guided tour
skip the line
3 hours
This tour route is completely barrier-free!

PRICES

Adult: 75€
Student: 65€
Under the age of 26, in possession of a valid Student ID
Child: 55€
From the age of 6 - 17, with a valid ID that demonstrates their age
Children under the age of 6 are FREE

Tour Description

Semi Private tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica

This intimate group tour is designed for those who want to visit the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peters, outside regular opening hours. Explore the Vatican one hour before it opens to the general public, allowing a chance to see some of the key works, before the crowds really start to arrive. 

The Vatican Museums

Within the seventeenth century walls that surround the Vatican City State lies one of the most spectacular art collections in the world, in the Vatican Museums. This national treasure was accumulated over centuries by the Popes and, today, it stands as a testimony to the pivotal role the Catholic Church played in Italian art. Your guide will delve into the history of fascinating compilation, explain how the museums came to be and show you the piece that started it all. You’ll hear riveting tales about the artists who contributed to the collection, who they were, where they came from and what they created. See examples of Greek and Roman mythology and learn how myths were used by the church to relay hidden messages. 

Raphael Rooms

The Raphael Rooms are made up of four separate chambers painted by the young Raphael Sanzio and his pupils over a 16-year period. The “Stanze”, as they are often called, were painted by the artists using a mural technique called fresco, in which pigment is essentially tattooed directly into wet plaster. While painstakingly difficult, the results are breathtaking, producing incredible detail, crisp colors and poignant themes that fill the walls of these impressive rooms. Learn about Raphael’s rivalry with Michelangelo, how his artistic style matured after his exposure to the Sistine Chapel, and which room houses one of his most famous works. 

Sistine Chapel 

The “piece de resistance” of the entire tour is, without a doubt, the Sistine Chapel. While it still functions as a religious space today and plays an important role during the conclave, the chapel is most widely known for its art. Every inch of this space is filled with adroitness, from the often-overlooked intricate mosaic floor, to the choir box, organ and the false draperies that cover its lower walls. Frescos by early Renaissance masters fill the side walls, not to mention the ceiling and back wall, which are both Michelangelo’s creations. Find out more about fresco painting, the symbolism behind the figures, and the equipment and tricks Michelangelo employed to create such memorable works. 

St. Peter’s Basilica 

St. Peter’s Basilica is built very close to the site where the saint was martyred by the Emperor Nero. After his death a shrine was set up and became a point of pilgrimage for early Christians. Over the years this location became extremely popular and prompted Constantine to build the first church on the site. The Basilica that stands today, however, is the second construction, which was created during the Renaissance by the Popes. Learn how long it took to complete, how many people it can hold, and just how big it really is. Discover one of Michelangelo’s earlier pieces, Bernini and Borromini’s high alter and the tallest man-made structure in Rome.

Itinerary

  • Octagonal Courtyard
  • Gallery of the Muses
  • Round Room
  • Gallery of the Candelabra
  • Gallery of Maps
  • Sobieski Room
  • Raphael Rooms
  • Borgia Apartments
  • Collection of Modern Religious Art
  • Sistine Chapel
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
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What's Included

  • Semi-private guided tour of the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Early Access, Skip-the-line admission and entrance to the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Live tour commentary via audio headset
  • Privileged entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Fully licensed tour guide
  • Headsets (from 6 pax)

Highlights

  • Privileged entrance to the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica to bypass the lines
  • World-renowned Renaissance frescoes inside the Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms
  • Marvel of St. Peter’s Basilica, and works of Michelangelo and Bernini
  • Intimate, semi-private tour experience
  • Knowledgeable and Lazio certified guide to lead your history and art centric tour

Available Languages

  • English
  • Private tour option available in English. For more Information or/ and inquiries please contact us at info@mayatoursroma.com 

REVIEWS

"Vatican Early Tour"

We were there just for 4 days but if was amazingly beautiful and specially very informative. Roberto Notarmasi is an excellent guide, very knowledgeable and fun, he knew exactly what were the most important things that we have to know before leaving .. thanks to Maya tours and Robert.

ZoeTahalia Placentia, California, Dec 2017

"The highlight of our trip to Italy. Everything and more than we expected"

My wife did her homework and booked the early tour as we had been told the Vatican was the worst one for long lines and huge crowds. We met our tour guide Alfredo Noia and went straight in. He was one of the best guides we have ever had. His knowledge of History and Art was amazing. We started off in Vatican city the center of Rome (the smallest state in Europe) and is ruled by the Pope. Only 1000 people live within those walls. It was declared independent from Italy on 11th February 1929. We started off in the Chiaramonti Museum (sculptures and portraits), Gallery of Maps (maps painted in Fresco on the walls) and the Pio Clementino Museum (Important Greek works). Each one special in it’s own right. Then we went into the Sistine Chapel and to say we were blown away is an understatement. I would go back to Rome just to experience this again. Michaelangelo was and still is one of the worlds greatest artists. The Sistine Chapel ceiling is breathtaking and the stories behind it are so interesting. We then visited the St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peters Square. Amazing, too many incredible paintings, sculptures and buildings to take in. You could spend a week here and still not take it all in. Fun note we sent postcards from the Vatican with the Vatican postmark. Very cool. Rome’s most MUSTSEE tour.

David R Jacksonville, Florida Dec 2017

"Roberto was the best!"

I used their website to buy tickets and got to the office at the time that was stated on my email. Initially it was only my brother and I waiting for the early morning group tour. 2 more people joined and off we went. It really felt like a private tour which was nice. This is my second time to the Vatican and let’s just say I learnt so much more on this tour than my first. Roberto was perhaps one of the best guides I’ve ever had for anything. He was super informative and personable. Took time to show us things which before I breezed past on my first visit. Told us what to look out for in the Basilica. I was able to ask him questions without feeling shy. My brother really enjoyed it too. Thank you Roberto and Maya Tours for your professionalism. I recommend this company for the early tour. Other companies seem to have 20+ people on each tour whereas this was a lot more smaller. I was grateful I wasn’t part of a big group. By the time we left the Vatican the lines outside were huge. I would pay the extra $$ to go in early and skip the crowd.

prinzess26, Jan 2018