazing. Our guide was excellent and she really knew her stuff. Had a blast!
Excellent tour - John did a fantastic job highlighting the key features but also some unique aspects of the Vatican that would have been impossible to note if visiting on our own. We took 4 tours from multiple vendors during our stay and this was the most informative one by far.
Actually, Danio was our guide and he was incredible.
Maria was an excellent guide.
Fascinating stories, very well informed guide. I loved that we got to see the Sistine chapel early before heading back in and around the various rooms in more detail. our guide was a highlight for me - funny, knowledgeable and informative. I definitely will recommend this tour and guide

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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This was a great tour. Getting to go to the Sistine Chapel when it was less crowded was important to my husband and I, and I'm so glad we booked this tour. Our guide was very good and we thoroughly enjoyed this tour. Highly recommended!
Before booking our Vatican tour my boyfriend and I did a lot of research. We ended up choosing this specific tour because it was the only one we found that offered entry to the sistine chapel before the crowd. Our guide John, not Claudia as mentioned in the e-mail sent to me was our favorite guide of all the tours we booked while in Europe. We travelled to London, Amsterdam, Rome and Paris and John exceeded all levels of any tour we did. He had a dry yet funny sense of humor, he was super informative and kept it interesting. You could tell he had a true passion for what he does and has definitely mastered how to best maneuver your way around the Vatican. It always felt like we got to see things before a huge crowd ended up where we were and even when we hit the crowds he knew how to get us around the hustle and bustle. Bravo to Walks of Italy for such a professional team and by far the best company we booked with. Thank you!
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It was a good tour. Very informative. Would recommend it to my friends.
Again, enjoyed it very much.
Our guide was Dario and he was excellent! Very knowledgeable, thorough and very entertaining as well. We were very happy indeed
Our guide skillfully worked us around the crowds of people to see all the superstars of the museum, chapel and Vatican City
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Our experience on the Pristine Sistine tour was really special. Getting access to the Vatican Museum and Chapel before it opens to the public was something we'll never forget. We'd strongly recommend it to other visitors. However, our guide, Luigi, while he was extremely knowledgeable, did not give options for restroom/water breaks. The tour was nearly 5 hours from the time you meet the group to the end. Doing that without a break makes it difficult to stay engaged. Also, not sure if it's on the website, but would also strongly encourage folks to eat something substantial before taking the tour so you've got the energy and focus to really enjoy it.
This was amazing. Our guide was excellent and she really knew her stuff. Had a blast!
The tour guide Anna was wonderful. I had her the day before with another tour. When I discovered she was doing the Vatican, I called to upgrade my package so I can be with her again. She is thoughtful, funny, passionate about arts and history and extremely informative. I truly believed that I got the best experience of Rome by using Walks of Italy. Would absolutely use them again.
Excellent tour - John did a fantastic job highlighting the key features but also some unique aspects of the Vatican that would have been impossible to note if visiting on our own. We took 4 tours from multiple vendors during our stay and this was the most informative one by far.
Actually, Danio was our guide and he was incredible.
Maria was an excellent guide.
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Fascinating stories, very well informed guide. I loved that we got to see the Sistine chapel early before heading back in and around the various rooms in more detail. our guide was a highlight for me - funny, knowledgeable and informative. I definitely will recommend this tour and guide
Our guide, Bruno, was very knowledgeable.
Our guide was not the female listed on the email you sent rather, our guide was a male. I believe his name started with the letter "D." Taller gentleman (2 meters tall) with light colored hair; he said he was half Italian and half German and would be our "German Shepperd guide" through the Chapel. I cannot say enough about his professionalism, his courtesy, his efficiency, and his expertise, and his competence. He kept the best interests of the group a priority while seamlessly handling all the varying factors a tour like this has (timing, congested areas, floor hazards). He was courteous to other guests, allowing a family to enter an entrance before us so as not to split either group, and at the same time calmly walked us by three slower tour groups following each other on the way to the Sistine Chapel minimizing the congestion at the entrance for us and maximizing the space and time we would have in the Chapel, even if it was for a small moment. He is an excellent tour guide. My only regret is that I have forgotten his name. Please relay this feedback to him. Thank you.
