Sistine Chapel: Exclusive Early-Morning Entry, Semi-Private
- Duration: 4 Hours (approx.)
About the Tour:
Great for art lovers who have limited time in the Vatican City—or who want to focus on its highlights—this morning itinerary gives you rare early access to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel masterpieces and the jaw-dropping extravagance of St. Peter’s Basilica. Your group, accompanied by an English-speaking art-history expert, will arrive more than an hour before these sites open to the public.
What We Love About This Tour:
- Gazing at Michelangelo’s masterworks: the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel
- Marveling at St. Peter’s Basilica, with its spectacular dome, altar, chapels, and sculptures—including Michelangelo’s sublime Pietà
- Skipping entry lines, and exploring more than an hour before the rest of the visiting public
Stop 1: The Sistine Chapel
The most famous frescoes in the world will greet you when you enter the jewel box that is the Sistine Chapel. Here, you’ll be surrounded by the stunning Michelangelo masterpieces that have adorned a million picture postcards—including the nine central panels of the chapel ceiling, each depicting a tale from Genesis (the most famous being The Creation of Adam).
Stop 2: St. Peter’s Basilica
A passageway from the Sistine Chapel next leads you directly to St. Peter’s Basilica—one of the world’s largest churches, and one of its most sacred Catholic sites. The grand church building, with its soaring, statuary-topped travertine walls and parabolic dome, sits atop the very spot where St. Peter was buried. You’ll see the church’s baldacchino (a twining bronze canopy that shelters the papal altar); its chapels and elaborately painted, multi-domed ceiling; and, perhaps most stirring of all, Michelangelo’s remarkable Pietà—a sculptural depiction of the Virgin Mary cradling her dying son.
Stop 3: The Vatican Museums
The last stop on your tour will be the Vatican Museums, whose cavernous galleries filled with ancient sculptures, ornate tapestries, beautifully preserved maps, and Etruscan antiquities. You’ll also visit Raphael’s Rooms, a quartet of sumptuous spaces whose walls and ceilings were completely covered in paintings by the 16th-century master.
- All entry fees
- Special Skip-the-Line access
- Hotel pick-up and drop-off
Important to Know:
- Please be sure to arrive at the tour departure point 15 minutes before the starting time. Guests arriving after departure cannot be accommodated, and missed tours or tickets will not be refunded.
- Unfortunately, wheelchairs and strollers cannot be accommodated on this tour.
- Please note that photography is prohibited inside The Sistine Chapel. Non-flash photography is permitted on all other parts of the tour.
- Please note that St. Peter's Basilica may experience last-minute closures to visitors. If this occurs, your tour will instead be treated to an extended tour of the Vatican Museums. Tour refunds or discounts will not be provided.
Important to Bring:
- A small purse or camera bag only (no backpacks or large shoulder bags). Security checks at some sites restrict the size of bags that can be brought inside.
- Clothing that covers your knees and shoulders. Entry into St. Peter’s Basilica requires adherence to these dress codes.