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Vatican Tours - Is the earliest one the "best"?

Hi
We will be in Rome in mid July. Seeing the Vatican with less people in the hot summer sounds like a plus. There are a few different options with this one starting at 7:15am https://www.walksofitaly.com/vatican-tours/pristine-sistine-chapel-tour/
Other companies have ones that start a bit later, 7:30 to 8:00. Might the earliest be a bit less croweded?

Anyone have experience with this or any of the early tours?

Thanks for the help.

Posted by
2602 posts

I did the Prime Experience tour at the end of April on a Friday and I can’t think of anything that worked better for me on any of my trips, ever. This was through the official Vatican museum website, and was around 64€. I arrived by 7:15 to check in and be assigned my group—maybe 20 people—and get my audio stuff, tour started at 7:30 and the guide was quite personable & informed. There were perhaps 5 other such groups, spread out nicely. We peacefully explored several galleries and had a good, quiet 20 minutes in the Sistine Chapel before heading back out to the included breakfast in the courtyard at 9 am. I sipped my latte and watched in horrified fascination as the courtyard filled with hordes of people…then I thought I might go back in and see some of the other galleries but that quickly felt like a salmon swimming upstream so I hit the gift shop and that was it—I could have persevered but honestly wanted to keep my visit to the museum as a happy and fulfilling experience. Any Vatican ticket you can get that avoids crowds is well worth it, in my experience.

Posted by
47 posts

Thanks. Early as possible is sounding better and better. I didn’t know that you could get early entrance from the Vatican itself. I’ll have a look at that.

Posted by
696 posts

Christa, where you able to go into StPeters from the tour?

Posted by
2602 posts

Diane—yes, I could have gone through the “secret”doorway from the Sistine Chapel area into St Peter’s, the guide specifically mentioned it, but I decided not to.

Posted by
342 posts

We did the Pristine Sistine tour with Walks of Italy about 10 years ago. It was a pain getting up so early but we had the Sistine Chapel almost to ourselves for the first 10 minutes or so and then it got progressively more crowded. It was worth the early start.

Posted by
47 posts

Thanks
I'll give the Pristine Sistine a try. We are staying close to the Vatican so that should help a bit with the time - and easier to get back "home" for a nap!

Posted by
6 posts

Like Christa I also did the Prime Experience tour offered by the Vatican. She nailed it on the description. I have photos of empty hallways. After breakfast I too went back inside and quickly wanted out of there b/c it was so crowded. I was there the Saturday before Easter Sunday. I'm not sure if that had an impact on not getting the option of the "secret doorway" into St. Peter's. So I did not see St. Peter's b/c I couldn't tolerate the line (again the day before Easter so I imagine the line was longer than normal). I am so NOT an early bird but this was absolutely worth getting up early for and avoiding the crowds. My tour guide was great and kinda pushy in a good way so she could get our group to every spot before the other groups got there. We got to sit down in the Sistine Chapel for a good amount of time too.

Posted by
1625 posts

100% do the Walks of Italy Pristine Sistine, we really enjoyed it and had the rest of the afternoon to see other things. In July you will have a lot of daylight and can really pack a lot in, as long as your feet survive.