Due to their influences on the art world, the Belvedere Torso, as well as the Apollo Belvedere, named after the court where they were first exhibited, are a must-see for art scholars as well as for the general, art-loving public. Another outstanding work of ancient art, one that has fascinated generations, and the first artifact to be added to the art collection that later developed into the existing museums, is the Laocoön and His Sons ensemble. The marble statue, one of the most famous statues in the world, shows Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus being attacked by sea serpents. Purchased by Pope Julius II at the advice of Michelangelo immediately after being discovered in a Roman vineyard, the statue sits in the Pio-Clementino Museum, where has been displayed since 1506!
In the same museum, the red porphyry sarcophagi of Saints Helena and Constantia, mother and daughter of Constantine the Great, the Roman Emperor who established Christianity in the Empire, are well-worth a stop on your Vatican tour. The Vatican complex also includes numerous gardens and courts, many of which are open to visitors taking a tour of the Vatican. Among them, the Giardino della Pigna, enclosed by four buildings, features a giant bronze pine cone, which was preserved from the old St Peter’s Basilica, that once stood on the site of the current basilica. The vast size of the Vatican Museums means that many visitors don’t know where to begin. Our Vatican tours are designed to show you the highlights of the Vatican’s extraordinary collections, making sure you don’t miss the must-see masterpieces. You’ll also get to see some of the Vatican’s hidden gems, and learn the secret stories behind the artworks, enriching your experience.