Pristine Sistine Early Entrance Small Group Vatican Tour


  • Enter the Vatican Museums before the general public, visiting the Sistine Chapel before the daytime crowds

  • Visit the Raphael Rooms, thought by many to be as beautiful as the Sistine Chapel, before the Museums open to the public

  • Enjoy skip the line access into the Vatican Museums, saving hours of waiting

  • With small groups of 15 people or fewer, you'll find it easy to interact with your guide


An hour before it opens to the public, the Sistine Chapel is at its most peaceful, and this is when you'll enter. Thanks to our flagship tour you have special access to marvel at Michelangelo's masterwork of frescoes and wonderous ceiling art, without the distracting crowds. A full tour of the Vatican Museums and phenomenal Pinacoteca Art Gallery follows with your expert guide leading the way. 

Tour info

4 hours
Group Size
Pricing (From)
Adult: (15-99 years)
Child: (2-14 years)
Infant: (0-1 years)
Adult: (15-99 years)
Child: (2-14 years)
Infant: (0-1 years)
Meeting Point

Piazza del Risorgimento, 52 , (Bar l'Ottagono), Rome, Lazio, 00192, IT

Dropoff location

Vatican Museum, Rome, Lazio, IT

Why take this tour?

Pristine Sistine Chapel Tour has been our flagship tour for over 13 years and really set us on the map.__ In that time, we've tweaked and tested the experience to create what is inarguably the best tour for any first-time visitor to the Vatican Museums. We secure special entrance an hour before the public and then head straight to the Raphael Rooms & Sistine Chapel before any of the swelling daytime crowds.

While most companies begin their tour in the first rooms - we breeze past. Instead, we're headed straight for the Raphael Rooms. During the day these corridors are as busy as the Sistine Chapel. At this hour of the morning, however, while the Museums are still closed to the public, you'll have plenty of space to enjoy them. Your guide will give you the full tour they rarely deliver, pointing out where Raphael worked the faces of his gurus Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, into his frescoes.

Now that your eye has adjusted to world-famous masterpieces, you'll move onto the Sistine Chapel. You'll arrive at the door as the first regular groups are admitted, to visit at the most peaceful time of day. By now your guide will have given you a full run-down of Michelangelo's frescoes, including a detailed handout, so you spend every minute inside the Sistine Chapel in awestruck contemplation.

Just as the crowds are beginning to arrive, you'll be whisked away to another incredible space. The Pinacoteca Gallery is the modern wing of the Vatican Museums and houses its most important artworks. Here you'll find paintings by Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. This many masterpieces in one gallery would draw lines around the block anywhere else in the world, but in the context of the Vatican Museums and at this hour of the morning, may be yours alone. 

In pre-pandemic days many Vatican tours included skip the line access to St Peter's Basilica. Unfortunately this has been impossible since 2020, based on changes to access and routes. Recognising the importance of this stop on your Rome vacation however, our guides will end your Vatican tour at a special spot overlooking the dome of St Peter's Basilica. Here you'll learn about the history and architecture of this incredible church and get tips on what to look out for during an independent visit. From there the choice is yours. Grab lunch inside the Vatican Museums and continue your exploration of these incredible palaces, or follow the dome to St Peter's Basilica. 

Entering before the crowds with an expert art historian guide, our *Pristine Sistine* (the original Walks tour) offers you the most personal, unforgettable, and intimate experience inside the Vatican Museums.

Sites Visited: 
  • Vatican Museums
  • Sistine Chapel
  • Raphael Rooms (Stanze di Raffaello)
  • Pinacoteca
  • Belvedere Courtyard
  • Pinecone Courtyard
    Octagonal Courtyard
  • Gallery of the Maps
  • Gallery of the Tapestries
  • Gallery of the Candelabra

What’s included?

  • Local English-speaking guide

  • Expertly guided walking tour

  • Skip the line ticket for Vatican Museums

  • Headset

  • Small groups of 15 people or fewer

  • Gratuities

  • Hotel Pick-Up / Drop-Off

Frequently asked questions

Things to know

Before you book

  • All guests (including children) must bring ID on the day of their tour.

  • We cannot accept wheelchairs on this group tour. Our group route utilizes staircases where elevator access is not easily accessible. Those with wheelchairs and limited mobility can contact us ([email protected]) so we can arrange your visit.

  • Walks comply with all local government regulations. You may need to wear a mask or provide proof of vaccination to enter certain venues. Please refer to Italy government guidelines for the most up to date information

Before you go

  • This tour is in English.

  • This is a walking tour. Guests should be able to walk at a moderate pace without difficulty.

  • The tour meeting time is 15 minutes prior to the start time. No refunds can be provided for late arrivals or no-shows.

  • If you cannot join your tour at the last minute (running late, etc), please contact us. We may be able to reschedule your tour with a small amendment fee depending on availability.

  • All guests (including children) must bring ID on the day of their tour.

  • All guests must pass through security. For useful information/restrictions about your tour in the Vatican Museum, visit

  • Only small backpacks and handbags are allowed inside the Vatican Museums. Storage is available but please note you must return (about a 20-minute walk) to the entrance to pick up your items at the end of the tour.

  • Due to the religious nature of the Vatican, all individuals regardless of gender must cover their shoulders and knees. Walks cannot be held responsible for those denied entry.

  • Tips/gratuities (for your guide) are always appreciated.

  • Walks comply with all local government regulations. You may need to wear a mask or provide proof of vaccination to enter certain venues. Please refer to Italy government guidelines for the most up to date information

Covid Policy

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Face masks provided for travelers
  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Regular temperature checks for staff
  • Temperature checks for travelers upon arrival
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms

Cancellation Policy

    Cancellations received greater than 72 hours prior to tour commencement are fully refundable. Cancellations received within 72 hours of tour commencement are nonrefundable. Amendment requests are subject to availability and price changes. Late arrivals and no shows are nonrefundable. This is applicable to any tour participant that fails to arrive, or arrives after tour departure.

Redemption information

    Mobile tickets will be accepted

    Your voucher will be collected or scanned on redemption

About operator:

Walks (, began over a decade ago (2008, to be exact) in Rome, Italy. We quickly became the premier walking tour company in 7 countries - Italy, Spain, France, the UK, Greece, and Portugal. Our US cities include San Francisco, NYC, Boston, Chicago, and New Orleans.

In 2021, we joined The Hornblower Group ( expanding our reach and working alongside this powerhouse travel brand.

Our tour products vary but predominantly we #takewalks, exploring the world by foot - we believe, the best way to get into the heart of a city and its incredible people. From introductory strolls to food tours, day trips, cooking classes, and below the surface, in-depth tours, we have our hand in everything a traveler could want. Oh, and we also like to give our clients exclusive access to the biggest attractions in the world...

Despite the big changes in our brand over the years, our focus has remained simple - to relentlessly create tours with the client experience at the forefront and anchored upon the dedicated, intelligent, and above all, passionate local guides who want to share their cities with you.