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Early Entry Sistine Chapel & St Peter's Basilica Express Service

504 reviews

2 hours

Max 20

Why take this tour?


  • Bypass the crowds with early-entry access
  • Enjoy a specially-curated route through the galleries
  • Savour the solitude afforded by the Sistine Chapel when devoid of crowds
  • Enter St Peter's Basilica and enjoy a 45-minute tour led by your guide

Covid 19 Guidelines

At Walks we take your health and the health of our community seriously. We would like to remind you that this country is updating its COVID regulations. Please visit here to find and follow local regulations.

  • Walks has been certified by an award distributed to businesses with a proven dedication to excellence in safety
  • Due to Covid-19, your tour may be amended to ensure safety and wellbeing

Take a shortcut: Skip the line at the Vatican & St Peter's Basilica

  • Sites Visited
  • Vatican Museums
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Pinecone Courtyard
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Michaelangelo's Pietà
  • Bernini's Baldachin
  • St. Peter's Square
  • Tour Includes
  • Local English-speaking guide
  • Expertly guided walking tour
  • Skip the line ticket for Vatican Museums
  • Skip the line access to St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Headset
Visitors look at the frescoes in the Sistine ChapelMichelangelo's Final Judgement in the Sistine ChapelThe ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by MichelangeloMichelangelo's PietáThe Gallery of the Maps is one of the most stunning long galleries in the Vatican Museums. The difference between art and architecture sometimes disappears entirely in the Vatican Museums. Seeing St. Peter's Basilica in the morning light is an experience like none other. Even if its crowded, St. Peter's rarely feels crowded. When you get into St. Peter's be prepared to spend a lot of time looking up. Bernini's Baldachin is one of the highlights of St. Peter's Basilica.

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Latest Reviews

This was great!

Alessia was such a brilliant guide to have, she was so approachable and her expertise were evidently in the area - I felt like I had Robert Langdon with me going through the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica; she made it so interesting and relatable. I was lucky enough to have been on my own for this specific tour and had so much time for questions. I was given the perfect amount of time to enjoy the Sistine Chapel - I can't recommend this tour enough if you are someone who wants to experience the Sistine Chapel the way it is meant to be enjoyed; amongst a small amount of people in serene quiet - if you are to visit the chapel through a general ticket, I guarantee you will not enjoy the experience as much, as I have now experienced it both ways. Having a guide bringing you directly into the Basilica was excellent as we went into the church with little waiting time - just for the guide to collect our entrance tickets. Seeing the Pietà statue as one of the first things was truly indescribable and, in addition to having a guide that knew so much about it - it was truly enlightening. I even had the choice to explore the crypt with Alessia or to continue exploring the main Basilica - I chose to explore the crypt where I was given so much interesting facts about the Popes of the past and the earlier constructs of the church. At the end of the tour, Alessia pointed me in the direction of the elevator and steps to the Dome. Being able to have such freedom and movement around the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica was only made possible through the guide on this tour and the fact that the tour allowed me early access to these areas - this would not have been possible had I not booked with Walks of Italy; it was more than worth it - I can't wait to book my next tour with them, they do incredible work!


Can I use a wheelchair on this tour?
Yes, but we require advance notice in order to accommodate wheelchairs on this tour. After booking, please contact us so that we can organize a private tour for you. If we cannot find a guide to lead you that day we'll offer you the same tour on the next avaialbe date or give you credit for another tour anywhere else in the world.
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!
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.
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 wheelchair please contact our customer service department and we will be happy to design a private tour for you. [email protected] We can then work out a suitable alternative.
Is there a long line to enter St. Peter's Basilica?
On our exclusive tours of St. Peter's we avoid standing in the notoriously long line by showing up early. It’s amazing how few people are able to get out of bed in time to be there when the doors open. Even in the height of summer, you can miss the worst of the line by simply sucking it up and getting an early start. Aside from getting there early there is no way to skip the line. In high season (May – September) it can stretch over 2 hours and even in the low season it might reach an hour. The only other alternative is to take a certified Vatican Museums tour with a certified tour group – there is a passageway that runs from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s that is specially reserved for tour groups. Currently, it is the only way to circumvent the line at the entrance to the Basilica.
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 recieved 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.
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.
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.

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