So, the Vatican. The city itself is home to a radio station, a railway station, a post office with signature stamps, as well as the famed museums. No big deal, right? It’s one of the most renowned tourist sites on the planet, with up to 20,000 visitors a day during summer and a total of 5 million every year. Because of its popularity, it can be difficult to take in the legendary sights with the hectic atmosphere and endless crowds bustling throughout. But what if we told you that we have a rare way to see the Vatican Museums in serene silence?

Intrigued? Then just keep on reading…

The Vatican at sunrise

Waking Up with the Vatican

We’re going to let you in on our diligently curated Waking Up the Vatican Tour, a VIP experience before the museums open where you’ll see the Vatican City in ways that you never thought possible. Starting first thing in the morning, you’ll traverse the Vatican Museums alongside their clavigero (this means key keeper), who’ll open each door on the way to your destination using the official Vatican keys. You’ll even get the opportunity to open some of the doors yourself on the tour. The mere thought of figuring out which of the thousands of keys opens each door gives us chills, but don’t worry, the clavigero will be there to show you the way! As the tour happens at least 2.5 hours before the museums open, it’ll just be you, your guide, the key keeper and your small tour group. Being inside the Vatican Museums with 20 people or less is a sight to behold, and it presents an entirely different experience for everyone involved. We’d take spookily tranquil hallways over the chaotic hustle and bustle of the Vatican any day!

The Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums

What to Expect

So, a quick run-through of the tour itself: you’ll travel through the museums alongside your guide and the key keeper, who unlocks the doors and turns on the lights as you go. On your route will be the Gallery of Maps, Hall of Tapestries, Gallery of the Candelabra, and Raphael Rooms where you’ll get to see incredible sculptures, paintings, maps and other relics. The Sistine Chapel is also included, with its world-famous ceiling and The Last Judgement painted on the wall behind the altar. You’ll also get involved in some special traditions, such as unlocking some of the doors yourself, and witnessing the lights coming on in the Sistine Chapel. All the while, your expert tour guide will be sharing information about what you see around you. It’s a rare chance to witness Michelangelo’s masterpieces up-close in a quiet atmosphere and really take in the effort and talent that went into them.

To top it off, you’ll end the tour with an incredible breakfast spread in the Pinecone Courtyard. There’ll be something for everyone: pastries, eggs, cold meats, cheeses, and even pancakes if they take your fancy! Perfectly relaxed, you’ll also have additional time to explore the museums further or visit St. Peter’s Basilica.

Pinecone Courtyard in the Vatican City

Get the VIP Treatment

Because of our special Vatican partnership, the tour will leave you feeling like a real VIP. We don’t mean to brag, but an opportunity as amazing as this is guaranteed to take your breath away and blow your mind too!

If this tour has piqued your interest, you can book it exclusively on Viator here, as well as on TripAdvisor here. We also have a range of other tours that take advantage of our Vatican partnership available on our own site, too!