4 hours


  • Be among the first visitors of the day to access the Vatican Museums, and see the Raphael Rooms and Sistine Chapel at their most tranquil.
  • Get a full appreciation for the highlights of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica on this comprehensive early morning Vatican tour.
  • Our guides are passionate art experts, full of stories and familiar with even the smallest details. You'll find them easy to engage with thanks to your small group size.

Preview the experience


Tour description

Enter the Vatican Museums before the public on our original Vatican early morning tour.

Our Pristine Sistine™ Chapel tour is the product of 13 years of constant development and refinement. We've found that the trick for this tour is to enter the Vatican first thing in the morning so you can experience the most beautiful (and busiest) rooms—the Raphael Rooms and Sistine Chapel—before the daytime crowds arrive.

Engage with the best of the Vatican Museums collection in peace and be among the first guests of the day to enter the Sistine Chapel.

Passing through tranquil galleries with your expert guide, you'll take in some of the world’s most incredible works of art, stopping at the Belvedere Courtyard, the Gallery of the Maps, the four Raphael Rooms, and more on your way to the Sistine Chapel. It can be difficult to navigate these spaces later in the day due to the crowds, but on this Vatican early morning tour, your guide will have the time and space to give you a proper explanation. There are so many incredible details in these frescoes, including likenesses of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo hidden in plain sight in 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 daytime crowds. 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 St. Peter’s Basilica.

Finish your early morning Vatican tour by skipping the line into St. Peter's Basilica.

From the Vatican Museums, we'll lead you through a special-access corridor to enter St. Peter's Basilica*, skipping the enormous general-access lines. Inside, you'll enjoy a full St. Peter's Basilica tour and learn to fully appreciate the artistry that went into works like Bernini’s monumental altar canopy, Michelangelo’s moving Pietà, and the titanic dome.

Explore the treasures of the Vatican with an art historian guide and a small, intimate group.

The Vatican Museums are home to some of the world's most precious artifacts and impressive artworks, but it can be hard to understand the significance of the works without some expert help. That's where our guides come in. They're all experienced art historians with perfect English. Throughout your early morning Vatican tour, 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.

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. As it's one of our popular tours, we recommend that you book it early. If you find that it is sold out on your available dates, we have several other very similar tours which we recommend you check out. These include: Pristine Sistine at Closing Time: Late Entry Vatican Tour The Complete Vatican Tour with Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s Basilica VIP Vatican Key Master’s Tour: Unlock the Sistine Chapel.

The special access passage between the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica is closed on Wednesdays and subject to other unexpected closures. On such days we will instead explore the magnificent Pinacoteca Gallery.

Unfortunately due to the nature of this tour it is not suitable for guests with mobility impairments, or for wheelchairs or strollers. Please contact the Guest Experience team at [email protected] or call +39 068-596-0143 (Italy) or 888-683-8670 (USA) to make alternative arrangements.

Sites visited

  • Vatican Museums
  • Sistine Chapel
  • St. Peter's Basilica
  • St. Peter's Square
  • Raphael Rooms (Stanze di Raffaello)
  • Belvedere Courtyard
  • Pinecone Courtyard
  • Octagonal Courtyard
  • Gallery of the Maps
  • Gallery of the Tapestries
  • Gallery of the Candelabra


Verified guest reviews

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Apr 24, 2024

Our guide Julia was amazing!!! Knowledgeable, funny, engaging and it felt like we won the lottery on this tour. Highly recommend Julia for anyone going to the Vatican. We arrived early and basically had the Vatican to ourselves.


Apr 23, 2024

The early tour is highly recommended. You can get in before the big crowds and see the beautiful paintings and artwork while it is not as busy. And you can skip a really long waitingline so that is a big plus. Mauro was a great guide who walked and talked us through the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Cathedral. Really nice to have some more backstory of what you're seeing.


Apr 23, 2024

One of the best tours we experienced in Rome! Our guide was so accommodating for our group. You could tell she had a true passion for art and all things on our tour. Would highly recommended!


Apr 21, 2024

We took the 7:15AM tour with Sev, who was clearly an expert in all things Vatican City and was extremely well-versed in the history. It was impressive hearing him being able to answer all guest questions and even give specifics to dates and years of different events and explain how they all came together to bring the Vatican City we saw today. We saved a lot of time waiting in the security line/entrance to the city by booking with this group. Nothing was too challenging or took too long and I would absolutely recommend this tour and Sev in particular! He gave a perfect balance of bringing us together to point out specific points of interest, and giving the group time to wander and explore a few areas on our own.


Apr 21, 2024

Microphone very poor

Know before you book

Make it a perfect day


Those who wake up early not only get to experience the Vatican Museums without the typical crowds, but they’ll also have the entire day to explore Rome after. Here’s our one-day itinerary for visiting the Eternal City.

From $112
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