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Private Early Bird Vatican and St Peter's Basilica Tour: Hotel Pick-up Drop-off

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Rome, Italy
Private Early Bird Vatican and St Peter's Basilica Tour: Hotel Pick-up Drop-off

From $288.32

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Free Cancellation
up to 24 hours in advance
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Safety measures
icon3 hours  (Approx.)
Hotel pickup offered
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English and 4 more


Visit the Vatican without the crowds on a private early-bird tour and enter the Vatican Museums before the complex opens to the general public. Enjoy an exclusive exploration of world-renowned art by Renaissance masters, visit the Sistine Chapel, and enter St. Peter’s Basilica directly from the museums, without waiting in the main line. Upgrade for a prime version with even earlier priority access, including the Raphael Rooms.
  • See the Vatican Museums with a private guide before they open to the public
  • Gain skip-the-line access to St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Visit the Sistine Chapel and see works by Raphael, Da Vinci, and Michelangelo
  • Upgrade for even earlier fast-track entry including admission to the Raphael Rooms
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Meet and greet service at your hotel/accommodation
Professional Licensed Blue Badge Tour Guide
Hotel pickup with Sanitized Vehicle (centrally located hotels. Within Aurelian Walls)
Priority Access (before the regular Early Morning Crowd - if Prime Option 7:20AM selected)
Sistine Chapel
Hotel Drop Off Service (if Prime Option 7:20AM selected)
Food and drinks

Departure Point

Traveler pickup is offered
Centrally located hotels in Rome (within Aurelian Walls)
PRIME Version at 7:20AM (not available till 2022)
SUMMER 2021 - Version at 7:00AM

As one of the most-visited museums in the world, the Vatican Museums are understandably crowded, so avoid the masses on a private morning tour before the general public arrives. After pickup at your hotel, explore the Vatican Museums with your private guide, who tells you about the history of the artwork and can customize the tour to your interests.

If you wish, upgrade from standard early-morning admission to a “prime tour” option and be treated like a VIP. Arrive earlier to enjoy priority entry without any lines or crowds, and gain access to the Raphael Rooms to admire Raphael's most famous frescoes.

With either tour option, hear about the legends and mysteries behind some of the pieces on display, and learn about the Renaissance masters who created the artwork. You can decide if you want to see the iconic Sistine Chapel first or last—either way, it’s the highlight of any visit with its famous frescoes by Michelangelo. Other treasures inside the museum complex include sculptures, carvings and paintings; your guide makes sure you see the most important masterpieces and interesting rooms and galleries.

Visit the Belvedere Courtyard, Gallery of Tapestries, and Gallery of Maps, and then gain fast-track entry into St. Peter’s Basilica to see more artwork, like Bernini’s baldacchino altar. Your tour ends here or back at your accommodation.
Stop At:  
Vatican Museums
With our Prime Tour, we get you inside the Museums before the regular Early Morning crowds, bypassing those already waiting in line for the Vatican doors to open - You'll really feel like the Popes Special Guest as you stroll right past everyone who has a Standard Early Morning Vatican Tour. Watch the Vatican Museum Galleries slowly come to life before their day starts.
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Pass By:  
Cortile della Pigna
The Courtyard of the “Pigna”, created from the 16th century area of the “Belvedere”
Pass By:  
Stanze di Raffaello
The Raphael Rooms, where you will admire Raphael's most famous frescoes and learn about his rivalry with Michelangelo.
Stop At:  
St. Peter's Basilica
Enjoy the breathtaking Saint Peter's Basilica, shrine of Christianity and Art. You will marvel at the Priceless Pietà, by Michelangelo, and stop by the venerable tomb of Saint John Paul II & Pope Karol Wojtyla. The Pietà (1498–1499) is a work of Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City.
Duration: 45 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Pass By:  
La Pieta
The Pietà is a work of Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City. It is the first of a number of works of the same theme by the artist. The statue was commissioned for the French Cardinal Jean de Bilhères, who was a representative in Rome. The sculpture, in Carrara marble, was made for the cardinal's funeral monument, but was moved to its current location, the first chapel on the right as one enters the basilica, in the 18th century. It is the only piece Michelangelo ever signed.
Stop At:  
Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV della Rovere (pontiff from 1471 to 1484) who had the old Cappella Magna restored between 1477 and 1480. It is known throughout the world both for being the place where the conclave and other official ceremonies of the Pope are held (in the past also some papal coronations), and for being decorated with one of the most famous and celebrated works of art of artistic civilization the frescoes by Michelangelo.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
St. Peter's Square
This monumental elliptical space, enclosed by 284 Doric columns four rows deep (196m wide and 148m long), is the masterpiece of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who laid it out during the pontificates of Alexander VII and of Clement IX.
Duration: 15 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • A dress code is required to enter places of worship and selected museums. No shorts or sleeveless tops allowed. Knees and shoulders MUST be covered for both men and women. You may risk refused entry if you fail to comply with these dress requirements
  • A moderate amount of walking is involved - comfortable shoes are recommended
  • Wheelchair partly accessible: the tour is only available if the person in the wheelchair can do 6 flights of stairs without the wheelchair.
  • Please advise if anyone in your group has mobility issues
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This is a private tour/activity. Only your group will participate
  • OPERATED BY Eyes of Rome

