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This tour takes you to one of the busiest tour locations in the world, and it allows you to follow a Vatican clavigero (key keeper) inside the iconic landmark an hour or more before other early access tours.

Along with 20 people (or fewer), your guide leads you through the main areas of the Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel, Raphael's Rooms, and the Gallery of Maps. Be one of the first that day to enter each room right as the clavigero finds the right key and switches on the lights.

Because of the size of your group and the early start time, you can enjoy a quiet walk through religious areas for more spiritual experience. Plus, this is the only Vatican Museums tour where a guide goes inside the Sistine Chapel to provide commentary up close to Michelangelo’s artwork to your group. It's an experience that has never before been offered to the public, and you will only find it through TripAdvisor.

Afterward, head to the Pinecone Courtyard for breakfast, where you will see all the early access groups starting their tours for the day. Once you wrap up your meal, you’ll be able to stay in the museums as long as you like.
Locations visited
Vatican Museums
Sistine Chapel
Stanze di Raffaello
See all 6 locations
This first-of-its-kind experience gets you inside the Vatican Museums a full hour before all other early access and VIP tours. A guide and your small group are the only ones there to follow the clavigero (key keeper) as he unlocks doors and flips on lights to the galleries that attract some 25,000 people a day. Walk the empty halls, passing staff members as they prepare for the day, and be the first to see Raphael’s Rooms and the Gallery of Maps, among other rooms. Another distinct difference from other Vatican tours: Your guide provides commentary inside the Sistine Chapel—a rare perk as talking is usually prohibited. End with breakfast in the Pinecone Courtyard as other visitors are just starting to arrive.
  • Waking up the Vatican tour only offered on TripAdvisor 
  • Enter the Vatican an hour before anyone else, including standard early access groups
  • Clavigero opens the doors of the Vatican and its galleries to you from a set of 3,000 keys
  • Guide permitted to speak inside the Sistine Chapel, which is usually forbidden
  • Unlimited time in the Vatican after breakfast
  • One-of-a-kind experience limited to 20 participants
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All reviewsonce in a lifetimekey holderopened the dooran unforgettable experiencesistine chapelkeepergalleriesfrancescamichelangeloartlines
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1 - 5 of 27 reviews
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile
Once in a lifetime experience

My sixteen year old daughter and I were able to do the Waking Up the Vatican: VIP small group tour. I was really hesitant to spend the high cost for this tour, but after reading other reviews and realizing how much this experience is actually...More

2  Thank Erika B
Reviewed 1 week ago
Vatican Tour

We were on a Private Tour of the Vatican! We did more and saw more. This was my fourth time. I was there in February 1982, then twice more before this. It never ceases to amaze me. A must see if you are in Rome....More

Thank clkpink
Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Loved it!!

This was an excellent way to start our 4 day stay in Rome. I was hesitant to spend the money, but it truly was well worth it. Tiffany was our guide for the tour and she was very knowledgeable and had a warm and welcoming...More

3  Thank Sherry H
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile
The Most Exciting Experience I Ever Haf

Wow is all I can say!!! City Wonders online description of this tour is absolutely right on - what they said would happen is exactly what happened- strong kudos to them. At exactly 5:50am, Francesca, our tour guide showed up exactly where City Wonders said...More

1  Thank 855ednaa
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile
If you can afford it. Book it now.

Yes, it’s a lot of money but getting to spend quality time in these rooms without crowds of people or any lines is an incredible experience. I’m sure they have different guides but if you’re lucky enough to have Tiffany you will also leave a...More

4  Thank Kiwiguru
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