The morning of our early Pristine Sistine Vatican tour we awoke to pouring rain that luckily subsided after our breakfast espresso and croissant. We walked from our hotel over to meet our tour guide, dodging puddles and sprinkles and got ready for our 7:30am start time. It was a wet, slightly chilly day, but we were pumped.
Upon entering the Vatican, we made our way straight to the Sistine Chapel so we could have some elbow room while admiring Michelangelo's masterpiece. No photos can be taken in the Chapel, and silence is strictly enforced, which actually made it all the more special.
We felt a little funny rushing to the chapel and bypassing the beautiful works of art in the hallways, but after the tour was over, we understood how important it was to do this. We were in the chapel with maybe 40 other people. It was serene, and we could really appreciate where we were. After that, we circled back through the Vatican museum for nearly three hours of impressive art, ending once more in the Sistine Chapel. By late morning, the chapel was PACKED. It was hard to make it through the crowd, and despite the enforced silence, there was still a slight hum from the crowd, making it a far different experience from earlier in the morning. If you're considering the Vatican tour, we strongly encourage the early tour for this very reason.
As a side note, in addition to the rain, we were also a little worried about bringing too much stuff with us, including our camera, unsure of how security would be in the Vatican. In hindsight, we could have brought our small bags and camera along, as security was a breeze. So, pardon the iPhone pics below...
The Vatican was mind blowing, and as we said, the Walks of Italy tour was wonderful (no affiliation). We saw and learned so much and were satisfied with our choice to pay a little more to get ahead of the crowds. If we did this tour again, we would bring a bag with our camera, and perhaps a snack, too. It's a long tour, but worth it :)