Best Sistine Chapel Early Morning Viewing | Wednesday’s Semi-Private Vatican Tour
Enjoy early morning entry to the Vatican Museums and among the first to enter the magnificent Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms on our early Wednesday morning semi-private tour with an expert guide and a small group of six people. Because the Papal Audience is held on Wednesday, there is no access to St. Peter’s Basilica from the Sistine Chapel – meaning there are far fewer crowds in the Museums than at any other time of the week. A perfect time to enjoy the hallowed halls and galleries of the Vatican!
- Enter the Vatican Museums in the early morning
- View Michelangelo’s glorious frescoes in the Sistine Chapel in private
- See the magnificent Raphael Rooms
- Enjoy an expertly guided tour of the Museum highlights
- See the Laocoon, Apollo Belvedere, and end at the Painting Gallery
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The best day to visit the Vatican Museums is a Wednesday morning. This is because the Pope holds his weekly Audience in St Peter’s Square – which means access to the Basilica from the Museums is blocked off. With early morning entry, you’ll be sure to enjoy some truly special moments in the Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms.
Early on a Wednesday morning enter the sacred halls and galleries of the Vatican Museums, filled with treasures from antiquity and the Italian Renaissance. With your expert guide, in a small group of just six people, you’ll enjoy a tour of the highlights of the Museums, which due to the Papal Audience and the closure of St Peter’s Basilica are much quieter on a Wednesday morning than at any other time of the week.
Your tour will explore the highlights of the Vatican’s extraordinary collection of antiquities, many of which inspired Michelangelo’s frescoes like the Apollo Belvedere, the Laocoon, and the Belvedere Torso. You will see the Round Room, inspired by the Pantheon that houses the Emperor Nero’s vast Porphyri bathtub then wander down the mesmerizing Gallery of the Candelabra lined with antiquities like Diana of Ephesus.
Next, admire the exquisite Gallery of the Tapestries – designed by Raphael and stitched by Flemish nuns, as well as the opulent Gallery of the Maps – remarkably accurate 16th-century frescoed maps of Italy, decorated with stuccoed angels, and dazzling gold leaf.
In the quiet of the early morning, you’ll now be able to see the magnificent Raphael Rooms – the private apartments of the Warrior Pope Julius II, which were painted at the same time as the Sistine Ceiling. Marvel at the School of Athens and the Disputa, as you hear about the lives and rivalries of Raphael and Michelangelo.
And then it’s time to enter the awe-inspiring Sistine Chapel, as one of the first visitors of the day! Stand in awe under the dazzling, breathtaking, utterly magnificent frescoes by Michelangelo. Admire the famous Creation of Adam. Hear how Michelangelo spent 4 years bent backward painting that vaulted ceiling whilst in his thirties. Then turn to see the hundreds of imposing, muscular figures on the Last Judgement, painted in his sixties. The Sistine frescoes are so vast, rich, and complex that your guide will expertly explain and decode Michelangelo’s many symbols and messages woven through his work.
Due to the Papal Audience, the Sistine exit that leads to St Peter’s will be closed. So your guide will end your tour with an exploration of the outstanding Pinacoteca, the painting gallery, that displays masterpieces by Raphael, Leonardo and Caravaggio.
For those who want to wait, you may wish to have lunch in the Vatican Museums restaurant, and visit the Basilica in the afternoon.
- Early morning tour of the Vatican Museums
- Semi-Private tour with an expert guide
- See the beautiful Sistine Chapel & Raphael Rooms
- Pinecone Courtyard & Octagonal Courtyard
- Galleries of the Candelabra, Tapestries & Maps
- Pinacoteca with Masterpieces
- On Wednesday morning St. Peter’s Basilica is closed, which means less crowds, but also that you will not be able to access the Basilica until after the tour ends.
- Places of worship have strict dress code requirements for entry. All participants are required to have shoulders and knees covered (no tank tops or short dresses) to enter.
- Vatican management maintains the right to delay the opening of the Sistine Chapel for religious reasons, in this case the guide will modify the itinerary and extend your visit of the museums to ensure you make the most of your time before access to the Sistine Chapel is permitted.
- There is no photography allowed in the Sistine chapel, and all other artwork can only be photographed without flash.
- Please be aware that the Sistine Chapel is a Holy Place and talking during your visit inside is strictly forbidden, therefore your guide will give you an explanation of the Sistine Chapel beforehand during your tour, in order to give you a comprehensive explanation before entering the chapel.
- Backpacks are not permitted in the Museum.
LivTours’ group size of max 6 participants is and always has been based on sustainable travel, and we are proud to be at the forefront of change and innovation in the industry. LivTours is committed to providing travelers with truly sustainable tours with the lowest possible environmental impact, all while supporting the local industries and people of each unique destination. To learn more about how you can actively support sustainable tourism and how LivTours is contributing, click here.
All LivTours Semi-Private Group Tours are limited to 6 guests per tour guide. Our commitment to maintaining our uniquely tiny group sizes can sometimes be a little tricky, mathematically speaking. For example, we want to ensure that traveling families and friends can tour together so on rare occasions we may add one or two guests in order to not split groups. On that same note, you may also find yourself on tour with less than six people! We thank you for your understanding and flexibility.
By selecting Choose Dates Later / Buy as Gift at booking, any tour can be purchased without fixed dates. This is the perfect option if you want to purchase your tour as a gift for a loved one, or if you are in the pre-planning phase of your vacation. After booking, you will receive a Travel Voucher Code and full instructions on how to schedule your tours when ready. Once your travel plans are confirmed, you can easily use the Travel Voucher Code on the LivTours website to formally schedule your tours. You can find out more here.