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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 2533 Customer Reviews

Uta was a magnificent guide. She was very knowledgeable and helped us to avoid the crowds by doing the tour in a non typical way.
Great tour. Our guide was very knowledgeable. He was keen for our group to get the best experience by changing the route so rooms were not as busy.
The Vatican was very crowded that day, but our guide still managed to show us a good time! Loved it!
I am so thankful I found you on the Internet! We are booked for the day in Tuscany tour from Floremce and can't wait!
Angela was a very informative Guide with lots of knowledge and enthusiasm. We both rated her very highly. The fact that we got into the Sistine Chapel before it became horrendously crowded was a bonus for us.
Max was great. Very knowledgeable. Was nice to be in before the crowds. Good directions on how to meet the guide and company has great communication.
Tango was great, knowledgeable and funny, it made the tour very entertaining and enlightening,
Fantastic!!! One of the best guides who had passion for what she shared and a true professional.
Our guide was extremely entertaining and knowledgeable!

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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Our tour was with Camilla, and it was as superb as the Coliseum tour we took with her two days before. Camilla is very knowledgeable and takes time to explain interesting details and to answer questions. I would recommend walks of Italy to anyone, specially first timers in Italy like us, and I would seriously recommend Camilla.
Uta was a magnificent guide. She was very knowledgeable and helped us to avoid the crowds by doing the tour in a non typical way.
My daughter and I have toured the Sistine Chapel before but my husband had not. However, the tourguide we had really made the history and artwork come alive. He was fabulous and very knowledgeable about the art work, the sculptures, and the artists who created each. I was worried that a 4 hour tour might be too long, but the time flew with him. I really wish I could remember his name as he was quite good. It was nice to be in the Chapel before most of the tourist though I was still surprised at the noise level in the Chapel. I believe because there is no carpet or furniture to absorb sound, the slightest sound really resonates and seems quite loud. Still a much better experience than touring with the general public and nice to be able to sit on the benches in the chapel and just enjoy the view. When the regular crowds are there, you would never be able to find a seat. As we left after our tour, the lines were many blocks long and we were happy we had met up at 7:15 and started our tour at 8:00!!
Great tour. Our guide was very knowledgeable. He was keen for our group to get the best experience by changing the route so rooms were not as busy.
(No comment)
The Vatican was very crowded that day, but our guide still managed to show us a good time! Loved it!
I am so thankful I found you on the Internet! We are booked for the day in Tuscany tour from Floremce and can't wait!
(No comment)
(No comment)
Angela was a very informative Guide with lots of knowledge and enthusiasm. We both rated her very highly. The fact that we got into the Sistine Chapel before it became horrendously crowded was a bonus for us.
Our guide (Cecilia I believe) was awesome. She was super knowledgeable about everything and was very patient to make sure that every one had a stellar experience. The tour was amazing bit I can't stress enough how great our guide was. We are taking a Walks of Italy tour tomorrow at the colosseum and can only hope that our guidend measures up to Cecilia.
Our guide (Sabrina) was really fantastic -- being a Saturday in summer, the museum was (of course) very crowded, but Sabrina did a really great job to make this an extremely enjoyable and interesting experience despite the crowds. Her enthusiastic, informative and respectful tour made this day very memorable, and worthwhile to book the tour. Thank you Sabrina!
Max was great. Very knowledgeable. Was nice to be in before the crowds. Good directions on how to meet the guide and company has great communication.
(No comment)
Mauricio was well versed in sharing information about the Church, as well as the pieces of art. Our guide brought us to several rooms at the beginning of the tour in which we were the only group to enjoy the art. Then he moved us into the Sistene Chapel which was not overly crowded. This was wise upon his part. In the future, they should warn people about the number of steps throughout the buildings in the Vatican Museums. We were able to explore the museums after the tour, but chose not to because the heat and steps were overwhelming. It was advised, by Italians that we met, that the best time to tour is the month of May when both the temperatures and crowds are lower. Overall, we were satisfied with Mauricio and the knowledge which he shared.
(No comment)
Tango was great, knowledgeable and funny, it made the tour very entertaining and enlightening,
Our guide Toni was great. Unfortunately we were unable to to to the Basilica as the Pope was speaking and it didn't open until later in the afternoon. Thus, we had to return another day and pay for an additional tour to see it.
Fantastic!!! One of the best guides who had passion for what she shared and a true professional.
Our guide was extremely entertaining and knowledgeable!
Maurizio was fantastic! So knowledgeable and enthusiastic, we completely enjoyed ourselves. He proceeded at a great pace, and was more than willing to answer questions as they came up. Thanks for a great experience! Ashley
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The beginning of the tour was just perfect all the explanations from the guide were excellent but after the Chapel it turn a bit long for us, maybe there were so many people around that make things more complicated. In general was a good tour.
Sylvia made the tour. Very adept at history and interpretation of Renaissance art. Recommended.
The tour was absolutely amazing. I loved being able to get in early and not dealing with all the crowds. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and I learned a great deal. I would recommend this tour to anyone!
Wow ! Why an amazing tour. Camilla was fantastic and one of the best guides ever. Thank you for a fantastic experience. We loved it.
(No comment)
Our guide was Angela not Vittorio. She was great.
Great tour.
The tour was great, and the guide (Uta?) was very knowledgable. Clearly she has a passion for what she does, and was able to clearly navigate us through the many sites, making sure we saw the most important and impactful exhibits and areas.
This was our second tour with Guido, and he was just as fabulous at the Vatican as he was the day before at the Colosseum and Caesar's Palace. Thank you again for a fabulous guide, and a fabulous tour.
Lucille was a wonderful guide, very knowledgeable and passionate in what she does. We enjoyed and learned so much from her.
Giulietta was great, fascinating and a perfect tour guide for the Pristine Sistine. It was an exceptional tour and worth every scent. Walks of Italy is the way to go in Italy. 10 out of 10
Dorianna was very knowledgeable and had a wealthy of wisdom. She was able to navigate the Vatican like a pro and keep the group engaged. I'm glad I scheduled the toe instead of visiting on my own. It allowed me to focus on the most important parts of the holy grounds. Thank you!
Our guide was fantastic! Knowledgeable, clever, skillful at maneuvering the crowds. We had a terrific time!
Everyone in the group loved the guide. He did both tours. They thought he was smart and very considerate of the group members. They all raved about him.
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My guide Camilla was amazing, she provided inside information, a view from a resident of Rome and kept the tour moving and away from large groups. I could not have asked for more !
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We had issues with two of four headsets which made things difficult for a while. The guide was great.
Jeb was beyond informative. Getting in before the public was huge. If you aren't taking this tour, you're making a big mistake.
Visiting the Sistine Chapel was a childhood dream, since study Leonardos artwork it at high school. The experience was amazing without all of the crowds, and brought me to tears. I couldn't recommend the Tour more highly.
Camilla was very knowledgeable and did a great job with our tour.
Again great guide and tour. I was recommended by a friend and I will in turn recommend to my friends.
I found the Vatican all a bit crazy. Far too crowded. Not enough time and space to sppreciate all there is avaiable to experience. My guide was good.
(No comment)
Max was a fantastic guide.