VIP Vatican Afternoon Small Group Tour
For many, visiting the Vatican City is an unforgettable experience. The Holy See is the most art and history dense place in the world. As you pass onto Papal territory, you will see the colourfully uniformed Swiss Guard, who has been guarding the Popes since 1506. Initially a mercenary force, the corps of Swiss soldiers responsible for the safety of the Pope became the world’s smallest army. In this tour, you will enter the prestigious Vatican Museums, where our expert guide will introduce you to the largest privately-owned art collection on the planet. In the four Raphael Rooms, you can behold the frescoes of Raphael that line the walls. Inside the Sistine Chapel, you will marvel at the intricately painted ceiling that is the masterpiece of Michelangelo. From there you will proceed onto admiring the architecture of St. Peter’s Basilica, and see the famous Statue of St. Peter just inside the Basilica’s walls. You can then take a pleasant stroll around one of the most famous plazas in the world, St. Peter’s Square. This tour will take place in the afternoon, it will start at 2 PM, and the special thing about it is that it is designed for no more than 12 people. This is a semi-private tour which means that the experience will be much more private, yet still fun and that you will benefit from more time from your guide that you can use to satisfy your curiosities about the Vatican Museums.
An afternoon at the Vatican Museums We will start this tour with nothing else but skip-the-line access to the Vatican Museums. It comes as no surprise that the Vatican Museums, a complex of museums that boasts one of the world’s greatest art collections would attract thousands of interested tourists on a daily basis. Queues and lines will inevitably be formed in front of the Museums. No one wants to spend their precious holiday time in the queues, waiting for a couple of good hours, exhausting themselves, before getting into the Museums. We will take you inside the Museums without spending any time in the long ticket lines! From there, your guide will show you the best of the Vatican Museums. In a group of maximum 12 people, you will spend a lovely afternoon in the company of an expert guide who will have a special itinerary designed for you. Visiting such a labyrinthine complex of museums requires the knowledge of an expert guide. Without a guide it can be very difficult to manage to see the great masterpieces hidden in this 7 kilometres long museum. The Candelabra Gallery, the Gallery of Tapestries, the Gallery of Maps are a few of the rooms that you will visit. Statues, busts, masks, rooms with covered windows to protect Sanzio’s tapestries from sunlight, massive 430-year-old maps of Italy are some of the elements that will fascinate you throughout this tour. Being in a small group is also of great advantage! You will have the time to ask your friendly guide details about these busts, the tapestries, the museums themselves or even anything about Italy. At the end of the day, we all have something in common and that is our love for this country!
A Renaissance icon: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Ceiling Every corner of the Museums is covered in art, but the highlight of this tour will be the Sistine Chapel where Michelangelo spent more than 4 years on its awe-inspiring ceiling. The ceiling is divided into 9 panels, each depicting a symbolic biblical scene. The ceiling contains hundreds of scriptural figures such as Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, Isaiah, other saints, prophets and decorative nude figures known as “ignudi”. The Sistine Chapel is covered in vivid colours and it displays multiple different stories. Scenes ranging from those taken from the Book of Genesis to the Last Judgement can be found in the Chapel. This is precisely why you would need the guidance of an expert. The sonic experience of the Chapel is both regarded as unexpected and alluring. The chapel needs to be admired in silence. When inside, the crowds drop into a state of contemplative reverence as they admire the masterpieces. For this reason, your guide will give you a description of what you are about to witness before entering the chapel, and will answer your questions once out. Benefit from these moments of silence to admire the intricate details of the fantastic frescoes, a pure testimony of Michelangelo’s genius.
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter This tour will end with a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, where you will go through 2,000 years of history and art. St Peter’s basilica is not only the mother church of the Catholic faith and one of the holiest sites in Christendom, but it is the greatest Renaissance architectural piece. The construction, design, and decoration of Saint Peter’s Basilica involved the great Old Masters of the day. Raphael, Carlo Madero, Michelangelo, and Bernini contributed massively to this Holy Place. In fact, two masterpieces that you can find within the Basilica are Michelangelo’s Pietà and Bernini’s baldachin. The Pietà is a sculpture of Mary holding into her arms the lifeless body of her son Jesus. This is an incredibly moving sculpture, for both religion and art lovers. Bernini’s baldachin is a large sculpted bronze Baroque canopy that sits above St. Peter’s tomb. The Church was built according to tradition above the burial site of St. Peter, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. In light of this tradition, the Popes are now buried within the basilica. Visiting this place is a great lesson of art, religion, history, and architecture.
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.