The walk was fantastic, Beata showed us what we needed to see and also what she particularly liked so that we got a flavour without trying to see absolutely everything. We took the 7.45 tour and boy did we ship the line, particularly in the Sistine Chapel. This was a tour worth taking.
Our guide Juliet was really fantastic. Clever, witty, charming with our children.
excellent tour and knowledge. Suggest this early tour to beat the crowds
We would highly recommend the Sistine Pristine tour to our friends. Our guide, Claudia was fantastic! Not only was she extremely knowledgable about the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica, but she was very good at pacing our group through the crowds. It was also great to get to spend a good amount of time in the Sistine Chapel, without too many people, and have a local guide to tell us first hand how the sites changed over time. Thanks so much for offering this tour, one of the highlights of our trip!
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Our tour of the Vatican was incredible. Elena was awesome. We could not have asked for a better guide.
It's obvious that Laura is passionate about history. She was very knowledgeable and shared that in a way that tourists could understand.
Luigi was our guide, he was so knowledgable and guided us through the museum pointing out important artifacts. Some groups seemed to rush past us but he didnt rush and made sure we got the full experience. He is obviously very passionate about the vatican and its history and it shows in the way he delivers his tour. We cannot thank him enough.
We had Anna - just a delight! So knowledgable and easy to understand. Loved the headsets. It was a great way to start the day, as early as it was. Getting there before the regular opening time was critical to enjoying the Sistine Chapel - highly recommend!!
Breathtaking! My husband and I were in awe of the Sistine chapel and the Basilica. We doubt we will see anything as lovely as what we experienced in Italy.
Our Pristine Sistine tour was very good. Our guide was very knowledgeable about all of the artwork and the history associated with it. I feel that I got a much better understanding of the Sistine Chapel and Vatican museums because of her explanations. The Vatican was very crowded the day we were there and taking the early tour really allowed us to see everything better. I would recommend this tour to anyone planning to visit the Vatican.
Camilla was wonderful. She was so knowledgeable, and really tried hard to make sure that we got the most from our tour. She even gave us some great recommendations for lunch/dinner. We were so glad that we were assigned to her! Highly recommended.
Alexia was awesome. She is extremely engaging, friendly, knowledgable, and professional. There is no question that she loves her job, and wants to provide the best experience possible for guests. As a group, we agree that this was the best tour we have ever experienced.
Our guide was brilliant - knowledgeable, witty & personable.
I took both the Vatican tour and the the Roman forum tour and thought they were excellent! Thank you for helping me make my stay in Rome very enjoyable!
Excellent tour - Guide was very enthusiastic and knowledgable
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Emma was a wonderful guide. She was very informative, witty, and provided great suggestions for places to visit once the tour was over. I would recommend this tour and Emma as a guide to anyone interested in visiting Rome in the future.
Anna wa an excellent tour guide.
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A wonderful way to end our trip to Rome. Maria was fantastic as a guide. I was a little unsure at first because we weren't talen directly to the Sistine chapel but to other parts of the museum. However, it was great to wander through parts of the Vatican museum and be the only people there and the Sistine Chapel was still really quiet when we got there. She was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic but all the time was asking our group's input on what to see next, how long to spend in places. This tour was the highlight of my trip!
Lucy made it her mission to ensure that we saw the best of the Vatican museums. She took us through the Sustine twice and gave us a special entrance to St Peters to get the best view. She even took us to see the Van Gogh and the newer masters and it was a real treat! Again Walks of Italy has the most passionate tour guides and Lucy was one of the passionate ones. Her knowledge of all things Vatican was astounding! She shared small details about the Vatican which I am sure most guides would not.
Great tour but crowded!!
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We were very pleased with our guides. They were very knowledgeable, and helped us to see and understand the sites in a timely fashion with the crowds and the heat. Thanks, Irene Maier
Awesome, insightful tour!
This was a really enjoyable tour and I'd be happy to recommend to anyone. We had visited the Sistine Chapel a couple of times before but the crowds mean you don't get a chance to appreciate the breathtaking beauty as you do with this tour. Laura was an excellent tour guide too, with her obvious passion and insight really adding to our experience. Thank you Laura and Walks of Italy!