Early Visit to the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel & St Peter’s

Enjoy an early visit to the Vatican museum, Sistine Chapel, & St. Peter’s Basilica and avoid the larger later crowds.

Early Visit to the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, & St. Peter’s Basilica

Start your day bright and early to get the best of the Vatican, Sistine chapel and Saint Peters.

Vatican City

Vatican City is a world-famous attraction, so it can get heavily crowded, especially in high travel season. Avoid rubbing shoulders (and throwing elbows) with the masses and enjoy a well-paced tour with a knowledgeable guide to get an exclusive experience one hour before the museum opens to the public.


Take your time being awestruck while learning about the art and political history of grand tapestries, statues, paintings, maps, delectable tile work flooring, and amazing frescoes that adorn the ceilings of each corridor.

Sistine Chapel

Then, make your way to the Sistine Chapel where you will witness Michelangelo’s famous masterpiece on the ceiling of chapel with your own eyes.

St. Peter’s Basilica

As if that wasn’t enough, you will then skip the line to enter St. Peter’s Basilica and be swept away by the beauty of the architecture and the original art it holds (Michelangelo’s Pieta, among others) and learn about the church’s secrets and stories.

You’ll never be happier you didn’t sleep in.

Start Location: Rome
End Location: Rome

Tour Details

Finer tour details:

All persons under 17 must present valid ID showing date of birth for entry into museums or full adult price will be charged.

Included in price: Vatican Museum entry and reservation fees, small group guarantee, professional guide, audio headsets used when required.

Excluded from price: Optional gratuities

LOW SEASON (1nd of January to 31st of March; 1st of November to the 31st of December) meeting time and dates: 7:45am Saturdays

HIGH SEASON (1st of April to the 31st of October) meeting time and dates: 7:15am Mondays,  Thursdays & Saturdays;

Meeting point: Meets in front of Giuly’s Café in Via Santamaura n. 3, close to Vatican Museums entrance. The guide will have an ArtViva sign.

Tour Length: 3 hours

Maximum Participants: 12 persons

Dress Requirements: Knees, shoulders and backs must be covered for entry into churches. Backpacks, large bags and long umbrellas are not permitted in the museum.

Weather: runs rain or shine

*St Peter’s: On occasions when there is the Papal Audience (usually Wednesdays), the group may not enter the Basilica. Your guide will provide instructions on how to visit free of charge at a later time on your own.

° Tour not available on the 29th June for St Peter & St Paul feast day.

Please note: All participants should bring a copy of photo ID showing date of birth in case required by Vatican security. Although we pre-reserve your Vatican Museum tickets, there may be a short wait before museum entry while your guide collects your tickets and audio sets. Certain rooms or courtyards or even the Basilica may be closed without warning by the Museum administration. If this happens, some sites may be substituted.
Large bags and backpacks are not permitted in the museum – entry & exit points are different & far from each other – no storage possibility. New Vatican regulations require all participant names in advance. Please list all names in your party in the Notes section of the booking. You will also need to have identification on the day in case requested. Failure to comply may result in refusal of entry by security. The Vatican offers a separate path for wheelchairs; as such, anyone with a wheelchair wishing to participate in the Vatican tour must have a private tour.

Meeting Point

In front of Giuly’s Café
Via Santamaura, 3, Roma, RM, Italia


We accept most major credit cards and payment forms. Please see the bottom of our website for the payment types accepted.

Most of our customers enjoy having the benefits of a private tour. You have your own guide. You can have rest stops when you like. We can tailor the tour to suit your needs and preferences. We always choose the best guide for your needs, whether you are a family, an art school, or a company doing an incentive event.

All our tours except our Sex, Drugs and Renaissance tour are kid friendly. When doing a private tour with us, you have your own guide, so tell us in the notes of the booking the ages of your kids and we will tailor the tour and choose a guide that’s great for kids for you. We also have 4 special kids’ tours in Florence.

No large bags or backpacks in museums, in churches shoulders and knees must be covered so bring a scarf to cover your shoulders. IF it’s a walking, bicycle or a countryside tour make sure to bring comfortable shoes.

It’s important for everyone to bring their ID

student or children for the museum

All tours are conducted in English only unless otherwise noted or requested. Other languages available for all private tours on request.

