A great option for early bird tourists who want to explore the Vatican before the daily crowds and heat of the day but do not have a lot of time!
Early Access Sistine Chapel Express Tour with St. Peter's Basilica and Papal Grottoes will allow an early entrance at 8:00am, inside the Vatican Museums about one hour before the general opening of the Museums at 9am. Your tour will be led by a fully licensed guide who is passionate about art history. In a semi-private group of 10-12 people you will walk through the famous Candelabra Gallery, the Tapestry Gallery and the Gallery of the Maps. Before you know it you will step inside the spectacular Sistine Chapel where you will be overwhelmed by the beauty of the frescoes painted by Michelangelo over 500 years ago.
Michelangelo was 33 years old when he first started the Creation of the World depicting stories from the book of Genesis for Pope Julius II. He completed the work in only 4 years. There are many stories and anecdotes that characterized the relationship between the Pope and Michelangelo, who made a lot of effort to be appreciated by the Pope who was badly influenced by Michelangelo's competitors, Bramante and Raphael.
About 24 years later Michelangelo came back to the Sistine Chapel, this time to paint the Last Judgment, where God is represented in the imposing act of judging humans and deciding who will go to Heaven and who will go to Hell. Each fresco hides many stories that your enthusiastic guide will make sure you do not miss. Not only will you truly understand the meaning of the art but you will also be brought back to Michelangelo’s time by the storytelling of your guide.
We aim to offer an early visit inside the Sistine Chapel but also early access inside St. Peter's Basilica at around 9:30 am. The meeting time of this tour will be at 7:30 am and you will enterthe Vatican Museums at 8:00 am, one hour prior to the opening to the general public. You will tour in a semi-private group from 10 to 12 people. Our goal is to show you one of the most famous museums in the world like a local. The tour will be guided by a professional English-speaking guide who will take great care of each member of the group providing accurate information on the artworks along your way.
During the tour, you can follow your tour guide without missing any piece of information and feel free to take pictures without flash, thanks to the headsets that we will provide for the tour. Please remember that inside the Sistine Chapel pictures are not permitted. You will spend some free time inside the Sistine Chapel on your own to admire the Last Judgement, the enormous fresco covering the entire altar wall of the chapel and the ceiling with the Creation of the world. You will use a skip the line door to access St. Peter’s Basilica, benefitting from the early entrance and enjoying a quieter visit away from the daily crowds that is normally inside at peak time. You will also go beneath the Basilica to see the Popes' Grottoes. In the Grottoes you will see the Tomb of St. Peter's and the Tombs of many Popes including the ancient ones of Pope Boniface VIII .
St. Peter's Basilica preserves inside the beautiful Pieta by Michelangelo, sculpted when he was only 19 years old and the Altar “Baldacchino” by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the master of the Roman Baroque who worked at the service of the Barberini Pope Urban VIII. When the two met, the Pope's simple expression was: “you are a lucky man because you work for me but I am glad that I have you representing my will through the art”! The Pope was the Artistic Patron of Gian Lorenzo Bernini for 21 years and Rome still preserves many squares and monuments dating back to this spectacular period. Your tour will end after the Visit of the Popes' Grottoes located right beneath the Basilica of St. Peter's.
"Caffè Vaticano", Viale Vaticano 100, right across the street of the Vatican Museums entrance.
Please wear comfortable shoes. This tour is not wheelchair accessible.
Remember to follow the dresscode for the Vatican: you must be able to cover your shoulder and knees.
PLEASE NOTE: in case St Peter's Basilica is closed for religious functions, you will spend longer time in the Vatican galleries with your guide. The Basilica is a Church and as such the Vatican can decide to use it for religious functions without notice.
Please note that in certain periods of summer time, or when the Vatican Museums reopen its doors after bank holidays, the museums might be busier than usual.
This tour is not suitable for people with hearing disability. People with hearing disabilities can contact us and we will be happy to customize a private tour.
This tour never runs on Wednesday or Sunday or religious bank holidays.