The Absolute 10 Best Vatican Private Tours to Book in Rome

Hands down, the Vatican is one of the most crowded places to visit in Rome. More so in the high season, but truly all year long. So how do you visit and enjoy the Sistine Chapel in silence and at your own pace? With one of the best Vatican private tours.

There are a few companies running semi-private and private tours to the Vatican in Rome and my favorite are LivTours, Walks, and Context Travel because they are reliable and their guides are local, expert, and knowledgeable.

The best private tours to the Vatican ensure fast-track entrance and an experience that is as seamless as possible. There are different types of private Vatican tours. Some are early morning, some are after hours or at closing time, others are private with only your group but during the day, and some guarantee exclusive experience and being alone in the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.

Obviously, the price will also change depending on the exclusivity of your tour, the time of entry, and whether you will access areas usually closed to the general public.

Image: Raphael Rooms in the Vatican Museums.

“Alone in the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums” one of the best Vatican private tours

We took this exclusive tour last March and it was truly a one-of-a-kind experience. We met at the entrance of the Vatican Museums at 6.30 am with our guide and entered before anyone else and any other tour, even the VIP ones that enter before opening hours.

This is because this tour ensures its guests to be alone in the Sistine Chapel, so before any other company takes theirs. For the whole duration of the tour, it will be you, your guide and the guards of the Vatican Museums.

The Sistine Chapel will be one of the last landmarks of the tour after visiting famous monuments like Raphael’s Rooms and the Gallery of the Maps. Being able to enjoy the Vatican Museums without the crowds and actually hear what your guide is telling you makes this private Vatican tour worth it.

The experience ends in the Vatican cafè where you will enjoy breakfast with the backdrop of the Pinecone Courtyard.

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Click here to book the private tour

Check out our video about this tour!

“VIP Key Master’s Tour: Open the Sistine Chapel” semi-private tour with Walks

This is actually a semi-private tour of the Vatican Museums because due to its very exclusive nature, it would have to be much more expensive to run it privately. The maximum of the participants is set to 20 max but it will only be your tour and your guide before anyone else, any other tour and any crowd.

In fact, starting at 6 am, this tour is the earliest tour of the Vatican Museums at the moment and it starts even before the actual opening. This means that you will open the Sistine Chapel with the Key Master (clavigero in Italian), making it one of the best private Vatican tours early morning.

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Image: Ercole statue in the Vatican Museums.

“Deluxe Private Vatican Tour with Secret Rooms” with LivTours

This is a great private Vatican tour if you are looking for a comprehensive overview of one of the greatest and largest museums in the world that highlights its most significant collections such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, plus other stunning artworks and collections.

Part of the experience is access to two hidden rooms usually closed to the general public. Seeing these rooms – the Niccoline Chapel, and Bramante Staircase – praised by scholars for centuries, firsthand is a truly unforgettable experience. On the way to the two secret rooms, you will get the chance to see the Hall of Busts and the Hall of Animals.

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“Interactive Private Early Morning Vatican Family Tour” with LivTours

The tour is designed with fun activities and quizzes created for the whole family to keep your kids engaged and entertained while learning everything about the highlights of the Vatican Museums.

Throughout the tour, you will have the chance to stare at Michelangelo’s frescoes on the Ceiling and the Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel together with only a few people, making the experience even more enjoyable. Your guide will unveil fascinating anecdotes and hidden messages painted by Michelangelo.

You will also see the famous Raphael Rooms and stroll through the beautiful galleries lined with dazzling treasures such as the Gallery of the Maps with its accurate paintings of maps of Italy, always a favorite with children (and adults!) and the magical Tapestries with moving eyes.

From the Vatican Museums, you will take the special exit that leads you down an old marble staircase directly to Saint Peter’s Basilica where you will see Bernini’s bronze canopy and Michelangelo’s La Pietà sculpture among the other masterpieces.

At the end of the tour, your guide will check on the quizzes and answers and award prizes to the kids!

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Image: Raphael Rooms in the Vatican Museums always included in the best private Vatican tours.

