Walks of Italy

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Pristine Sistine Tour

Key Details

  • City: Vatican
  • Duration: 3 hrs 45 mins
  • Start Time: 7:30AM and 8AM

Tour Highlights

  • Enter the museums before the general public to see the Sistine Chapel at a quieter time. During Easter & summer, the Chapel may have some groups inside but never the hoards you'll see later. On quieter days you'll have it pretty much to yourself!

  • 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 experts, full of stories and familiar with even the smallest details of these massive museums. With groups of just 12 or fewer, you'll find them easy to engage with.

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 Ceiling 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



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 shot at a better moment?

Over the last five years we've practiced Pristine Sistine™ Chapel Tour on thousands of guests, crafting the best possible experience of the Vatican Museums. Along with your guide, you'll enter an hour before the public and pass through galleries before they fill up for the day. Depending on how busy the Museums are that morning, your guide will spend a little time giving you an introduction to rooms along the way, like the Gallery of the Maps, the Gallery of Tapestries or the Raphael Rooms; or go directly to the Sistine Chapel.

They know how to read the crowd and their aim is to get you to the Chapel at the most peaceful time (always before the 9am opening). During the peak months of high season and a few days over Easter, there will be some groups inside the Sistine Chapel when you visit, but you'll always have much more space than other times of day.

N.b., For our clients who want a little more time in bed, we also offer a slightly cheaper option that gets you into the Vatican 30 minutes before general opening, instead of one hour. The crowds are slightly larger but it's also €3 cheaper. If you would prefer this option, please select the "8:00 AM" option in the booking menu.

Most days, you'll find the Chapel relatively quiet. Spend 15 - 20 minutes peacefully enjoying what is surely one of life's greatest artistic experiences, then embark on a full-guided tour of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. Entering before the public you’ll have time to move around the Chapel and admire the various frescoes from every angle, without having to use your elbows.

But that’s only the start of our journey.


We say engage because that’s what you’ll do. 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. They 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 but the history of the Popes too. You’ll learn about the many characters that have lived, worked and painted here.

Traveling in small groups of only 12 people or fewer (with personal headsets) 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 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 avoiding a long walk and wait to enter the church. Everything about this incredible building is awe-inspiring, from Bernini’s monumental altar canopy to Michelangelo’s moving 'Pietà' and transcendent dome.

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 Sistine Chapel tour.

NOTE: Due to increased demand, we're offering an additional time slot on our Pristine Sistine tour, entering the Museums at 8.30AM, 30 minutes before general opening rather than one hour, for those who need a little more time in bed. Let's call it our Still-Quite-Pristine Sistine Tour.

At €86 per adult, it is €3 cheaper than our earlier departure. To book select the 8.00AM start time during booking.

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


  • 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


5-stars from over 5409 Customer Reviews

My wife and I give 5 stars to Gigi and Tiberius for their Vatican and Colosseum tours in Rome. Well worth the money, these were graduate study lectures and presentations by some wonderful tour guides. You have a customer in the US on our future travels. We're doing the British Isles next year.
Seeing the hall of maps with no one there exact our small five person group was exceptional. And the Sistine Chapel with perhaps less than 75 persons was also an unbelievable benefit. Very satisfied with our tour and tour guide.
AMAZING tour! Very organized. Thank you.

