Early Vatican, Express Sistine Chapel or Classic Tour? Have you already chosen your Vatican Tour?

Vatican Tour

So, you’ve chosen a to take a tour for visiting the Vatican. What next? To say that there as many ways to see the Vatican as there are rooms might be a slight exaggeration, with an estimated 1,4000 rooms in the Vatican Museums alone, but there are still plenty of options. When choosing your tour, you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it important to see the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica, or are you happy to skip one of the sites?
  • How much time do you have to spend at the Vatican?
  • Do you mind if the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel are crowded?

Whichever tour you choose, be accompanied by an expert guide: an art historian or an archaeologist would be the best option. However, there are some slight differences between the tours, so read on to find out which is best for you.

Early Vatican Tour: experience the Vatican without the crowds

An Early Vatican Tour includes the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms and St Peter’s Basilica. As the name suggests, the great advantage of this special Sistine Chapel Tour is that the tour begins at 7:30 and the entrance is at 8.00, before the Vatican Museums are open to the general public. You’ll enter the museums directly – no lines, no crowds. Attracting more than 4 million visitors every year, the Vatican Museums can be incredibly crowded at peak times, so the best way to enjoy masterpieces by Raphael and Michelangelo in peace is to get there early.

Early Vatican Express Sistine Chapel or Classic Tour 1 2
One of the galleries of the Vatican, with no crowds, on the way to the Sistine Chapel

Another advantage of the early start is that you’ll make the most of your day in Rome – you can experience an in-depth tour of the Vatican and be finished by mid-morning, leaving you free to explore the rest of Rome.

Recommended for: visitors who want an in-depth tour of all the main sites at the Vatican; anyone with an aversion to crowds

Express Sistine Chapel: make the most of your time

An Express Sistine Chapel Tour lasts about 2h. It includes the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica (but not the Vatican Musems). You’ll enter the Vatican Museums early in the morning, before they’re open to the general public, and then go straight to the Sistine Chapel, which tends to be very quiet at this time. Before the crowds and the large tour groups arrive, you can savour the tranquil atmosphere of the Sistine Chapel in the early morning, and spend more time admiring Michelangelo’s extroardinary frescoes, discovering the story of their creation from your personal guide. You’ll then visit St Peter’s Basilica, one of the most important and awe-inspiring churches in the world. As the tour is only 2 hours, it’s easy to fit into a busy schedule.

The Express tour can be combined with tours of other attractions in Rome such as the Colosseum. This is an additional advantage of booking with Roads to Rome Private Tours; most other tour companies don’t offer customized tours or “mix and match” options.

Recommended for: visitors with a particular interest in the Sistine Chapel; visitors with limited time to spend in Rome

Classic tour: the highlights of the Vatican

A classic Vatican tour includes the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica. This is a traditional, in-depth Vatican tour covering all the highlights, from the masterpieces of antiquity in the Vatican Museums to the extraordinary ceiling of the Sistine Chapel – one of the artistic wonders of the world. Booking a private tour, you’ll enjoy skip the line access to all sites and be accompanied by an expert guide, learning all about the treasures of the Vatican and gaining a deeper understanding of the connections between art and religion.

 Recommended for: first-time visitors to Rome who want an in-depth introduction to the Vatican; visitors with a particular interest in the art of the Vatican Museums


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