The secret Sistine Chapel: New VIP visits take Vatican tourists to rooms under lock and key

The Sistine Chapel is a must on every tourist's list when they are in Rome, and as a result can be quite an ordeal, as visitors queue and jostle for space inside.

So what if you could skip the wait and have the holy site almost to yourself, just as the Pope does during his private visits?

If you have a spare 220 euros to hand, one company is offering just that opportunity, including a sneak peek into rooms that are normally off-limits to the public.

Sistine Chapel

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The three-hour VIP Vatican and Sistine Chapel experience, offered by tour company Dark Rome, restricts the numbers in its groups to ten, to ensure it remains exclusive.

For 30 minutes, the group are given time inside the Sistine Chapel alone so that the expert guide can provide commentary without interruption.

The, under the escort of a Vatican official with all the keys, the tour heads to the Vatican Museums, where they are given access to rooms which are normally locked and shut off from the public.

Visits include the Niccoline Chapel, a chapel frescoed from top to bottom by Fra Angelico and gilded with some of the first gold brought back from the New World by Christopher Columbus. And another secret room usually visited on the tour is the stunning Bramante spiral staircase.

Tourists, Sistine Chapel

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'We are proud to be the first company to offer this incredible tour of one of the world's leading visitor attractions,' said Dan Paulsberg, Operations Director of Dark Rome.

'In 2011, the Vatican Museums attracted around 5 million visitors, so our "skip-the-line" access became a major benefit to travelers. Plus, since the Vatican is a living museum, the tour schedule and stops are ever changing and adapting, and visitors can repeat the tour with the possibility of enjoying other secret treasures.'

The tour is offered on Mondays and Saturdays at 3.15pm and the 220 euro fee includes a 'skip-the-line' entrance ticket.


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