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Waltzing into the Sistine Chapel before it actually opens: a tour with The Roman Guy

Michelangelo, ancient graffiti, and where cornetti came from: starting 2017 with magic The Roman Guy way


Remember how I was on a selfless journey to update the Young In Rome Favorite Tours page? Well, a couple of days ago that mission involved a trip to the hallowed halls of the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica, and an early-entrance visit to an almost-empty Sistine Chapel before it opened to the public. Of course, all of this was in the name of sniffing out the best tours for you guys. Like I said, totally selfless!

Okay but seriously, I found one. The Vatican Tour is the second The Roman Guy tour I’ve been on and the third we’ve reviewed at YiR (you can check out our reviews of the others, including one in Venice, in the Favorite Tours section), and our experiences with them are always of the highest caliber. This particular tour is definitely a new favorite of mine, as it covers three essential, absolute must-sees in Rome, and makes it happen in a much more intimate way than if you were to go by yourself, with a small guided tour that gets to skip right past the long lines and takes you into the Sistine Chapel at a time when only other small groups are in there. If you’ve ever been to the Cappella Sistina before then you know that it’s normally packed to the gills, so getting the chance to walk around, head up, gazing in awe at this masterpiece is not an opportunity to be taken lightly. The tour follows up Michelangelo’s masterpiece nicely with a thorough jaunt through the Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica, stopping along the way to ensure everyone has taken in the can’t-be-misseds, which in these parts is almost everything, and brings me to the next important reason I’m happy to recommend our Roman Guy friends: they always have accredited, interesting, passionate guides (hi Elaine!). This makes all the difference when walking along in a museum with ten million historically unmissable things that risk feeling a bit overwhelming as time goes by—Elaine kept us enthralled for three and a half hours, covering all the basics and throwing in all sorts of cool extra tidbits like ancient graffiti and the real story behind the cornetto, the Italian croissant (I’m not going to give away that story!), and taking us through the series of rooms of the Museums painted by the legendary Raphael, which many tours skip despite their, excuse my academic term here, AMAZINGNESS.


The ultimate: San Pietro from the inside, looking up. A new perspective.

Tip: If it’s cold weather, dress warmly, because there will be a period of about twenty minutes upon arrival where you will be waiting for the doors to open and where the guide will take the opportunity to discuss some of the things you’ll be seeing inside.

If three and a half hours is a bit too much of a commitment for you, TRG also offers an Express Vatican Tour, which packs the fun into a two hour “highlights” experience: you still get the privileged entrance with the Sistine Chapel in all its quiet glory, but the tour wraps up a bit earlier (more time for gelato).

Alright YiR-ers, that’s my latest recommendation for you guys! As always, if you have any comments or questions, comment below or you can always e-mail me at And if you join this tour, reach out and let me know your thoughts!

Happy traveling friends, and may 2017 be the year of grand adventures!


The Gallery of Maps is always my favorite part of a Musei Vaticani exploration.

2 thoughts on “Waltzing into the Sistine Chapel before it actually opens: a tour with The Roman Guy

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