Duration: 4 hours
Start Time: 7:15am
Our Pristine Sistine Chapel tour is the product of 13 years of constant development and refinement. Most Vatican tours start in the rooms closest to the entrance but we've found that the trick is to enter early, a full hour ahead of the general public, and go directly to the most beautiful (and busiest) rooms: The Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms.
Passing through empty galleries, you'll arrive first at the four Raphael Rooms. Considered by many to be as beautiful as the Sistine Chapel. It can be difficult to negotiate these apartments later in the day, but at this hour of the morning, your guide will have the time and space to give you a proper tour. There are so many incredible details in these frescoes; including a likeness of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, strolling through The School of Athens.
Now that your eye is trained to great Renaissance masterpieces, it's time for the main event. You'll enter the Sistine Chapel just as the doors open to groups and ahead of the general public. By this time, your guide will have given you the full history of this space and pointers on what to look out for. Take your time and enjoy some of the most iconic images on earth. After 15 to 20 minutes of quiet contemplation, you'll embark on a guided tour of the Vatican Museums.
The Vatican Museums are home to some of the world's most precious artefacts and some of its most impressive artworks, but it can be hard to understand the significance of works without some expert help. That's where our guides come in. They're all experienced art historians with perfect English. They'll show you the highlights of the collection and enrich your visit with witty anecdotes and entertaining details. Traveling in small groups of only 15 people or fewer (with top-quality headsets) you’ll always be able to hear your guide and engage with their stories, asking all the questions you can think of.
Among the galleries you visit will be the Pinacoteca Art Gallery. Overlooked by most visitors, it's the more modern wing of the Vatican Museums and home to a collection of the Vatican's most precious paintings. You'll see works by Leondardo da Vinci, Caravaggio and more by Raphael. Anywhere else in the world just one of these works would draw lines around the block, but at this time and in this setting, you'll often have the space to yourselves.
Previously, many Vatican tours visited St Peter's Basilica. Following the pandemic however, routes and access have changed, making this impossible. The Basilica remains a must-see on any trip to Rome though, so your guide will give you the tips and context you need to get the most from an independent visit. They'll do this in a special spot overlooking the Basilica's most notable feature - it's incredible dome.
Most people only visit the Vatican once in a lifetime (if ever!) Our Pristine Sistine™ Chapel Tour guarantees that you have a once-in-a-lifetime experience while you're there.