We recommend arriving 15 minutes before departure time for all tours and services

We are offering mainly Private and some Semi-private tours at the moment. We do not offer many semi private small group tours anymore due to the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. The difference between Private and Semi-private is that the private tours are fully private tours with your own guide and the Semi-private are small shared group tours where individuals can join others.

Knees and shoulders must be covered to enter the churches! Travelling in hot weather? Don’t worry, you can drape a shawl over your shoulders.

If you enjoyed your tour and would like to give your guide a token of appreciation, tips are happily accepted. When asked, the office staff recommends whatever amount you feel comfortable with giving.

Yes, visit our Get In Touch page for all our contact details.

Save time by browsing our website for ideas on romantic getaways, historic residences, palace and castle stays, beautiful views, good value vacations, classic Tuscan country holidays and top attractions. Stop by to chat with us about the best shopping and restaurants in Florence and Tuscany!

Yes. ArtViva, The Original and Best Walking Tours is an ASTA registered company based in Florence, Italy, respecting national and international laws and regulations regarding tourism. (Chamber of Commerce Number 516411)


7 reviews for Early Visit to the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel & St Peter’s

  1. Suzanne McPhail

    Our guide, Alex, knew how and where to take us to minimize crowds. He was very well informed and patient. We enjoyed the tour very much.

  2. Stephanie Cross

    Excellent! The guide took us into the Sistine Chapel before it got so crowded and shared lots of background information that made the tour even more special. We’ve done several tours with Art Viva in Italy and have always been very pleased!

  3. Kim Jule

    I would recommend this tour, starting early at the Vatican allowed us to enjoy some of the best parts with few people there. It was truly amazing. Our guide was a 10!!! He shared so much of the history and meaning of this place, it really added tremendous value to the experience. The guide also served as our group photographer which gave us awesome memories!! Thank you so much!! Kim

  4. Lori Driver

    We booked Art Viva tours as one of 2 companies our travel agent suggested. I’m so glad we did!! You will meet at 7:15 at a cafe near the Vatican and walk on over from there. I knew this company was a smaller tour but we were really happy with our tour of only 9 people. . This made getting around the tour much easier than if we had a large group, which most of the tours we noticed were like 20 people. Our tour guide was fantastic!!! Very personable and funny. He asked if there was anything specific anyone wanted to see beforehand. We moved around quickly, stopping at the most important areas. He gave good narrative without feeling like we were sitting in a lecture and was happy to answer any questions. He navigated us through the crowds Strategically because he knew the crowd flow. He always stopped us at great photo opp areas and took each families picture. He was like the paparazzi

  5. Anita Yager

    Definitely recommend

  6. Baerbel Brown

    These tours, run by an incredible man named Alex, could not have been any better. Our experiences with Alex, who was much more than a great art tour guide, was a continuous immersion in beauty, history and art. It was ‘MAGNIFICO!!!’ From the very beginning was clear that it would be a wonderful experience. Alex focused on making us comfortable and relaxed while handling all the details. He made a strong connection with each of us, explaining what to expect, and then he focused on our children, 11 and 12 years old, in a way that kept them involved and inquisitive. He was so knowledgeable and passionate it is beyond words to explain it adequately. We experienced no difficulties at all, all the advice and guidance he offered us was spot on accurate, and I would recommend this tour to anyone who will take the time to list to me. In fact, we plan to return to Italy in 2 or 3 year and we will make every effort to hire your group to do another tour and we will be requesting Alex be our tour guide again. It was a perfect experience for our family. We cannot thank you enough!

  7. Shannon Pace

    Our tour was two consecutive days with the same tour guide, Alex. He was very passionate and knowledgeable about the places we visited. We learned things, we wouldn’t have known if we took the tour by ourselves. Alex was eager to include our 10 year old daughter in the discussion, which kept her excited and eager to learn and see more. By the end of the tour, we were sad it was over and that we wouldn’t get to see Alex again. My daughter was teary eyed when we had to depart, because Alex was always so thoughtful and cared about what we got to see and do. We were in Italy during high peak season. There were tons of tours with large groups of people. He worked the crowd with grace and courtesy, to make sure we got to see the best of everything during the tour. We had other tours from other companies during our trip, by far, the tour with Alex was the best, that left lasting memories for our family. If we ever visit the area again, we will definitely use this touring company and hope Alex is still there to guide us.

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