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during Private Early Bird Vatican and St Peter's Basilica Tour: Hotel Pick-up Drop-off?
The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
  • Temperature checks for travelers upon arrival
See all safety measures taken by Private Early Bird Vatican and St Peter's Basilica Tour: Hotel Pick-up Drop-off.
What is the policy on sanitization during Private Early Bird Vatican and St Peter's Basilica Tour: Hotel Pick-up Drop-off?
The policies on sanitization are:

  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
See all safety measures taken by Private Early Bird Vatican and St Peter's Basilica Tour: Hotel Pick-up Drop-off.
What is the social distancing policy during Private Early Bird Vatican and St Peter's Basilica Tour: Hotel Pick-up Drop-off?
The policy on social distancing is:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
See all safety measures taken by Private Early Bird Vatican and St Peter's Basilica Tour: Hotel Pick-up Drop-off.

Traveler Photos

Traveler Tips

  • "Definitely worth the early bird timing as the Vatican can get packed as the day goes on." See review
  • "It makes so much sense to get to The Vatican early even if it opens at 8am because the crowd build up is unbelievable, We were first in line at 715am." See review
  • "Note: the ~4 hour tour time includes travel to and from the Vatican plus waiting time for early entry (a great advantage since the crowds grow quickly when general admission opens)." See review


325 Reviews
2 stars

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 325 reviews
Fabulous, once-in-a-lifetime experience
, Jul 2021
Fabulous tour with Elisa who was extremely knowledgeable and dynamic. Don’t miss! We got to enjoy a practically empty St Peter’s basilica. Detailed dive into Vatican Rooms and Sistine chapel.
We had an outstanding guide, PhD Fulbright from CA living and studying here for years.
, Jul 2021
Vatican without crowds was beyond imagination Our guide brought it all to life in the period it was created.
Definitely worth it!
, Jul 2021
I highly recommend this tour! Maximo, a cheerful fellow, picked us up right on time from our hotel. We met Sylvia, our guide. She was knowledgeable, engaging, and possessed excellent English. Being in Saint Peter’s before the crowds was exceptional. Sylvia brought the art in the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel to life that felt more than a rehearsed deluge of information. We chose this expense, given that these sites and art really are the crown jewel of Rome. We were happy with the personal and deeply rich experience.
Private Sistine Chapel, St Peters Tour
, Jun 2021
Raphael Rooms were exceptional and well worth the time. Tour guide was so knowledgeable with explanations of traditional beliefs combined with historical events. Lisa was an outstanding tour guide in every respect!!
icon Response from Host , Jun 2021
Ciao Donald, thanks for your super review and thanks for sharing your Vatican experience! We are happy to know you had a great time with our lovely guide Elisa. She is amazing :) We hope to welcome you soon and show you other Rome's great wonders!
HelpfulHelpful1 traveler found this review helpful
Not to be missed !
, Feb 2020
Absolutely fantastic. No disappointment! The pick up from the hotel made the earlier start much easier. And as promissed there was no queue. Maria was excellent ! Extremely knowledgeable and passionate. The three hours and a half went very quickly .
HelpfulHelpful1 traveler found this review helpful
Still in Awe
, Feb 2020
Marco was a fantastic and knowledgeable guide. We arrived before opening and were pleasantly surprised by the lack of people. They were still mopping! Everything was breathtaking, as expected. Upon exiting and seeing the queue waiting to get in...we were thrilled! Definitely worth every penny.
HelpfulHelpful1 traveler found this review helpful
Private tour
, Jan 2020
This tour was very expensive and felt a little rushed through the Vatican museums. We did only have three hours but there was so much to see there is no way it would be enough time. That said the guide was amazing and knew her history and art. She provided great detail and we could not be happier with her knowledge. Being there before the crowd was wonderful and highly recommended.
Aries K
, Jan 2020
We were so happy we booked this tour! Our tour guide was excellent! I am bad with names, I think it was Alicia. We did not have to wait in the lines, which is wonderful when you only have a day to tour. Our guide was so knowledgeable, we went away very impressed. She also went out of her way to help us get to our next tour. Well worth the money.
HelpfulHelpful1 traveler found this review helpful
Early Bird Vatican
Connie M
, Jan 2020
Fabulous experience. Worth the money. Hotel pick up/ drop off very convenient. Guide was very knowledgeable and made the experience more memorable.
HelpfulHelpful1 traveler found this review helpful
Fabulous Azzura/Vatican
Gerard P
, Dec 2019
Our guide Azzura was very knowledgeable and inserted history at appropriate moments. She was able to answer all our questions. Never felt rushed. Spent a lot of time in the rooms of Raffaello and. The Sistine Chapel. We have had many tours before, but this was superb. Very expensive but worth every penny. Next time in Rome, which is at least annually, we will seek out Azzura, and do the tour again. In fact, any tour that she does. Each tour guide by Viator has been exceptional. Excellent organization. Bravo!

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