Taking an early entrance group tour to the Vatican is one of the best ways you can witness this impressive museum, as not only do you get to experience the Sistine Chapel in all its glory before the crowds arrive, but your expert guide gives you some fascinating insights into the wonders that reside within the walls of this huge museum.
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The Pristine Sistine Early Entrance Small Group Vatican Tour gives you and up to 13 other guests the chance to gain priority access to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums before general admission opens at 9 am. If you’ve ever been to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel before (or any other crazy busy museum for that matter), you’ll know that this is a godsend as there’s nothing worse than being jostled about or feeling as though it’s too loud to truly appreciate the works of art that are in front of you. Instead, this tour creates a calm setting in which to experience these artistic wonders with extra fun facts from your professional guide as an added bonus.
While you are still not allowed to take photos within the Sistine Chapel, even on a private tour, you are able to enjoy a deeper and more meaningful experience than you would if you visited later in the day. As there will be fewer people within the Chapel during your visit you will also be able to appreciate the floor which is surprisingly beautiful but much less famous than its skyward counterpart! You’ll spend around 15-20 minutes within the chapel so you can take your time truly admiring this special place.
After your visit to the Sistine Chapel, the tour continues on to the rest of the Vatican Museum which houses around 20,000 works of art in over 1000 rooms! This museum can be pretty overwhelming if you visit by yourself so it’s really great to have a guide on hand to take you through some of the principal pieces as well as others you might miss if you were visiting solo. During our trip, we experienced works such as the Gallery of the Maps, the Gallery of Tapestries, the Sala Rotonda, the round gallery of statues, as well as the four Raphael rooms which are famous for their intricate frescoes painted by Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino. Each of the halls at the Vatican Museum is different and you will be amazed time and time again by the superlative works on display. You’ll learn interesting tidbits about the works themselves, the artists, the building and Vatican City as a whole, so you’ll be able to impress friends and family with your new wealth of knowledge!
Instead of getting lost in the labyrinthine halls of the Vatican Museum, you are guided through the rooms with ease by your group leader who will help you navigate the different decades and centuries of paintings and sculptures. Each member of the group has a personal headset which allows you to clearly hear your tour guide every step of the way. As you are exploring the museum as part of a small group you will also have the chance to ask as many questions as you like along the way.
The whole tour lasts just under four hours and takes in the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums but it also allows you to skip-the-line access to St. Peter’s Basilica so you can tick off another of the Vatican’s attractions on the same day. You will access the Basilica through a special corridor and get straight in there to discover sights such as Bernini’s monumental altar canopy, Michelangelo’s moving ‘Pietà’ and the titanic dome.
When the tour is finished, you’ll be able to continue your time in the Basilica at a more leisurely pace before heading somewhere nearby for a spot of lunch.
Please note: on Wednesdays, St Peter’s Basilica is usually closed until 1 pm as there is an audience with the Pope on Wednesday mornings.
Even if you’re not a morning person, this early entrance tour is well worth getting up for! The priority access, the additional information, the special entrance to the Basilica and the peaceful viewing of the stunning ceiling of Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo make this an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience!