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Early morning Vatican museum entrance

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Hi,

I will be in Rome, along with my husband and three daughters (13, 16, 20) over the Christmas break, and I'm trying to make an itinerary. On our day to visit the Vatican museums and St. Peter's (Dec-24), I have come up with two possible scenarious, and I would like some feedback from anybody willing to give it.

I suspect that the Vatican museums will be extremely crowded over the holidays, particularly considering that the museums will be closed on the 23, 25, and 26. We are early risers and like to start out on our day's adventures pretty early. Therefore, I thought the early-entrance Vatican museum tour through a company such as Presto Tours would be a good plan -- you get to enter the museum at 8 AM (before it is open to the general public) and, presumably, the crowds will be lighter and it would be easier to appreciate the art and the Sistine chapel without fighting crowds. After the tour we could climb St. Peter's. The problem with this plan is that it is considerably more expensive (115 E more) than plan B which involves visiting St. Peter's on our own when it opens (at 7) and afterwards taking a Vatican sponsered morning tour of the museums. The advantage of Plan B is that perhaps St. Peter's would be less crowded early in the morning and we could climb the cupula as soon as it opens at 8.

Any thoughts? Has anybody here taken one of the before-hours tours? Would you pay 23 Euros more per person for the early entrance (and presumably a smaller tour group)?

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