Waking Up the Vatican: VIP Small-Group Tour Before Museums Open
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Waking Up the Vatican: VIP Small-Group Tour Before Museums Open
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Waking Up the Vatican: VIP Small-Group Tour Before Museums Open

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About this activity
This is a typical itinerary for this product

Pass By: City Wonders, 00100 Rome Italy

Meet your small tour group limited to 20 people and your guide in central Rome.

Pass By: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Vatican City Italy

The clavigero (key keeper) carries nearly 3,000 keys to the Vatican Museums, and every morning opens the monumental Vatican doors. He uses a key to get into each section of the museum, turning on the lights to each room for the day.

On this special VIP tour, head inside the rooms and galleries before the museum is even opened to the public with the clavigero as he finds the right key that opens each area. You’ll avoid the crazy chaos of the crowds as you follow your guide through a carefully planned route.

Stop At: Sistine Chapel, Citta del Vaticano 1, 00120 Vatican City Italy

Next, continue on to the world-famous Sistine Chapel to catch sight of Michelangelo’s masterpiece. Enter the chapel and have the rare chance to admire it with only a few other people. Your guide also goes inside with you for a guided visit—which has never been heard of until now.

Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Stanze di Raffaello, Viale Vaticano, Vatican City Italy

Visit the most famous galleries and rooms, such as the Raphael Rooms, and see a variety of ancient sculptures, paintings, relics, and medieval maps. Your guide tells you the stories behind them and the Vatican itself.

Duration: 30 minutes

Stop At: Vatican Museums, Viale Vaticano, 00120 Vatican City Italy

End your experience at the Vatican Museums with a delicious breakfast in the beautiful Pinecone Courtyard. Enjoy a huge spread of hot and cold breakfast foods, meats, cheeses, pastries, and pancakes. Your breakfast at the Vatican is relaxed, giving you plenty of time to sit out on the courtyard patio.

Your VIP early-entry Vatican tour ends inside the Pinecone Courtyard, so you can spend additional time exploring further, if you'd like.

Duration: 2 hours

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  • Expert, English-speaking tour guide
  • Small groups of 20 people or less
  • Guided visit in the Sistine Chapel before it has been opened to the public
  • Buffet breakfast
  • Breakfast
  • Entry/Admission - Sistine Chapel
  • Entry/Admission - Stanze di Raffaello
  • Entry/Admission - Vatican Museums
Not included
  • Gratuities
  • Hotel pick-up/drop-off
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • This service ends at around 08:30AM inside the Vatican Museums.
  • Due to heightened security measures, you may experience delays in clearing security checks when entering the venue.
  • Large purses, bags, and backpacks are not allowed inside the Vatican Museums.
  • It is the responsibility of all visitors to be at the meeting point 10 minutes before departure. Guests arriving after departure cannot be accommodated & missed tours or tickets cannot be refunded.
  • This tour involves a fair amount of walking and stairs; comfortable shoes are recommended.
  • This activity is not wheelchair accessible. We are also unable to accommodate strollers or baby carriages on our group tours.
  • Entrance into the Vatican Museums requires a strict dress code. Knees and shoulders MUST be covered for both men and women.
  • Photography is permitted in certain sections of the Vatican Museums. Your guide will inform you of restricted areas.
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 20 travelers
Diane H
5 | 2019-09-30

Everything they say it is! Fantastic opportunity to enjoy the Museum and especially the Sistine Chapel with only 20 people throughout!

Gary T
5 | 2019-09-26

This was a once in a life time experience to be the only one in the museum. W open the door, turned the lights on and got a exclusive explanation of the art and artifacts. Imagine for a second what its like to have a full camera of photos and videos with no people in them. Imagine getting to tour the art and monuments without the velvet ropes. We did! It was priceless!

5 | 2019-09-13

A unique, individualized experience. Everything was magnificent. It would have been nice to have had a program to follow to help absorb all the information

5 | 2019-08-22

Becky, our guide, was amazing. She made sure to give everyone a chance to open doors and windows. The key keepers were very enthusiastic and helped the smaller kids feel engaged. Becky shared some great nuggets of history that I had not heard before. Definitely take the tour - you will have no regrets!

5 | 2019-08-15

In the last month, I have seen Holyrood House (Edinburgh, Scotland), Scottish Crown Jewels (Edinburgh Castle), the British Crown Jewels (Tower of London), Leonardo Da Vinci's drawings (Queen's Gallery, London), Buckingham Palace (London), Versailles Palace (France), the Mona Lisa (Louvre, Paris), the Venus de Milo and Winged Victory (Louvre, Paris), The Venus of Willendorf (Natural History Museum, Vienna), Klimt's The Kiss (Belvedere Palace, Vienna), Michaelangelo's David (Accademia, Florence), Botticelli's the Birth of Venice (Uffizi, Florence), and Carravagio's Medusa (Uffizi, Florence) among many other stunning and historical places and pieces of art, but none of these compare to the experience that my wife and I had Waking Up the Vatican. As the sun rises over Vatican City, you will literally be unlocking a treasure chest of the World's History from Ancient Rome to Modern Times. We held the 2,700+ keys in our hands and walked from door to door and window to window opening the chambers and hallways and galleries containing the Vatican's most precious artwork, alongside the chief key keeper (Gianni) and our incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide (Tiffany). We entered rooms where the public does not go and walked into the Sistine Chapel ALONE! In my entire journey thus far (and life), I have never had the experience of peace and silence and meditation that I had on this "tour"...breath-taking and unmatched. I will remember this forever. And so will you!

