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.

*Pristine Sistine is our most popular tour! Sold out for your dates? Check out our Pristine Sistine at Closing Time Tour for the same great experience later in the day, or join another one of our expert-led Vatican tours. *

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

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Apr 15, 2024

Fantastic tour of the Vatican! Angela, our tour guide, was enthusiastic and energetic, she knew everything about the Vatican and we left with a lot of facts and stories! This tour gives you access to so much! We got to tour the Pope's summer and winter houses, see some of the huge collections of priceless treasures they have and spend a decent time just marvelling at the brilliance that is the Sistine Chapel. The day ends inside St Peter's Basilica which is a wonder of mosaic and marble. Book this tour, you won't regret it!


Apr 14, 2024

This is a wonderful tour. Stefanie was very knowledgeable . I would recommend to anyone. Thank you . Cheri


Apr 11, 2024

I think this was a good tour, and I wouldn't have wanted to visit the Vatican without the tour. However, calling it "Pristine Sistine" is a bit of a misnomer, as you only get 10 minutes of the entire tour in there. Despite the early entry, it is still packed shoulder to shoulder in most places. However, it would be that way no matter what. It was very informative, and we enjoyed our guide, thanks for the tour!


Apr 11, 2024

Wow. Had our tour with This Guy. Funny, informative, just the right pace. Fabulous guide. Many thanks


Apr 10, 2024

Our tour and our tour guide were fantastic!!

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 $140
Free Cancellation