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2019 4 hours // 2020 3.5 hours
Tour the Vatican Museums before they open to the public: experience it through the eyes of popes and princes
Our early morning Vatican tour offers the perfect environment in which to admire the Sistine Chapel and the artworks of the Museums, giving you the space to appreciate their beauty and comprehend their meaning. Exploring the Vatican with an expert guide in a small group will help you to visualize the cultural context that gave birth to these incredible artistic masterpieces – you’ll learn about the ambitious artists, princes, merchants and bankers who created a new world of spectacular cities studded with elegant palaces and magnificent churches. Visiting the Vatican you’ll understand why the Renaissance was one of the most important periods in human history, an amazing time when the flowering of the arts was accompanied by the evolution of science - together laying the foundations for our modern world.
As an accredited tour company with the Museums, our special early access Vatican tours provide skip-the-line tickets for all our clients, providing you with the most convenient morning visit to admire Michelangelo's awe-inspiring frescoes.
Sistine Chapel: meet a genius
Whoever sees the Sistine Chapel through the eyes of Michelangelo, whoever reads in it his thoughts and sentiments, encounters a genius. Who he was, how he lived and what he thought are the main themes of our visit. Our guides will bring to life the great building projects of the Italian Renaissance and together we will relive the environment of the Papal court in Rome in which Michelangelo created his masterpieces. The figures of Jonah, Adam, Eve, Noah and thousands of others on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and in the Last Judgment reflect the profound ideas of Michelangelo – you’ll be able to appreciate what they say, and learn how these frescoes redefined not only art, but the way in which we look at the world.
The Raphael Rooms tour: enter into the courts of the Italian Renaissance
This was a period of overwhelming enthusiasm and of amazing innovation. The men of the Renaissance didn't merely dream of changing the world - they really revolutionized it. The printing press, the geographic maps with which Columbus reached the Americas, modern science, architecture, art and the sense of beauty (a concept often demonized in the Middle Ages), all these were their creations. The frescoes of the Raphael rooms perfectly depict the world of the contemporary courts that governed the course of this new world and where the great geniuses of the age called home. The cultured conversations fueled by the wine of sumptuous banquets, the statues brought to light by a frenzied passion for excavations, new fashions, and above all new ways of thinking and living, are marvelously recreated by Raphael with the perfect touch of his graceful brush. This is an experience that we will have the opportunity to relive in the flesh on our Vatican group tours. Indeed, there is an entire world to discover here, a world of which we ourselves are the children.
Vatican Museums Tour: stories of art and classic artworks
Some of the most important works that we will discover, such as timeless Greek masterpieces like the Laocoon, the Belvedere Torso and the Apollo Belvedere, were excavated at the time of Michelangelo and Raphael after being lost for centuries. They studied and admired them in the same beautiful spaces where they are preserved today. This is what makes the Vatican Museums so special and unique in the world: their walls incorporate the history of the Renaissance. The artworks the great masters created are the fruit of their careful study. We will walk through the Vatican Museums stopping by the Pinecone courtyard, the Belvedere courtyard, the tapestry galleries and many classic statues retracing the experience of Raphael and Michelangelo centuries ago. Discovering a meaningful selection of masterpieces with our knowledgeable guide, you will appreciate the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel in their original context.
From the Sistine Chapel we will reach St. Peter's Basilica (except on Wednesdays) without waiting in line
St. Peter's Basilica: The Story of Faith
Visiting St. Peter's Basilica will take you to the heart of the Christian faith. We'll discover an incredible collection of relics and religious objects gathered over the course of nearly 2,000 years at the site of St. Peter's tomb, located below the main altar. In the basilica you will have the chance to admire and understand enchanting works of art such as Michelangelo's Pietà, a work whose intimate embrace overflows with such tenderness that it can move even the hardest viewer to tears. The masterpieces of Bernini, the great genius of the Italian Baroque, also dominate St. Peter's, and the spectacular piazza dazzles with astounding optical effects. It is here that the faithful have gathered for centuries to celebrate the great events of Christianity, from the election of new popes to solemn masses. We will bring you here to learn about a history that will also become our own, a history lived by the protagonists of our fascinating Vatican group tours.
To get the full story of how Christianity replaced the ancient pagan world in the earliest years of the faith, check out our fascinating Underground Rome and Catacombs Tour.
The Basilica of St. Peter's may be subject to unscheduled closings and late openings for religious ceremonies. Because these are often last-minute for security reasons, we do not have time to notify our guests. We will provide you with a complete experience by exploring the Vatican Museums in more detail. Therefor we will not provide any refunds.
Please note that the Wednesday morning tour will not visit St. Peter's Basilica, as the church is closed for the weekly Papal Audience at this time. The tour will run as normal, with extra time spent exploring the Vatican Museums in more detail.
Near the entrance to the Vatican museums. You will receive full details, including a map and photograph of the meeting point, after completing your booking.
The Vatican Museums are vast and contain numerous steps and stairways. We recommend comfortable shoes and a bottle of water.
Nov 26, 2019
Nov 05, 2019
Our guides are fluent in English and have a contagious passion for Rome's inspiring cultural heritage. Experts in their fields, they will immerse you in the hidden histories and intriguing lives of history's great protagonists. So much to see, so easy to miss out: with the help of our guides, visit the most absorbing sites and uncover the stories that have changed the world. Don't miss this fascinating journey!