Pristine Sistine Early Entrance Small Group Vatican Tour

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Full details

Special access at the Vatican one hour before it opens to the public!

Enter the Sistine Chapel before it opens to the general public and enjoy Michelangelo’s masterpieces in peace before embarking on a thorough guided tour of the Vatican Museums. There is simply no better way to see the highlights of the Vatican without the crowds that can overrun the galleries later in the day.

Our guide to Pristine Sistine Early Entrance Small Group Vatican Tour

The Sistine Chapel was not meant to be seen standing shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of other people. Beat the crowds by entering 45 minutes before the Chapel opens to the public and enjoy the incredible frescoes in relative peace.

Passing through empty galleries, you'll arrive first at the four Raphael Rooms. Considered by many to be as beautiful as the Sistine Chapel. It can be difficult to negotiate these apartments later in the day, but at this hour of the morning, your guide will have the time and space to give you a proper tour. There are so many incredible details in these frescoes; including a likeness of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, strolling through 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 general public. 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 the Vatican Museums.

Engage with the Best of the Vatican Museums Collection

The Vatican Museums are home to some of the world's most precious artefacts and some of its most impressive artworks, but it can be hard to understand the significance of works without some expert help. 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.

Last but certainly not least, you'll head straight to St Peter's Basilica via a special secret passage, bypassing the long lines that are starting to form outside. End your morning with a full tour of this sacred space and gaze upon Michelangelo's moving Pietà, Bernini's grandiose altarpiece, and so much more as you learn the stories and legends behind them.

Entering before the crowds with an expert art historian guide, Pristine Sistine offers you the most personal, unforgettable, and intimate experience inside the Vatican.


Varies, please see calendar.


Around 3 hours 45 minutes.

Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions for Pristine Sistine Early Entrance Small Group Vatican Tour

  • You will receive a voucher for this experience. Please read it thoroughly.
  • Itinerary subject to change without notice.
  • Gratuities to guides are appreciated but never obligatory. 
  • Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
  • Please note that the tour meeting time is 30 minutes prior to the start time. No refunds or re-bookings can be provided for late arrivals or no-shows after tour commencement or departure.
  • Hotel pick-up/drop-off is NOT included. 
  • Please remember that the Sistine Chapel is a holy place, and attire must be appropriate for the visit. Both men and women are asked to wear clothing that covers at least the shoulders and knees.
  • The special access passage between the Sistine Chapel and St.Peter's Basilica is closed on Wednesdays and is subject to unexpected closures. On such days we will instead explore the magnificent Pinacoteca Gallery.
  • While the Vatican Museums are equipped with elevators for wheelchair and stroller access, they are not conveniently located on the group tour route and only give access to specific sections of the Museums. Please contact us to make further arrangements.
  • Please note that guests may only carry small handbags inside the Vatican Museums. Larger backpacks and big pointy umbrellas etc must be left at the cloakroom. It is the responsibility of the guest to return to the Vatican Museums entrance to collect these after the tour.
  • Please ensure that all members of your party have a valid ID on them on the day of the visit. This is particularly important for guests who have qualified for child reduction.
  • Cancellation policy: Cancellations received greater than 72 hours prior to tour commencement are fully refundable. Cancellations received within 72 hours of tour commencement are non-refundable. Amendment requests are subject to availability and price changes.


Frequently Asked Questions for Pristine Sistine Early Entrance Small Group Vatican Tour

Can I bring a bag into the Vatican Museums?

Yes, as long as it's within a certain size. You cannot bring any bag, backpack suitcase or container larger that 40cm x 35cm x 15cm into the Vatican Museums. In fact, size limits apply to all items; because of the sheer number of people that visit the Museums, space is at a premium. You can not enter with medium to large umbrellas, any umbrellas with spiked tips, camera tripods, signage (apart from signs used by certified guides) or walking sticks – except those required by disabled visitors. All of these items can be left in the cloakroom, which is located at the entrance to the Museums.

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