Rome Italy: Pristine Sistine Chapel/Vatican City Tour with Walks
My friend’s alarm clock pierced the cold morning silence at 5:15a. My goodness, it’s a Saturday, what are we doing up at this hour anyways?
Well, there’s a good reason: to get to the Vatican before a throng of visitors get there, this is what it takes. I’m visiting a friend of mine who is here for work and we are guests of the Walks of Italy VIP Vatican Tour and this would be country/geographical territory number 114 for me. So of course I’m getting up for this tour:
PRISTINE SISTINE – THE CHAPEL AT ITS BEST
Enter the Vatican 1 hour before it opens to the general public and beat the crowds. On this comprehensive tour, you will see the best of the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica – with privileged entrances to both the Museums and St. Peter’s!
Tour duration: 3 hrs 45 mins
Within an hour of grogginess, we got ready and headed out. It was fun walking at that hour and seeing the city still asleep. Also seeing two guys waiting for the bus, one drunk and the other making fun of his drunk friend by taking selfies with him.
Google Maps said the rendezvous point, a Taverna just outside the walls of Vatican City, is 30 minutes away if we walked, so we did. We had opted to stay in the city at a friend’s place in order to make the morning travel a little more bearable. I highly recommend you stay within walking proximity otherwise a taxi or Uber ride will do.
I also highly recommend my friend Cacinda at Points and Travel who talks about some cool things to do in Rome, that are not the normal stuff like visiting Vatican City.
Here are some Rome hotel search choices around The Vatican.
Google actually took us past the place, but that’s another story. Luckily I usually plan for things like this so we had enough time to double back to the meeting place.
Once there, we met our Walks of Italy representative as well as others who were on the tour today.
A couple from Oklahoma a lady from Belgium and a few from other countries. That’s the fun thing about these tours, you get to meet people form all over. Then you make trip friends and see the rest of the city with them or go visit them in their own country.
Our Tour Guide Guiletta like the car arrived and another assistant who gave us headsets which is useful since there are so many people touring the Vatican. Our tour had nine persons.
Off we went at 8a.m.
I was actually surprised to see how many people were out there at this hour.
Our Guide was very good, once inside the walls of the Vatican, she gave us a quick History lesson on the Sistine Chapel, so it we would know what to look for once in there since no talking is allowed in there. Also, there is no photo taking either. Then we made a beeline, well, kind of for the Sistine Chapel. While it’s amazing, I enjoyed the long walkway towards the Chapel more. I don’t think my Guide was impressed when she asked what I thought of the chapel and I told her :-). She’s a huge Michael Angelo fan you see…
Be mindful that there are some places you cannot use your flash so please be mindful of that. I’d just deactivate the flash on your camera once you enter the Vatican.
The tour is pretty amazing, but only as you have a Guide to point out the little things that makes the education of the Vatican so much better.
One of the great thing about the tour is that you can enter St. Peter’s Basilica without queuing up outside. Apparently that queue can be up to two hours at times.
You actually enter from an exit next to the Sistine Chapel which is quite cool. I was really thrilled by walking though the many corridors of the City. Impressive!
St. Peter’s was of course fantastic as well. By the time we got there, it was quite crowded, but nonetheless we had a good time. It was interesting to see the tombs of the different Popes over the years.
And here’s a tip: “Look up!”
Is it Worth It?
Absolutely! Going this early meant that not too many people are there when you arrive, so you are not constantly bumping in people as was the case the longer we were there. We finished at 11:15a, but could stay in the Basilica as long as we wanted. I highly recommend this Tour.
And don’t forget to tip your Guide at the end, they will appreciate it.