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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My wife and I give 5 stars to Gigi and Tiberius for their Vatican and Colosseum tours in Rome. Well worth the money, these were graduate study lectures and presentations by some wonderful tour guides. You have a customer in the US on our future travels. We're doing the British Isles next year.
What an amazing experience. Luigi was very knowledgeable and very informative. He was easy to understand and readily answered questions. He was easy to follow, even as the Vatican got progressively more crowded through the morning. I think my only disappointment was that we did not have more time to explore, and that once we passed into St. Peter's Basilica, were not able to return to the Vatican to explore some of the rooms and exhibits on our own, nor did that allow us access to the cafe at the Vatican for lunch. Now, I think that is a logistics issue and had absolutely nothing to do with Luigi at all. It's too bad that tour groups cannot get a hand stamp or something that allows them to return to the Vatican. Otherwise, we were completely enthralled and amazed by the experience, and thought Luigi was delightful!! Thank you ... and we have recommended your company to friends traveling to Italy next spring. I would definitely book with you again!!
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I would spend a little less time in the beginning explaining all about the Sistine chapel by 10minutes and use that time in the Basilica. Otherwise we so enjoyed our tour. Laura was very knowledgeable!
Seeing the hall of maps with no one there exact our small five person group was exceptional. And the Sistine Chapel with perhaps less than 75 persons was also an unbelievable benefit. Very satisfied with our tour and tour guide.
AMAZING tour! Very organized. Thank you.
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Excellent tour, was to much to cover but the guide (Alessia, who was so well informed and helpful) made sure we got the best of it without it being too overwhelming. I would have like more time in Sistine Chapel but appreciate that we saw so much more as weell.
The guide was great, the early access was great. My only issue was the early start, but obviously that is how the trip works. Going in at noon it would not be so pristine. I feel the description of the tour was a little misleading, as I read it to mean that only our small group would have access, in reality many small groups had access, but it was still very manageable.
Our guide was excellent. He did a great job, was informative, patient and really kept the tour members engaged. I highly recommend any of the company's tours.
We loved this tour, and our guide was very knowledgeable and personable! He deserves a raise! I can't remember his name, but he was Scottish/Nigerian with a last name that started with "O". Please convey our thanks to him for a terrific tour. This was a highlight of our visit to Italy. We would love to return and do some of the other tours that you offer. Thanks,
Laura is such an asset to your company! Her ability to present the art, history, politics, and human nature of persons involved really made this a fantastic experience for our family--including our 2 teenagers. I did not see any other tours using the color photographs of the panels of the Sistine Chapel and the Last Judgement frescos. It was such an advantage to be able to discuss the aspects of the paintings prior to actually seeing them. Thank you for connecting us with such a pleasant and knowledgeable guide! We would absolutely recommend this tour! Thank you Laura!
Outstanding guide. Extremely knowledgeable. One of the best tours we have taken with a guide. My only critique is that he occasionally made a family member feel that their question was a bit “stupid”. Although the question was in fact uninformed I think it’s important for the guests to feel comfortable asking any question.
This was a wonderful tour with an outstanding guide. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
Your tour is one of the best I've ever been to. Keep it up. And our guide is excellent
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Amazing tour. Wonderful, friendly and informative guide. Getting in early was the way to do it. I highly recommend!
Terrific tour. Wish more time was available at St Peters Basilica and square versus the Vatican museum. Early access to Sistine Chapel worth the fee for the tour!
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Wonderful tour! Felix was very knowledgable, not rushed, and knew how to navigate to give us the best experience! I highly recommend this tour and Felix!
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Maurizzio (spellinag?) was well informed, friendly, professional and easy to follow. He has excellent communication skills, as well.
In the morning for the Vatican tour, Francesca was a very enthusiastic tour guide. She was very knowledgeable about the history of the Vatican and the works of art in its galleries. She kept us well organized and knew each of us by name. This was very important when the museum started to get crowded during the day. We would recommend her as a guide. The early access element of the tour was invaluable. It allowed us to experience the Sistine Chapel in a much more intimate way than we otherwise would have been able to. The
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A truly remarkable experience - from the clear and easy-to-find meeting point and greeting by the coordinator to a stunningly open Chapel experience. One could look up at the frescoes and not have people bumping into you or making it hard to move around the space. Our guide, Cecilia, was a delight; she gave detailed information and a hand-out for the ceiling frescoes, and wonderful insight into the main features of the various installations in the museum. And, she is an historian to boot! It was like having a collegiate class at the Vatican - such a worthwhile experience.
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We had a wonderful time on this tour. The guide was very friendly and knowledgeable. No question was too difficult (or silly!). Doing this tour really enhanced our experience of the vatican and the early entrance to the Sistine chapel was most definitely worth it, a wonderful sight to enjoy without the worry of too many crowds. Would definitely recommend this to all of my friends and family!
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Luigi made the Musei Vaticani both understandable and approachable.
Camilla was an excellent guide and it was a fascinating tour.
Time well spent.  Tour guide was very pleasant and educated on the museum and St Peters.  Really impressed with the guide and her ability to stay upbeat and keep all engaged.  Great job, would for sure recommend to all, good use of money and time while in Rome.
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Tour was over at 11a. I had this as a 4 hour tour and felt a little cheated.
Ferdinando was amazing- informative, passionate, and fun. What a wonderful experience! Thank you!
Toni was a great guide. Very knowledgeable and covered the most important part of the Sistine chapel and Vatican museums in a way that allowed me too explore further...and since she was so good I felt inspired to read more about the Sistine chapel.. highly recommend Toni and walks of Italy
See was amazing. It was a wonderful tour.
Wonderful guide!!
It was a pleasure to spend the morning with Maria Grazia at the Vatican. She was knowledgeable, interesting and it was evident she enjoyed and cared about what she was doing. I learned so much. Thank you Maria Grazia!
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Luciana was fantastic — just the right blend of fun and knowledgeable. Also, the people involved with the booking were super helpful. Many thanks. The Sistine Chapel and Vatican tour was a real highlight of our time in Rome.
We took three Walks of Italy tours over five days. We rated all of the guides a 5, but Francesca would get a 6 or 7 if those ratings were available.
We had a wonderful tour guide!