“Private Family Experience: Vatican Tour for Kids” with LivTours

This is also a private family tour of the Vatican run by LivTours including plenty of interactive activities for kids but with a few differences. In this tour, in fact, you will also visit the Egyptian gallery inside the Vatican Museums that kids usually love.

Moreover, you will have the option to add a VIP visit to a secret room (which will vary depending on the time you book the tour) and a mosaic-making workshop in a lab in central Rome where your guide will take you after the tour.

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Image: Perseus Triumphant by Canova to see in one of the private Vatican tours.

“St. Peter’s Basilica Tour” with Context Travel

The wonderful Renaissance Basilica of Saint Peter is a church but also a museum given the huge amount of artwork. The tours of Context Travel are always led by scholars and your guide in this private tour of the Vatican Basilica will either be a theologian, an architect, or an art historian.

Your tour will start in Via della Conciliazione, the majestic entrance to the Vatican built by Mussolini in the 1930s and will proceed across St. Peter’s Square. This way, you can understand the effect Bernini wanted to create when entering the Vatican Basilica, even though back then, there was the quarter known as Spina di Borgo where is now Via della Conciliazione.

Once inside, you will explore the masterpieces of the Basilica as well as learn about the tales and facts behind them and the history that brought about this magnificent church. You will also visit the Vatican Grottoes where are the tombs of the popes and the Treasure Museum.

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“Vatican Tour for Kids with the Sistine Chapel and Skip-the-Line Tickets” with Context Travel

Context Travel, too, runs a private Vatican tour specifically designed to keep kids entertained and interested for the whole duration of the experience. A local scholar or art historian leads the tour and they will reveal the most fascinating anecdotes behind the creation of the masterpieces you will see, the history of the galleries, and the lives of the popes and the artists who worked there.

Like explorers, kids will experience this tour like a real adventure and adults will have a great chance to join them and learn everything along the way.

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Image: Vatican Museums in Rome.

“Alone In The Vatican: Exclusive VIP Access Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Tour” with Walks

You can book this exclusive semi-private tour of the Vatican either early morning before the Museums open to the public or after they’ve closed. In one way or another, the galleries, the corridors, the Sistine Chapel, and the most famous landmarks will be empty.

This way, you will be able to enjoy your tour with a small group and your expert guide and have an in-depth experience of such great museums and collections.

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“Pristine Sistine at Closing Time: Late Entry Vatican Tour” with Walks

This is one of the best private Vatican tours after hours because it starts near closing time. The tour takes place in the last three hours of the day so if the Vatican Museums close at 7 pm, the tour will start at 4 pm.

This will leave you with much fewer crowds inside the Sistine Chapel and in general in all the galleries. Of course, in the high season, there will still be several visitors, even though fewer than during the day. In the low season, however, the late entry will ensure a very quiet visit.

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Image: Breakfast at the Vatican Café after the Alone in the Sistine Chapel & Vatican Museums Tour.

“Private Vatican Breakfast Tour | VIP Experience” with LivTours

This great private Vatican tour operated by LivTours kicks off with a scrumptious breakfast surrounded by art and history in the amazing backdrop of the Pinecone Courtyard. Once you are filled with energy to start your day, the tour will carry on to see the famous landmarks of the Vatican Museums from the Belvedere Torso to the statue of Laocoön, and the famous galleries of the Candelabra, of Tapestries, and the much admired Gallery of Maps.

Needless to say, no tour of the Vatican Museums can be complete without a visit to the Sistine Chapel and Raphael’s Rooms. The whole experience, won’t end here but in St. Peter’s Basilica to admire yet more artwork and delve even deeper into the history of the Vatican City.

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About The Author: Angela Corrias

Hi, my name is Angela Corrias! I am an Italian journalist, photographer, and blogger living in Rome. After over ten years of living abroad, I finally came to the conclusion that in order to better organize my future adventures, I needed a base. Since I know and love Rome so much, I moved back to the Eternal City. This is how Rome Actually was born. Here, I cover everything about Rome, from the local food to the culture to Roman history.

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