Touring the Vatican before any of the 25,000 daily visitors arrive comes at a price, specifically $530 per person.
TripAdvisor recently launched a new Waking Up the Vatican Tour, which takes small groups into the European landmark at 6 a.m. with the site’s clavigero, or keeper of 3,000 keys who opens the museums and galleries.
“The first-of-its-kind experience gets you inside the Vatican Museums a full hour before all other early access and VIP tours,” TripAdvisor’s website says.
The 2.5-hour tour operates Mondays to Saturdays and limits groups to a maximum of 20 people. Tickets must be bought in advance and are available through Jan. 5, 2019, with some blackout dates.
Early birds will be the first to see the Sistine Chapel with an English-speaking guide (a rarity because speaking in the chapel is usually forbidden), Raphael’s Rooms, the Gallery of Maps and other areas.
Breakfast is served in the expansive Pinecone Courtyard. After the hordes descend, you can spend time in the museums as long as you like.
Tickets cost $530 per person. Those visiting between Nov. 1 and Dec. 15 can take advantage of discounted tickets for $371 (must be booked by Oct. 14).