Absolutely recommend the before hours. When we were leaving the line to get in had to be about 3 hours long. The day we went was very cold, but we managed to cover all the highlights. Ella (?) our tour guide was excellent. She was a professional archaeologist. Very knowledgeable and managed to get our group around at the best times. This is a must tour.
This early morning experience was well worth getting out off bed agree a long day of travel. We were above to see the museum's, the Sistine chapel and Vatican before the throngs of people arrived. We wetter very lucky to have Elenora, an archaeologist, with a wealth of knowledge who kept us engaged for the entire 4 hours. Loved the excursion!
This was a good tour and our guide, Ellie was excellent. Things were great in the beginning before the Vatican actually opened to the public because you had enough space to move around and observe things. However, once the Vatican opened to the public it was a mad house. Thank goodness our guide took us to the Sistine Chapel before the public came in so it was not very crowded. Great to really be able to admire and take everything in. When we had to walk back through the outer part of the chapel later in our tour it was filled with people and was so crowded. Because of time constraints we barely had any time to look at things in the Vatican gift shop. We had to ask our guide if we could take a few minutes to look around and be able to buy any presents we wanted, because we would not be able to come back to the gift shop after our tour. The tour ended at St. Peter's which was also beautiful. This was a good way to see the Vatican but you should be aware that there are numerous small group tours about 15 people in each group. All of these groups go in an hour before it opens to the public. So you are not really alone there are many small groups going around during that first hour. I think if I did this again I would do the very private early tour that starts at 6:00 am even though it is extremely expensive. If you can afford it that would be my recommendation. Otherwise this type of tour is the next best thing.
We're VERY glad we bought this tour. It was very convenient to not have to stand in a long line to buy tickets and to not deal with the very large crowds meandering around the museums and chapel as we were headed out. Also, the guide was informative and helpful. My only complaint: The Vatican needs air conditioning in the summer! But that's not Viator's fault.
Barbara was wonderful. I recommend this tour to all that plan to visit the Vatican. You will regret it, if you don't. What a great visit-getting into the Vatican before opening hour. There was only 6 of us in our group, and we were able to get around quickly and visited so much of the museums .By 1 pm the museum was so crowed, it was impossible to get around. We left the museum and the lines of people outside were around the block.