Vatican Afternoon Tour
The Vatican City is a fully independent state, that measures just one-eighth of the size of the Central Park in New York City. There is no other place that embodies as many treasures of artistic and religious nature as in the Vatican City. The museums host some of the most impressive works of art in the Western world that have been presented to the popes by the world’s most famous and wealthy visitors. With over 7 kilometres of galleries, chapels, and rooms, the Vatican Museums can be difficult to navigate without the presence of an expert guide. For a maximum of 24 people that do not habitually enjoy being early, we have carefully crafted an afternoon tour with a special itinerary that will show you the best of the Museums. A fun and interactive tour! Your tour will start at 2 PM with the main galleries of the Museums. Following that, after an introduction by your guide, you will enjoy in silence the beauty and purity of the Sistine Chapel. Last but not least you will explore at your own pace St. Peter’s Basilica, the mother church of the Catholic faith.
No ticket lines at the Vatican Museums No one enjoys kicking their heels in the queues, especially when you are in a long-awaited holiday. The Vatican Museums are on every art lover’s bucket list and it is not surprising that they attract thousands of tourists on a daily basis. The tickets lines are usually very long and exhausting, and you would not want to consume your energy waiting in the crowds under the Mediterranean sun. The Vatican museums are huge, and everyone would prefer to conserve their energy to better engage with the art and architecture of the Vatican. As with all tours offered by the Explore Italy team, this one offers skip the line access, which means your precious time will be dedicated to enjoying the wonderful creations of Michelangelo and Raphael, rather than spending it waiting in the crowds for entry tickets. Your guide will show you the highlights of the Museums, starting with Galleria dei Candelabri (Candelabra Gallery), subdivided into 6 architecturally impressive rooms hosting spectacular statues, busts, and masks. From there you will explore Galleria degli Arazzi (Gallery of Tapestries) covered in tapestries that have survived for centuries. Another important gallery of the Museums is Galleria delle Carte Geografiche (Gallery of Maps) that would give you the perfect understanding of what the world was thought to look like centuries ago.
The Sistine Chapel – a cornerstone work of Renaissance art The highlight of all Vatican tours is considered by many to be the visit to the Sistine Chapel. Are your wondering why the frescoes that Michelangelo painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel are often considered as the greatest masterpieces of Western art? By joining this tour you will find out everything about the famous ceiling from your expert guide who is thoroughly educated in the history of this masterpiece. The ceiling contains numerous biblical figures such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, Isaiah, and many other prophets and saints. The ceiling is depicting the most symbolic biblical scenes, such as the creation of the first men. The variety of frescoes can make it overwhelming to look at, some people do not even know where to look first. The expertise of a guide is more than ever indispensable when it comes to the Sistine Chapel. Since the chapel is to be admired in silence, prior to entry, your guide will help you understand Michelangelo’s unique genius and will give you a comprehensive description of the scenes taken from the Old Testament.
Religious art at St. Peter’s Basilica The last part of our tour implies skipping the lines at the enormous St. Peter’s Basilica where you will go through 2,000 years worth of history and art. Built on the tomb of St Peter, one of the most representative figures for Christianity, the Church has been enriched throughout the years with the work of the world’s most famous artists and architects. You will hear from your guide the story of the Church, from its beginnings as a burial place, to its present state of international importance. The Church is home to Michelangelo’s incredibly moving Pietà. The sculpture is depicting the lifeless body of Jesus, in the arms of his mother Mary, and it is extremely meaningful for most of the Vatican visitors. Bernini’s jaw-dropping baldachin is another masterful pierce that you can find in the Basilica. The large sculpted bronze Baroque canopy sits directly under the church’s massive dome, above St. Peter’s tomb, covering the Altar of the Basilica. Visiting St. Peter’s Basilica at the end of an afternoon tour will be a calming yet insightful experience.
What to know: While visiting the Vatican, all tourists are asked to abide by the city’s dress code. This implies that everyone needs to have their shoulders and knees covered. We appreciate that the Mediterranean summer temperatures can get quite hot. We recommend having a bottle of water with you at all times and bringing a light scarf to cover yourself when it is required. All visitors must pass through airport-style security and hats, food, and metal tools are not permitted in the Museums. Moreover, St Peter’s Basilica is not only the world’s largest Catholic church, but it is also an active church, which implies that access can be restricted due to liturgical ceremonies.