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.

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

4.7 / 5
12511 Customer Reviews
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Feb 28, 2024

Sara was amazing, simple as that!


Feb 28, 2024

Tour was excellent. Our guide "this guy" was entertaining and knowledgeable. Being a few minutes ahead of the crowd at each major area was a huge benefit.


Feb 27, 2024

I feel it is unfair to advertise the visit to Sistine Chapel as the one "before the daytime crowds", since we reached Sistine Chapel at around 10:20 a.m. and it was full of people already. Also, one needs to mention that "exploring the Vatican Museums at the quietest time of day" still means exploring it with many other people - and I really mean MANY; while the ad's statement is not technically incorrect, it definitely creates the expectation that it would not be the tour with many other groups in Vatican Museums that bought their tickets at the same time (the official tours start at 8:30 a.m.). I had been to Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel with the official guided tour and cannot tell that the experience of the crowds (which were huge) had been much different from this time. So while I do appreciate the other moments of the tour (the knowledgeable, caring and entertaining guide, skip the line at St. Peter's Basilica), the "quietest" and "before the crowds" statements are definitely misleading.


Feb 27, 2024

Really enjoyed this tour, remember there is stairs and walking! Be prepared. Our guide was fabulous and shared so much great information. I think everyone should have a guide. The earpiece system was wonderful, still personal but you can hear everything that is said. Good job!


Feb 27, 2024

Special gratitude to tour guide Christina who had a great depth of knowledge and navigated us through the Vatican!

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 $132
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