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Why Choose It?
- Enter the Vatican alone after hours in your very own private tour.
- Admire Michelangelo’s magnum opus, the Sistine Chapel, without any crowds.
- Venture deeper into the Vatican, viewing plenty of off-limits areas.
Enjoy the ultimate experience of being alone with Michelangelo’s masterpiece – the Sistine Chapel. Once the day’s crowds have dispersed and the Vatican is shrouded in silence, you’ll be left to appreciate this mesmerizing work of art in the company of an expert art historian and in the intimacy of your own private tour.
Our exclusive Silver Partner Collaboration gives you complete run of the Vatican Museums. What’s more, you’ll be granted exclusive access to rooms that are normally kept closed to the public. The Niccoline Chapel, Cabinet of Masks, and Bramante Staircase are just some of the restricted access wonders you’ll explore. Read on to discover more.
Enter the Vatican Museums just as they close to the public
Stepping inside the Vatican Museums at either in the morning at 5:45 or 6:30 am or in the evening at 6 or 7 pm, you will enjoy full VIP access that allows you to visit parts of the Vatican’s vast collection that few people ever get to see. Your passionate, professional guide will reveal all the secrets and symbols behind its world-defining artworks. And because you’ll be alone, you’ll have the personalized attention to ask any question about any of these masterpieces that has been burning away in the back of your mind.
Explore the Pinecone Courtyard
Deriving its name from the giant statue of a pinecone at its head, the Pinecone Courtyard is truly a sight to behold. Designed by Donato Bramante, who laid the design foundations for Saint Peter’s Basilica later realized by Michelangelo, it once formed part of the Belvedere Courtyard.
Boasting stunning views of Saint Peter’s Dome and a curious spherical structure by the Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, the courtyard originally connected the palace of Pope Innocent VIII with the private papal chapel – known more commonly as the Sistine Chapel.
Explore the Vatican’s Gallery of Maps
As we wander the storied halls of the Vatican Museums, we will come upon galleries whose collections guide us through art, history, and space. The Gallery of Maps, with its bright golden ceiling, is illuminated with wall frescoes depicting how people of the 16th century understood their world. Their artist was Ignazio Danti, a Dominican friar, who topographically mapped Italy and its islands in such detail they still resonate with us today.
Step inside the Gallery of the Candelabra
We visit the Gallery of the Candelabra, famous not so much for the beautifully decorated ornament which gives the gallery its name, but for the plethora of ancient statues that congregate upon its floors. Lined with luminous marble and divided into six sections, the Gallery of the Candelabra is a treasure trove of ancient artworks, just waiting for you to explore it alone.
Lose yourself among the Gallery of Tapestries
We then come to the aesthetically awe-inspiring Gallery of Tapestries. Lining the walls of this stretching medieval corridor are Flemish designs so intricate they need to be seen to be believed. Narrating various episodes in history and liturgy, from the assassination of Julius Caesar to the Resurrection of Christ, they house a wealth of secrets which your expert guide will unlock.
Surround yourself with the stunning frescoes of the Raphael Rooms
Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel draws almost all of the Vatican’s crowds. But while he was working away on painting its ceiling, his contemporary rival, the famous Raphael, was decorating a papal residence with some unparalleled frescoes of his own.
Several frescoes line the walls of the Raphael Rooms (though not all were painted by him – some were the work of his pupils). Your tour will explore the most enchanting, allowing you to lose yourself in their powerful scenes while your guide injects them with the historical context that visitors without a guide never get.
Meet famous figures in the School of Athens
The Raphael Rooms contain one of the world’s most famous frescoes, the School of Athens, which decorates the walls of the Segnatura. Amalgamating all of antiquity’s great thinkers in one scene – and inserting contemporary artists for good measure – Raphael created an artwork that raises philosophical questions about our pursuit of knowledge while indulging the eyes with the intricacy of its designs.
Marvel at Nero’s Bathtub
Recovered from the emperor’s Golden Palace, part of which survives beside the Colosseum, this giant porphyry bath is now one of the Vatican Museums’ centerpieces. Standing on an ornate, ancient mosaicked floor and surrounded by statues of emperors and gods – including a remarkable bronze Hercules, its size and splendor are breathtaking and give a real sense of the emperor’s opulence.
Go behind the scenes to explore the Room of the Masks
The Room of the Masks is a true Vatican treasure, containing ancient mosaics so splendid they once decorated an imperial villa. The room takes its name not from any actual masks, but from the design of one of these mosaics. It was brought to the Vatican from the emperor Hadrian’s residence at Tivoli, Villa Adriana, and is so remarkably well preserved you would be forgiven the stones were embedded yesterday.
Acquaint yourself with the Pope’s private Niccoline Chapel
The Pope’s private chapel is a true artistic masterpiece. The pinnacle of 15th-century Christian humanism, its scenes depict episodes from the lives of many famous saints. The stories of Saint Steven and Saint Laurence play out mesmerizingly before you – their protagonists even after nearly 600 years, so lifelike they could be in the room with you.
Visit the Sistine Chapel after-hours and be alone with Michelangelo
Your two hour tour concludes at the apex of the Vatican’s collection, the resplendent Sistine Chapel. Most visitors in Rome experience the Sistine Chapel when it’s packed to capacity, but our Alone with Michelangelo tour lets you come face to face with his magnum opus, in the still serenity of the evening.
