VATICAN PRIVATE TOUR
A Private Guided Tour of Vatican City
EXPLORE THE VATICAN WITH US
Our Vatican Private Tour is the equivalent of a crash course in European art and history. Accompanied by our knowledgeable guides, you will get to visit Saint Peter's Basilica, the centerpiece of Vatican City and the most important site of the Catholic Church. You will admire some of the world’s famous masterpieces, such as Michelangelo’s Pietà and several other seminal works of Roman, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Modern art. The Vatican Museums are indeed one of the greatest and largest collection of art in the world. You could simply spend days and weeks inside the Vatican Museums to explore every single detail of such a stunning gathering of beauty and art works. In fact, people spent years, even their own life, exploring the Vatican. Still an expert guide can lead you through this beautiful labyrinth with no time waste, and show you the best, most iconic and admired parts of Vatican Museums, from the Pio-Clementino section to Raphael's Rooms, to end of course with the Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica. You will have the chance to stand below one of the most iconic frescoes in the world and see for yourself the magnificent simplicity of that powerful gesture by which God, extending his hand, gives life to the first man, in Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam. You will stand right in front of the magnificent Christ depicted by Michelangelo centuries ago in the Last Judgment and admire the unparalleled skills and vision of such a great artist.
“...hunched up there like a cat in Lombardy” (Michelangelo, 1475-1564)
THE SISTINE CHAPEL
The Sistine Chapel owes its name to Pope Sixtus IV (Sisto in Italian), the man who built it. His nephew, Pope Julius II, summoned Michelangelo in 1508 and commissioned him to paint the ceiling’s frescoes. Michelangelo actually was more comfortable with the chisel rather than with the brush, he considered himself a sculptor, not a painter. Plus, the fresco technique is also particularly hard because you cannot fix and repaint what has been painted already, because walls actually absorbs the pigments. The ceiling is also a curved surface, which would have made everything even more difficult. The pope had to resort to all his diplomatic skills to convince him to undertake such an enormous task. Eventually Michelangelo accepted. It took 33-years-old Michelangelo four years to paint the ceiling and the main wall of the Chapel, whose highlights are the large fresco depicting The Creation of Adam and, on the front wall, the Last Judgment. So painstaking was the process, which Michelangelo performed while standing, that the master once complained to a friend in a private letter in versi, about the pain of standing “hunched up there like a cat in Lombardy”. As aforementioned, Michelangelo’s self-confessed feeling of inadequacy because of his background in sculpture rather than painting. But precisely his craft as a sculptor turned out to bring a new and revolutionary contribution to the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, whose representation of the human bodies have a sculptural dimension and a magnificence that have impressed modern scholars as well as Michelangelo's contemporaries.
THE VATICAN MUSEUMS
Not only was the Vatican one of the most powerful states in Europe, its pontiffs were for centuries some of the most influent individuals on the political scene. Not least, many were men of great taste and culture who possessed the means to commission and amass a great number of art works spanning 4000 years of history and many genres. During this tour of the Vatican museums, our passionate guides will reveal the stories behind each of them, while walking you through the 12,000 rooms filled with unique artifacts. The highlights include the Papal apartments known as Raphael Rooms, decorated with brightly colored frescoes by Michelangelo and Raphael, the Borgia Apartment, The Room of the Animals, The Hall of Maps occupying nine rooms and The Octagonal Court with Laocoön Group, a unique example of ancient sculpture, displayed in the Vatican since 1506, ever since its discovery on January 14 of the same year. Another extraordinary piece, now located in the fascinating Room of the Muses, is certainly the Belvedere Torso, an original Greek statue of the 1st century before Christ. Michelangelo was so impressed with this muscular torso that he used it as a model for many of the figures in the Sistine Chapel, including that of Christ. The man represented in this torso is seated on an animal skin, spread over a rock. Underneath it is still possible to read the unusual (for that time) signature of the artist: "Made by Apollonius, from Athen, son of Nestor".
VISITING SAINT PETER'S BASILICA
The history of the world’s smallest sovereign state and for centuries the most powerful, is entwined with that of Rome, the city surrounding it. Located across the Tiber river from Rome’s historic center, St. Peter’s Basilica is the world’s largest church and an important symbol of Christendom (although many don't know that the official seat of the pope is actually the Basilica of St John Lateran!). The church’s location, on the Vatican Hill, is highly symbolic, marking the place where Saint Peter, considered the first Pope, died a martyr and was buried in 64 AD. Only recently it has been found a tomb underneath the basilica, that after much excavation archeologists think could really be the tomb of St Peter. The presence of Saint Peter's tomb, located under the altar, as well as those of other pontiffs have attracted over the centuries crowds of pilgrims. Certainly, this remains a sacred site for Christians all over the world, and "on this rock" the popes built a stupendous basilica. It took over a hundred years to build the church as it is today (1506-1615) and the work of some of the most brilliant and talented architects of the Renaissance, such as Bramante, its first chief architect, Michelangelo, who designed the impressive dome, Maderno who built the facade, and Bernini, who drew up plans for St. Peter’s Square and adorned its colonnade with statues. But Bernini also failed in his attempt to build two tall bell towers on the sides of the church. He miscalculated the weight of the towers and he had to demolish the one he had already built, jeopardizing his entire and brilliant career. Our Vatican tour will introduce you to the many art treasures housed in the church, whose 185 meters long and 46 meters tall nave can accommodate up to 60,000 people. They include the magnificent Pietà, a cornerstone work of Renaissance sculpture completed when Michelangelo was only 24, the richly adorned Chapel of the Sacrament, and, under the magnificent 119 meters tall dome, Bernini's impressive bronze baldachin which hosts the Papal altar.
*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.
USEFUL INFORMATION ON OUR GUIDED TOUR
All Entrance Fees are included in the price.
The FIXED PRICE is intended for 2 PEOPLE regardless of their category (adult, student or child).
If your group is bigger than two, you will be asked to indicate just the number of additional people during the booking process.
The additional price per person is as follows:
• Additional Adult (age 15+): € 59
• Additional Student (age 15-26 with student ID): € 49
• Additional Child (age 6-14): € 29
• Additional Infant (age 0-5): € 0
Our booking system is safe and user friendly, just click on your preferred tour date on the calendar that you find at the top right corner of this page! We look forward to explore Vatican City with you!
TIP: Book your Private Vatican Tour in the early afternoon (no later than 1.30pm, we would recommend) and then book a tour of Rome city center at 6pm HEART OF ROME TOUR.