A New Tour Gives You the Chance to See the Sistine Chapel at Night, Free From Crowds, for Just $76

See the Vatican by moonlight, without the crowds.

Michelangelo used help from assistants to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the 16th century. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Michelangelo used help from assistants to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the 16th century. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

If that $5,558 private tour of the Sistine Chapel is a bit over your budget—or you just don’t want to wake up at the crack of dawn for the 6 a.m. start time—you’ll be happy to know that there’s a far more affordable way to see the treasures of the Vatican Museums after hours. For just $76 per person, you can take a guided tour through the halls of the Vatican after the crowds have gone home

Tour groups now arrange affordable, intimate nighttime visits to the heart of Vatican City, including a newly launched offering from Roman travel company What a Life Tours, which includes a glass of prosecco and pre-dinner snacks in their tour package. Given the intense daytime crowds—up to 20,000 museum visitors a day, with 2,000 people crammed into the Sistine Chapel at any given time—the appeal of such an experience is obvious.

“It’s such an honor to have visitors from around the world to experience the Vatican City as it was always intended, with plenty of peace and quiet for reflection,” said a What a Life Tours spokesperson in a statement.

The tour, which accommodates no more than 12 people, starts three hours after the museum closes for the day, when moonlight floods the Vatican courtyards. (You’ll be sharing the space with other tour groups, but far fewer folks than you would be during the day.)

Michelangelo Buonarroti, The Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Museums, Rome. Photo: Titimaster, via Wikimedia Commons.

Michelangelo Buonarroti, The Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Museums, Rome. Courtesy of Titimaster, via Wikimedia Commons.

The evening will feature quality time with all the heavy hitters, including Raphael’s School of Athens and all the Sistine Chapel frescoes—works by Renaissance greats Pietro Perugino, Sandro Botticelli, and Domenico Ghirlandaio, not to mention Michelangelo’s famed ceiling and The Last Judgement.

After-hours visits can also be booked directly with the Vatican, which boasts on its website that “behind closed doors, after the usual opening hours, the Vatican Museums live a second life, revealing their unique qualities to those who choose a tour experience far from the daytime rhythms and crowds.”


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