Nourish yourself on your expert guide’s knowledge as they breathe life into its lifelike frescoes. Put the scenes of its ceiling into context, understanding more than just the Creation of Adam but the subtleties of Michelangelo’s decorative program.
Finally, come face to face with the Last Judgement, one of the most powerful artworks of the ages, and leave feeling like you’ve experienced the Vatican like few others on earth.
- Itinerary:Pinecone CourtyardVatican HighlightsRaphael RoomsSistine Chapel
- Included:Round-trip transferSkip-the-line tickets and reservationsPrivate licensed guidePrivate Sistine Chapel & Vatican Museums opening
- Wheelchair accessible:Yes. (Itinerary may differ).
- Meeting Point:Hotel Lobby
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!
Terrific Trastevere Food Tour with Luca! Luca took my wife and myself on a wonderful food tour through Trastevere. The things we saw and ate and learned were excellent. The best part was Luca's friendly nature.... read moreLuca took my wife and myself on a wonderful food tour through Trastevere. The things we saw and ate and learned were excellent. The best part was Luca's friendly nature. By the end of the evening we felt that we had spent a nice time with a new friend. read less - 10/03/2022
- Darren R
A must do experience This cooking class was a highlight of our trip. We got to meet a young chef, Sara. She had us decide what to cook. Then we walked through... read moreThis cooking class was a highlight of our trip. We got to meet a young chef, Sara. She had us decide what to cook. Then we walked through the market to pick out some of the ingredients, the meats and such. Then we went back to their excellent small group kitchen. We had a wonderful time learning from Sara. She taught us to make ravioli and saltimbocca and tiramisu. It was fun and relaxed and extremely delicious. We thought the whole experience was splendid. 10 out of 10. read less - 9/26/2022
Best Food Tour We Took! My fiance and I capped off our first full day in Rome with this lovely food tour. Luca was friendly, excited, and knowledgeable. We got to try a ton of... read moreMy fiance and I capped off our first full day in Rome with this lovely food tour. Luca was friendly, excited, and knowledgeable. We got to try a ton of different food and even returned to one of the restaurants later in the week. The tour groups are kept small, so our group easily got to know each other throughout the tour. We were especially pleased with how accommodating it was: My fiance is a vegetarian and can be a bit of a picky eater, so he had low expectations going in and this ended up being his favorite activity all week! We actually had a couple of vegetarians in our group and there was always an equally hearty substitute whenever necessary. Super pleased with this experience and with Luca! Best part of our week! read less - 9/21/2022
- Emily W
Worth every penny. What an evening! This was without a doubt the highlight of my trip. A great evening with plenty of incredible local food and drink and a really good way to meet and... read moreThis was without a doubt the highlight of my trip. A great evening with plenty of incredible local food and drink and a really good way to meet and get to know other travellers. The small group size made it much more personal and conversation flowed all evening! Sara (our guide) was absolutely amazing - so friendly and chatty, and so full of knowledge about the local food and Rome/Trastevere's history. She could not have been better.
I'll be coming back to Rome and will definitely be booking this again. Thank you so much, Sara, for making my first trip to Rome that much better! read less - 9/21/2022
Delicious food from fabulous foody Luca Boccia was PHENOMENAL!
His knowledge of Italian cuisine was exceptional, especially welcomed because it included more than just the well known dishes. He was funny and friendly, making our... read moreLuca Boccia was PHENOMENAL!
His knowledge of Italian cuisine was exceptional, especially welcomed because it included more than just the well known dishes. He was funny and friendly, making our time together unforgettable.
Most appreciated was his offer to remain a resource for the duration of our visit with DELICIOUS recommendations off the tourist path.
Well done Luca!!! read less - 9/11/2022
A Must Do Tour of Sistine Chapel Amazing! This was my third time to the Vatican but this time I took my adult/teen children and wife and we used a tour guide. It was a... read moreAmazing! This was my third time to the Vatican but this time I took my adult/teen children and wife and we used a tour guide. It was a small group of 9. Just 2 families. She was great. She does this 4 days a week and all the guards knew her by name. If you want to see the Sistine Chapel, then you have to go early. We were one of the first to enter and with her connections basically did not wait on anything. We also entered a section in the Vatican Museums usually off limits to the public, a section with many animal statues and other mosaics. She gave us so much history and culture. My children said it was AP World History made real. You could tell she truly loved what she did. read less - 8/29/2022
Best tour ever. Martha was our guide. She is the best. They way she explained all , answered our questions give us all the information in every place all was wonderful. It was... read moreMartha was our guide. She is the best. They way she explained all , answered our questions give us all the information in every place all was wonderful. It was a very hot summer day and she always looks for ways to give us the information under the shade before we went into the sun. I highly recommend this company and Martha as well. It was very easy to make the reservation and pay. We took the private tour and was perfect. 3 hours that feel like Half hour . We didn’t do any limes to get into the places. Know that if you go by yourself or in other yours you could be up to 2 hours under the sun to get into the coliseum or forum. I highly recommend the private tour. read less - 8/05/2022
Great Food Stroll with Luca We did the Trastevere Food Stroll with Luca B and he was great! Brought us to great authentic locations and provided his expert advice! We would highly recommend this tour... read moreWe did the Trastevere Food Stroll with Luca B and he was great! Brought us to great authentic locations and provided his expert advice! We would highly recommend this tour and Luca!! read less - 7/30/2022