Vatican Tours

Early Morning Vatican Tour | Small Group

Step inside an hour before the Vatican officially opens to the public and embark on a unique journey of artistic and cultural discovery.

89 €

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  • Availability

    Mon, Thu, Sat

  • Duration

    3.5 hours

  • Start time

    8:00 am

  • Small group

    Max 12 people

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89 €

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Why Choose it?

  • Come face-to-face with all the classics for the complete Vatican experience.
  • Wander the Vatican Museum's fabled halls one hour before general opening.
  • Hone in on the highlights of the Vatican's vast collection.
  • Soak in the Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter's Basilica without the crowds.

Tour description

Explore the Vatican's exceptional collection before the masses arrive. Your VIP entrance and knowledgeable, licensed guide will open the door to a whole new world of discovery. After this three-and-a-half hour tour, you'll feel you've truly experienced the Vatican as priceless art meets intriguing history to create this once-in-a-lifetime experience. All at your fingertips. All waiting to be explored. 

Enter the Eternal City's epicenter one hour before general opening. But you won't just be visiting the Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter's Basilica; your expert guide will take you on a journey through the Vatican Museums' expansive collection. Among the treasures you'll encounter are Bernini's breathtaking sculptures, immersive frescoes in the Raphael Rooms, the beautifully detailed Flemish artworks of the Gallery of Tapestries, and the lifelike statues of the Gallery of the Candelabra

Marvel at Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel

Revere Michelangelo’s ultimate work, the Sistine Chapel, in the peace and introspective quiet it deserves with hardly any crowds. Your specialist licensed guide will bring the frescoes of the private papal chapel to life, shaping a once-in-a-lifetime experience amidst the world’s most stunning pieces of art. 

Learn the story behind Michelangelo's creation of the Last Judgement, identify key figures and scenes on the Sistine Chapel Ceiling - even see if you can spot Michelangelo himself who painted his self-portrait into the torso of Saint Peter.  

Embark on an artistic odyssey through the Vatican Museums

The itinerary is specifically designed to lead you through the seemingly overwhelming amount of art in the Vatican Museums in a manner that allows you to appreciate each period—Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque—with comprehension and contemplation.

Every step through the Vatican Museums is a step through history. Your expert guide will bring history to life with anecdotes about the artists, legends from the sculptures, tales about the paintings, and curiosities that line each gallery.

Meet the Laocoon - a statue exuding emotion

Discovered in 1506 and dating back around 1,500 years earlier, the Laocoon statue is one of the ancient world's undisputed masterpieces. Mentioned by Pliny the Elder, a victim of Vesuvius in 79 AD, the statue depicts the famous scene from the Trojan War in which Laocoon, a Trojan priest, is punished for revealing the Greeks' trickery to his fellow Trojans warning them not to let the their wooden horse into the city.

Claimed by a sea serpent along with his two sons, the statue powerfully captures Laocoon's agony - a desperate father struggling in vain to save his children. But this isn't the only statue from antiquity in the Vatican Museums; lose yourself among the busts of the emperors who ruled Rome and the Pantheon of gods they worshipped.  

Explore the Vatican Museums' famed galleries

Your Early Morning Vatican tour grants you exclusive access to the Vatican's most prized highlights, some of which are off the museum's beaten path. Surround yourself with the stunning statues of the Gallery of the Candelabra. Nourish yourself with the knowledge of how geographers once understood their world  in the immersive Gallery of Maps

Lose yourself in the intricate, immaculate Flemish fabrics that adorn the wall of the Gallery of Tapestries. Then make your way to marvel at the masterful frescoes of the Raphael Rooms which many say rival those of Michelangelo. And when you come face to face with Michelangelo's Last Judgement, you can be the one who has the last say.

Enter another world in the Raphael Rooms or Cabinet of Masks

Created at the same time that Michelangelo was working away on the Sistine Chapel, the frescoes that decorate the Raphael Rooms are truly a sight to behold. Transport yourself back to the world of the great Greek philosophers as you lose yourself in the School of Athens. Rediscover the Old Saint Peter's Basilica in the background of the dramatic Fire at the Borgo. Lay your eyes upon the battle that brought Christianity to the world's stage in the Battle of the Milvian Bridge

The Cabinet of Masks, which derives its name from the mosaics of Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli occupying the center of the room, can claim one of the Vatican's most stunning collection of statues. Among the sculptures on display are the Three Graces, a nympha highly praised by Goethe, and various statues of Aphrodite -the goddess of love.

Finish your adventure in Saint Peter's Basilica

Saint Peter’s Basilica is your grand finale. Come and see how this former Circus of Nero became the largest Catholic Church in the world as you admire the incredible mosaics, Michelangelo’s Pieta, and Bernini’s Baldachin in all of their glory. Finish outside the basilica in Saint Peter's Square, where the Pope holds his audiences. Here in the shadow of the Vatican's ancient Egyptian obelisk, you can decompress an incredible morning of seeing what the Vatican has to offer.

The Vatican Early Morning Tour is regarded as “one of the best experiences in Rome.”

*Please note, shoulders and knees need to be covered during the tour. No vests, shorts, or skirts above the knee will be allowed inside the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica.*


Early entry priority tickets


  • Sistine Chapel
  • Vatican Museums
  • Laocoon Statue
  • Belvedere Courtyard
  • Gallery of Tapestries
  • Gallery of the Candelabra
  • Gallery of Maps
  • Raphael Rooms or Cabinet of Masks
  • Saint Peter's Basilica
  • Saint Peter's Square

Kids friendly:

This tour is kids friendly, your children are welcome

meeting point:

Vatican Museums entrance viale Vaticano (This is the address to be given to the taxi)

see on map

excellent guides

Our guides are fluent in English and have a contagious passion for the inspiring cultural heritage of our Italian cities. Experts in their fields, they will immerse you in the hidden histories and intriguing lives of history's great protagonists. So much to see, so easy to miss out: with the help of our guides, visit the most absorbing sites and uncover the stories that have changed the world. Don't miss this fascinating journey!

This tour is also available as a Private Tour!

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