The Vatican Experience
Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica
A SMALL-GROUP VATICAN TOUR
Join our Vatican small group tour, and explore the Vatican with the best tour guides in the field. Skip-the-line entry fees are included in the price!
A visit to the Vatican, the seat of the papacy and home to several world-famous Museums, is for many a highlight of their trip to Rome, the Eternal City. This small but powerful independent state located across the Tiber river from Roma’s historic center hosts the most important edifice of the Catholic Church, Saint Peter’s Basilica, and several of the most important masterpieces of the art world. The Basilica—world’s largest—is a major attraction not only for believers, but for European art, architecture and history enthusiasts. A sacred space, the Basilica hosts the tomb of Saint Peter, the first ever pope, as well as those of other pontiffs included John Paul II. Furthermore, through its wonderfully crafted altar, frescoes, mosaics and majestic dome, this church is a testament of man’s fascination with beauty, which was chosen as a communication vehicle with the divine. During this tour of Vatican City with Roma Experience, you will see Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica! Join our group to live an unforgettable experience.
A LABYRINTH OF CORRIDORS AND ROOMS
The richness of the pontiffs’ collection of art, sculpture and objects so diverse as sarcophagi and even several mummies reflect the extent of the Vatican’s world dominance at its hight. Often men of great taste and means, the popes amassed an impressive collection of unique artifacts. Some of them—such as The Laocoön Group—have been displayed in the Vatican in the same room since 1506. Adding to that, the rooms and even the corridors of the museums are worthy attractions in their own right. Visitors are granted access to The Papal apartments, adorned with frescoes by Raffaello and Michelangelo, the Hall of Maps, the Borgia Apartment. Spread throughout 12,000 rooms, the Vatican Museums’ unique art treasures span over 4000 years of history. Collected by generations of powerful pontiffs and cardinals they highlight a millennia of papal influence. From Raphael’s frescoes to the red porphyry sarcophagi made for the relatives of Emperor Constantine to the Laocoon Group, one of the most impressive examples of ancient sculpture, showing a priest and his two sons attacked by a sea serpent, the Vatican Museums offer a wealth of attractions. Among the other things, you will admire the impressive Belvedere Torso, a stunning first century marble statue that has influenced Michelangelo as he depicted the Sistine Chapel, the Hall of Maps, Giulio Romano’s depiction of the battle of Ponte Milvio, and much more.
During our tour of the Vatican we will visit The Sistine Chapel, dreamed up by 33-year-old Michelangelo, whose iconic frescoes depicting The Last Judgment and The Creation of Adam are some of the most easily recognizable images in Western culture. The Sistine Chapel, named after Pope Sixtus IV (Sisto in Italian), the man who built it, represents one of the most accomplished examples of High Renaissance Art. Completed over four years by Michelangelo at the request of Pope Julius II, the frescoes, especially The Last Judgment and The Creation of Adam have secured a place in art books as well as in popular culture. That simple yet powerful gesture by which God, depicted for the first time as a muscular figure, gives life to Adam by extending his finger is today one of the most iconic images one can think of. With its paintings covering 12,000 sq ft (1,110 sq m), the Sistine Chapel, whose 500th anniversary was marked in 2012, is until today pope’s private chapel and has served as the sole location of papal elections since 1870. With our licensed guides you will be able to skip the line again and reach St Peter’s Basilica through a dedicated corridor. Individual visitors need to exit from a secondary entrance and do not have access to the basilica unless they go all the way back to St Peter’s square to line up again, waiting to enter the Basilica. Without wasting time, we enter the basilica via the Sistine Chapel.
ST PETER’S BASILICA & SQUARE
Together, Saint Peter’s Basilica (built 1506 -1615) and the Square located in front of it represent important symbols of Christendom. Built on the Vatican Hill, a highly symbolic location, they mark the place where Saint Peter, considered the first pontiff, died a martyr in 64 AD. His tomb, located just under the altar, is a major objective for pilgrims and has been so for millennia. Built over a hundred years, the Basilica as well as the Square required the talent and skill of some of the most brilliant minds of the Renaissance. Donato Bramante was the church’s first chief architect and designed the plans that Michelangelo—who added the dome—later built on, Bernini designed St. Peter’s Square and enriched its colonnade with statues, and several others extended and completed their work. Today, the church featuring a 185 meters long and 46 meters tall nave and an impressive 119 meters tall dome can accommodate a congregation of 60,000. Among the art and sculpture treasures it hosts, Michelangelo’s magnificent Pietà, a sculpture depicting Mary mourning over her beloved son whom she holds in her arms, is a seminal work of High Renaissance and one of great sensitivity. The beautifully decorated Chapel of the Sacrament and the bronze baldacchino sculpted by Bernini are but two of the church’s many attractions.
*on rare occasions St Peter’s Basilica might be closed without prior notification. In this event, we will spend more time inside the Museum and Sistine Chapel.
VATICAN TOUR INFO
Meeting Time: 8:15am (no Wednesdays) // 1:15pm // 7:15am
Group size: MAX 10 PEOPLE – except for the 7:30am tour option with max 12.
Meeting Place: at a central Location near Vatican City (full details provided after booking)
**Vatican Museums are equipped with elevators for wheelchair access, but please be aware that elevators are not conveniently located on the group tour route. We encourage those with mobility problems to book a private tour, in order to allow the guide to adapt the pace to their specific needs.
From April through September you can also visit the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel at night with our Vatican at Night Tour, available on Fridays. If you are seeking to book a Vatican tour running in the two three days, please check our Last minute deals.