Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel by Night
Any trip to a city as spellbinding as Rome is sure to be full of amazing experiences. So, when we say this tour is extra special, prepare yourselves for something truly exceptional. Join us as we explore the Vatican Museums after sunset – that means no queues and no jostling for space among the crowds. Instead, your intimate group of 15 people (or fewer) will pass through the rooms with ease, seeing some of the most important art collections in the world, finishing at the unparalleled Sistine Chapel.
Up close and personal with art
This extraordinary opportunity is only possible from April to October when the museums are open to visitors every Friday between 7:00 pm and 11:00 pm. Visitor numbers are greatly restricted during these nocturnal hours (up to 35,000 people visit the museums during the day) so, on our tour, you’ve practically got the place to yourselves – or as close as it’s possible to get unless you are His Holiness himself!
We’ll meet at 7:15 pm and enter the museums at 7:30 pm. This allows other tour groups to enter first and therefore gives us, even more, breathing space once we’re inside. Our expert historian guide will take you to the museums’ most impressive pieces, likely starting at the Pio-Clementine Museum. The Apollo Belvedere, a 2nd-century Roman marble copy of a 4th-century-BC Greek bronze, and Laocoön and His Sons, praised by
Pliny the Elder, are both housed here.
Galleries of wonders
We’ll spend time walking the 323-foot-long Gallery of Maps, admiring its 16th-century frescoes that depict the entirety of the Italian peninsula. In the Gallery of Tapestries, we’ll see intricate religious tapestries designed by Raphael and produced by Belgian tapestry makers. There’s also the stunning Gallery of the Candelabra, which takes its name from a huge but elegantly carved candelabra housed inside.
In the Raphael Rooms, we’ll learn about the artist Raffaello Sanzio and the techniques he used to create the beautiful frescos in these four elegant spaces. The pieces here are the largest of his career and The School of Athens, in the Stanza Della Segnatura, is perhaps the most famous. The incredibly detailed work represents the discipline of philosophy and features figures such as Plato and Aristotle.
Our itinerary will also include the Borgia Apartment and the Collection of Religious Modern Art, which, as the name suggests, hosts more recent paintings and sculptures by artists such as Van Gogh, Dalí and Picasso.
The world’s most famous ceiling
The two and a half tour will conclude at the Sistine Chapel, where we are introduced to the Book of Genesis through Michelangelo’s famous ceiling. Did you know it took him four years to paint this masterpiece? Over two decades later, he then spent another four years painting The Last Judgment on the altar wall. Learn more about the life and times of the artist from one of our expert guides by booking a timeslot now.
At the end of the tour, you’ll also be permitted to remain in the museum and further explore its vast riches until closing time at 11:00 pm. Please note, this tour does not include St. Peter’s Basilica which closes earlier in the evening.
Your tour guide will meet you next to the Caffè Vaticano, from there they will guide you to the entrance of the museums. They will guide through the various parts of the museums, such as the Galleria dei Candelabr, Galleria delle Mappe and Stanze di Raffaello until you reach the Sistine Chapel.
Viale Vaticano 100, next to the Caffè Vaticano.
20 minutes before the tour time