VIP at the Vatican via TripAdvisor: Take a tour before the museums open

Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican is silhouetted during sunset in Rome (Reuters picture)

As well as being one of the most sacred places in Christendom, the Vatican Museums also topped TripAdvisor’s list of the most-booked travel experiences of 2017. It may sound unbelievable, but visitors can be faced with a four-hour wait to get an entry ticket! More organized travelers can book a ticket in advance, starting their visit at the official opening time of 9 AM.

However, a handful of lucky visitors — with substantial budgets — can now see inside the Vatican Museums with exclusive early access from 6 AM. Visitors booked on the tour follow a Vatican clavigero (key keeper) inside the iconic landmark, as he unlocks the doors to the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Rooms, the Gallery of Maps and the many other rooms and galleries. The tour ends with breakfast in the Pinecone Courtyard as other visitors start to arrive.

This exclusive access tour doesn’t exempt visitors from dressing modestly, however, as men and women must keep their knees and shoulders covered. Groups for this tour are limited to 20 people and bookings can be made at www.tripadvisor.com. Tickets cost €449 (RM2123.40)

Anyone put off by the price could try escaping the crowds at one of the Vatican Museums’ night openings, running April to October, 7 PM to 11 PM.