Joanna W
5 | 2019-08-15

Amazing experience....completely unique including being able to capture this priceless experience with photos. Tour guide was fantastic. Will remember this always.

5 | 2019-07-29

I rated this tour as 5 stars. That is simply not enough to describe the sheer magnificence of this tour. If I could have rated it as 10 stars, I would have done. I treated my wife to this tour (as a complete surprise for her) to celebrate our 30th (Pearl) wedding anniversary. She was completely blown away by the whole experience, and she was even given the keys to, and got to unlock and open the doors to the Sistine Chapel itself. Words cannot describe just how superb this tour is. Without doubt, the best one in the whole of Rome. Yes it's expensive, but as with everything in life...you get what you pay for. With the exception of your tiny group, there is literally NOBODY else there. You have got the whole of the Vatican to yourself. No lines, no queues, no interrupted views, no smelly sweaty bodies, no screaming kids....nothing! It's truly magical. You get to see things that are out of bounds and off-limits to the general public, and you can even take as many photos and videos as you like inside the Sistine Chapel...something that is strictly forbidden at any other time of the day. To see all of these world famous works of art suddenly appear in front of your eyes as you go from room to room unlocking the doors and turning on the lights as you go, just defies belief, and is just beyond description. And to top it off, you even get a buffet breakfast at the end of the tour! After that, you are free spend the rest of the day at leisure, and return to anywhere in the Vatican that you want to...(however, by now, time has moved on and the general public are now being admitted). Here is a super tip for you...go back into the Sistine Chapel, and exit it through the door at the end that says "Exit for organised tours only" (don't worry, just mingle in, nobody will question you). This leads you directly into St Peters Square and the Basilica. You can immediately get straight into the Basilica itself, again avoiding any queues whatsoever! LOVE this tour, and we will definitely be doing it again the next time we return to Rome.

Erika H
5 | 2019-07-03

I wish I could give this review 100 stars! This tour is incredible. It may be early and it may be pricey, but it is worth every penny and every minute of missed sleep!!! The personal, private viewing that you receive on this tour cannot be matched! We saw, touched, and took photos of things others are not allowed to do!!!! The visit to the Sistine Chapel alone with this small of a group was worth it. Later in the day we went back through the chapel to enter St Peter's and the amount of people in there took my breath away! Our view was so overwhelming, I was literally brought to tears being able to view Michaelangelo's masterpiece in silence, reverence and with the ability to photograph which other visitors are not able to do!!! Please if you don't do anything else in Rome, do this tour! I could talk about it for days. The finale - breakfast in the courtyard was also very nice as well.

Joseph F
5 | 2019-07-03

This tour was overall an excellent and one of a kind experience. Our tour guide Lindi was extremely knowledgeable and enhanced the experience exponentially. Would highly recommend if you want an unparalleled way to see the Vatican.

Jennifer B
5 | 2019-07-03

This tour was amazing! Yes, it is pricey and yes it is early, but both are totally worth it. Exploring the museum with just the small group, in a quiet, uncrowded setting allowed us to take it all in without distractions. Lindy, our tour guide, was amazing! She was very knowledgeable, easy to understand, and was very engaging.

5 | 2019-07-03

First of all, our guide Tiffany was fantastic. She has been one of the guides for awhile and the information and insights she provides regarding the artwork and treasures are great. Her rapport with the Vatican staff adds to the special feeling you get with this tour. Your time in the Sistine Chapel is something you can't get any other way. Only 20 people and you are allowed to take pictures. Visiting the Vatican museums as doors are unlocked and lights are turned on is incredible. After the breakfast at the end of the tour, we went back into the museums and the Sistine Chapel to make our way to St. Peter's. The "skip the line" tours (crowds) were now inside and it reaffirmed how lucky we were to have taken this tour.

Renee L
5 | 2019-07-03

This was one of the highlights of my trip! To see the Sistine chapel with only 18 people was phenomenal. Liny was excellent! She made the history of all we saw come alive and made the experience more meaningful! Don't miss this tour!

Brian E
5 | 2019-07-03

Our entire family loved this tour...just amazing! My youngest son, 8, got to unlock the door to the Sistine Chapel and turn on the lgihts for the day!!! Our guide was excellent as well. Highly recommend this tour!

Bryan R
5 | 2019-04-29

I cannot express the inherent value in this tour. Given the amount of people they cram into the Vatican Museums (yes, even for the "Skip the Line" offerings), this is worth every penny. Becky was a fantastic guide who balanced the need to keep the group moving (after all, the keymasters need to do their jobs!) while also explaining the necessary details and nuances of what we were seeing as we opened the museum for the day.

5 | 2018-12-13

Wonderful..wonderful .Able to take pictures in Sistine chapel! So beautiful! Guided thru museums also. Great breakfast at the end and short cut to St Peter's Basilica. Opening doors with clavegero ...exciting!!!Very intimate and informational. Tiffany...OUR GUIDE...very professional and spoke perfect English very eloquently. SHE made the tour fun too!! Very best way to see this and money well spent. Last time I saw with throngs of people..ugh!

Finola T
5 | 2018-12-04

This was an incredible experience and we definitely do not regret the cost, totally worth it. Opening the doors, turning on the lights, no crowds to battle thru or to obscure any view, an amazing tour guide Tiffany - all in all just fantastic. Tiffany was interesting, knowledgeable and extremely nice, she also gave restaurant tips which turned out to be spot on. Do the tour, you will not regret it.

James W
5 | 2018-11-19

Excellent, unforgettable experience. It was worth every cent. The Sistine Chapel was amazing. Words cannot describe the experience. It sent chills upMy spine when the lights were turned on. Amazing.

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