Vatican Group Tours

Special Wednesday Morning Vatican Tour with Sistine Chapel

Our Wednesday morning early entrance Vatican tour takes you to the Sistine Chapel at its quietest


€ 89



all inclusive price


€ 89


Max 15


4 hours


Wednesday is no ordinary day in the Vatican, as the Pope is giving his traditional public audience. While the large crowds rush to St Peter’s Square to attend the event, we take the chance to visit the Vatican museums during the moment of the week when it’s least crowded.

Our day starts early, thanks to our special access tickets which give us the possibility to enter the museums one full hour before they open to the general public. Embark with us on this journey to discover the fascinating history of Christianity: with our small and intimate groups limited to a maximum of 15 people, you will literally walk in the footsteps of the Popes.

Our 4-hour in depth tour starts with the Vatican Museums: at this time of the day on a Wednesday, the Museums are far quieter - and just waiting to be discovered by the lucky early visitors. Take this unique opportunity to explore hundreds of years of Papal history and intrigue through these amazing museums. Your expert guide will walk you through galleries filled with ancient statues of gods, goddesses and emperors, paintings and tapestries, bringing to life the history behind them for you.

In the famous Raphael Rooms, we'll marvel at the incredible frescoes that Raphael painted 500 years ago to decorate Pope Julius’ apartment and learn about the life and times of the protagonists of the Renaissance.

You will then enter the Sistine Chapel, at the perfect time to avoid the large crowds: here you will have plenty of time to marvel at Michaelangelo’s unrivaled genius and breathe in the beauty of the world’s most famous ceiling.

Our tour doesn’t go to St. Peter’s Basilica as it is not open on Wednesday morning; instead we'll take this opportunity to extend our visit to the Pinacoteca, where you'll enjoy the beauty of the work of incredible artists such as Raphael, Leonardo and Caravaggio.

The Vatican Museums at the golden hour: five kilometers of divine beauty

While the city is still asleep, that’s the moment when the Vatican Museums are really at their best: we carefully calculated the times for this tour so that you get to visit each section of the Vatican when it’s least crowded.

With 5 kilometers of galleries, 40.000 square meters of surface and more than 100.000 pieces on display, the Vatican Museums are the 5th largest in the whole world: even more surprising if you think that the Vatican is the world’s smallest country.

Our tour will start with the amazing archaeological collection of the Pio Clementino Museum, where you will be amazed by the perfect beauty of hundreds of 2,000 year old statues, decorating hallways and courtyard and, paved with stunning, colourful marble. You will also learn about the artists of the Renaissance who used to come to the Museums to study art and discover how ancient statues such as the Belvedere Torso or the Apollo inspired Michelangelo for his paintings in the Sistine Chapel.

You will be impressed by the Tapestry Collection, showcasing many incredible 500 year old tapestries, meticulously embroidered with silver and gold threads. The craftsman were so capable, despite the limited technology of the time, that they were able to give the illusion of 3D and even movement.

Then, as you make your way through the famous Gallery of the Geographical Maps, which owes its name to the beautiful fresco paintings representing the regions of Italy, it will feel just like walking through an enormous map from the 1500s.

The Rooms of Raphael: visit the apartment of Pope Julius II

There are only a few places in the world where you can really breathe in the atmosphere of the Renaissance: and for certain, nowhere like the apartment of Pope Julius II. Despite his relatively short pontificate (1503-1513), Pope Julius II is one of the absolute protagonists of the Renaissance. We actually owe to his personal initiative, most of the things that made the Vatican so famous all over the world: he is in fact the Pope who first hired the Swiss Guards, the one who commissioned the construction of the present day St. Peter’s Basilica and who founded the Vatican Museums themselves and hired Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Nicknamed “papa terribile” for his fierce temperament, Pope Julius II had an incredible taste for art and his apartment is simply magnificent. Rightly considered a jewel of the Renaissance, the rooms were painted by none other than Raphael, with the help of his apprentices.

Recently restored, the colors are amazingly fresh and vibrant as if they had been painted yesterday, despite being 500 years old.

In the most famous painting, the School of Athens, you will see the artists of the time of the Pope such as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi and many others, playing the role of the most famous philosophers from the ancient Greece. Will you be able to spot Raphael’s hidden portrait?

The Sistine Chapel: discover Michelangelo’s masterpiece before general opening

Wednesday morning is probably the best time to visit the Sistine Chapel: as one of the world’s most famous and iconic monuments, the Chapel is visited every day by thousands of eager travelers from all over the world. But on Wednesday morning, the Chapel is quieter as we enter before the general opening, as only accredited tour companies can do. After your guide’s engaging explanation, you will come to fuller understanding Michelangelo’s artistic genius. See the Book of Genesis and the Last Judgement through Michelangelo’s eyes and learn about his peculiar spirituality and the controversies triggered by his unconventional style. Be inspired by the fascinating story of how the world’s most famous artist overcame his initial lack of experience and his pessimism, and he was finally able to create this unparalleled masterpiece.

Wednesday Special: the Pinacoteca. Meet Raphael, Caravaggio and Leonardo.

Only on Wednesday, our Early Morning Vatican tour includes an amazing section of the Vatican Museums: the Pinacoteca. Inaugurated by Pope Pius XI in 1932, the Pinacoteca is really a treat for art lovers as it houses roughly 500 incredible paintings. Your expert historian will take you on a journey through centuries of art: this wing of the Museums is really special as the paintings on display are meticulously organized in chronological order, from the most ancient to the most recent. As you walk through these rooms filled with beautiful religious art, you will witness step by step the evolution of the art: discover the simple yet precious medieval altar pieces, painted on gold leaf. Learn about the invention of perspective in Giotto’s paintings and be spellbound by the power of the colours in Raphael’s paintings: meet Leonardo and his anatomical studies and marvel at Caravaggio’s figures emerging from the darkness thanks to his dramatic use of chiaroscuro.

Discover all of this and so much more on our Wednesday Special Early Vatican tour.

  • Exclusive access to the Vatican Museums before it opens to the general public.
  • Maximum group size of 13 people.
  • Ticket and reservation fees with preferential access so you don't wait in line.
  • Expert, fluent English-speaking guides who know and love the collections and masterpieces of the Vatican.
  • Headsets for groups of six or more people, so you can always hear your guide.

Classic sights included in our itinerary:

  • The Raphael Rooms
  • The Hall of Maps
  • The Ancient Sculpture Galleries, including the Laocoon and the Apollo Belvedere
  • The Belvedere Courtyard and the Cortile della Pigna
  • The Pinacoteca Gallery
  • The Sistine Chapel

Near the entrance to the Vatican museums. You will receive full details, including a map and photograph of the meeting point, after completing your booking.

The Vatican Museums are vast and contain numerous steps and stairways. We recommend comfortable shoes and a bottle of water.


Our strengths

Our guides are fluent in English and have a contagious passion for Rome's inspiring cultural heritage. 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!

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