This is more than a whistle-stop tour of the Vatican. Join us on one of the most comprehensive half-day tours of the Vatican in the company of a local, expert guide. Visit the galleries and rooms of the Vatican Museums; the Galleries of Tapestries and Maps and Raphael’s Rooms as well as the colossal ancient Roman and Greek statues. Visit the world-famous Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter’s Basilica.
You will meet with your guide at the entrance to the museums and with skip-the-line entry you bypass the waiting lines of tourists and after depositing your belonging s in the Vatican cloakroom, perhaps taking a comfort break before the tour starts, it is on to see the delights of this magnificent place. First on the itinerary is a visit to see the ancient Greek and Roman statues. These statues were collected from excavations throughout the city and became church property when the Pope’s ruled all of central Italy. With your guide you will see the most famous and interesting of all of the artwork displayed in the museums; the Belvedere Apollo, the Torso, busts of Claudius and Hadrian and the sarcophagi of Helen and Constance, mother and daughter of the Emperor Constantine. The tour proceeds into the Room of Animals and the Gallery of Candelabra. Look down to see the precious Roman floor mosaics and stop for a while in front of the statues of Diana of Ephesus, the Muses and famous Greek philosophers.Next you will visit the Gallery of Tapestries, Gallery of Maps, the Sobiesky Rooms and the Raphael Rooms. The latter were painted by the young Raphael for Pope Julius II. They are a wonder of colors and symbols and hold two of his most famous masterpieces the Parnassus and the School of Athens. Along the Vatican’s beautifully painted corridors you reach the Sistine Chapel. There is no talking allowed inside so your guide will tell you about the wonderful frescoes you will see once inside. Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, the Creation of Adam and the Genesis. There are also the Stories of Moses and Jesus by Botticelli , Perugino and other Renaissance masters. Still in use today to host the conclave for the election of a new Pope your guide will tell you facts, anecdotes and some secrets bout this unique event. The tour ends in the grandest of all Catholic churches, Saint Peter’s Basilica. Here is another masterpiece by Michelangelo, his Pietà. You also visit the tombs of past Popes including those of Pope John XXIII and John Paul II. Learn about the architecture of this magnificent building and some of the rituals and symbols that make this such a special place. Finally you go outdoors to Saint Peter’s Square. Your guide will reveal some curious facts about Bernini’s statues that surround the square and point out the balcony where you see the white smoke when a new Pope has been elected. The perfect end to a wonderful tour of the Vatican!