Pristine Sistine Early Entrance Small Group Vatican Tour

12733 reviews

4 hours

Max 15

Why take this tour?


  • Enter the Vatican Museums first thing in the morning, visiting the Sistine Chapel before the daytime crowds.
  • Visit the Raphael Rooms, thought by many to be as beautiful as the Sistine Chapel, and see where to spot Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo in the frescoes!
  • Enjoy skip the line access into the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica, saving hours of waiting.
  • Experience an all-encompassing guided tour inside St. Peter's Basilica and see Michelangelo's Pietà.
  • Get unparalleled access to your art expert guide—the small size of your group will make it easy to ask them all your burning questions.
  • 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
  • Tour Includes
  • Skip the line ticket for Vatican Museums
  • Skip the line access to St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Expertly guided walking tour
  • Headset

Relish the tranquility of the Vatican Museums in the early hours of the morning.

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Total Customer Reviews: 12733

Verified Ratings
4.7 /5
based on 12733 Walks’ customer ratings
Rating summary by category
Guest Support
Latest reviews
The early tour is highly recommended. You can get in before the big crowds and see the beautiful paintings and artwork while it is not as busy. And you can skip a really long waitingline so that is a big plus. Mauro was a great guide who walked and talked us through the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Cathedral. Really nice to have some more backstory of what you're seeing.
Verified · Joyce · Apr 23, 2024 · Netherlands · Female · 35 to 44 years
One of the best tours we experienced in Rome! Our guide was so accommodating for our group. You could tell she had a true passion for art and all things on our tour. Would highly recommended!
Verified · Karen · Apr 23, 2024 · USA · Female · 55 to 64 years
We took the 7:15AM tour with Sev, who was clearly an expert in all things Vatican City and was extremely well-versed in the history. It was impressive hearing him being able to answer all guest questions and even give specifics to dates and years of different events and explain how they all came together to bring the Vatican City we saw today. We saved a lot of time waiting in the security line/entrance to the city by booking with this group. Nothing was too challenging or took too long and I would absolutely recommend this tour and Sev in particular! He gave a perfect balance of bringing us together to point out specific points of interest, and giving the group time to wander and explore a few areas on our own.
Verified · Amanda · Apr 21, 2024 · USA · Female · 25 to 34 years
Microphone very poor
Verified · James · Apr 21, 2024 · USA · Male
Our tour guide Frankie was excellent. She was an extremely knowledgeable archeologist and had a great sense of humor. Our family enjoyed this tour and it was worth it to skip the line and see the Vatican ahead of the crowds.
Verified · Julie · Apr 19, 2024 · USA · Female · 45 to 54 years

Meeting Point

Meeting Point Map ⟶

Meeting Point

Please meet your guide in the plaza outside of Antico Café Candia, Via Candia, 153, 00192 Roma RM, at the bottom of the stairs. The closest Metro station is Cipro. Your guide will be in the center of the plaza holding a green Walks sign.

Please meet 15 minutes prior to the tour start time. 


The Pristine Sistine tour is sold out on my preferred dates. What other tours do you recommend?
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. As it's one of our popular tours, we recommend that you book it early. If you find that it is sold out on your available dates, we have several other very similar tours which we recommend you check out. These include: [Pristine Sistine at Closing Time: Late Entry Vatican Tour](, [The Complete Vatican Tour with Vatican Museums Sistine Chapel & St. Peter’s Basilica](, and [VIP Vatican Key Master’s Tour: Unlock the Sistine Chapel](
I am in a wheelchair/have a mobility impairment. Can I take this tour?
The Vatican Museums are equipped with elevators for wheelchair access, but they are not located on the group tour route. If you have a mobility impairment and/or use a wheelchair please contact our customer service department at [email protected] and we will be happy to work out a suitable alternative.
Does St. Peter's Basilica have a dress code?
Yes, although you aren't expected to dress as formally as if you were attending a mass. Unless you actually are attending a mass. The most important rule is NO SHORTS, that applies to both men and women. Shoulders must also be covered, so no tank tops. Small bags and umbrellas are permitted inside but large bags have to be checked at the entrance, next to the official audio-guides desk.
Is this tour accessible for wheelchairs, strollers or for those with mobility impairments?
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.
What happens if St. Peter's Basilica is closed on my tour?
The special access passage between the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica is closed on Wednesdays and subject to other unexpected closures during special celebrations/festivities, including the Easter ceremonies. On such days we will instead explore the magnificent Pinoteca Gallery. Your guide will still give you an introduction to the church should you wish to visit this on your own at a later occasion.
I want to take a selfie in the Raphael Rooms, can I bring my selfie stick?
No. Selfie sticks are strictly forbidden inside the Vatican Museums, along with flash photography. However, visitors are allowed to take non-flash photographs anywhere besides the Sistine Chapel.
What items can I NOT take into the Vatican Museums
Knives, scissors, and other cutting tools must also be deposited in the cloakroom as a precaution against harming the artwork inside. No hammers, either, as one was once used to smash Michelangelo's Pietá. This probably goes without saying, but firearms are also strictly prohibited for visitors within the Vatican Museums and you can't check them in the cloakroom.
I've heard the Vatican has a strict dress code. What should I wear?
It does, but it isn't anything too formal. The big rule is to make sure your shoulders and knees are covered - that applies to both men and women. Also remember that shorts of any length are not allowed at all in St. Peter's Basilica so if you are visiting both the Vatican Musuems and the Basilica, wear trousers or a long skirt. Occasionally visitors get away with wearing a bit less but it’s best not to risk it. Hats are also not allowed. Walks cannot be held responsible for guests who are refused entrance due to inappropriate dress so please remember to cover up.
IMPORTANT: 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’t 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. This means that you will need to walk 15 - 20 minutes back here after you finish your tour at St Peter's Basilica. On our afternoon tours you may need to leave the tour early to collect your bag before the cloakroom closes.
I'd like to climb to the top of the Dome of St. Peter's. Anything I should know?
The St. Peter's Dome climb requires separate tickets, one allows you to take the elevator up part of the way then climb a further 320 steps, while another permits you to climb the entire 551 steps. Either way the view from the top is worth it!
Why can't I take photos inside the Sistine Chapel?
When the chapel was restored in 1990 the biggest donors to the project (donating a whopping $4.2 million) were a Japanese television network. In return, they received exclusive rights to photograph and film inside and quickly banned any professional photographers from taking pictures. Although they didn't mind if tourists took photos, the Vatican guards decided to enforce the rule on everyone because it was impractical to differentiate between a normal visitor and who was a professional photographer. The Japanese network's exclusive contract has expired now but the rule persists. If you try to take any images in the Chapel Vatican, security is authorized to make you delete them.

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