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An itinerary desinged to allow to discover the best of the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums and St Peter's Basilica to visitors with limited time in Rome.
On this special Vatican tour you’ll discover the treasures of the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums and St Peter’s Basilica. In the company of one of our expert guides, marvel at masterpieces by Michelangelo and Raphael and explore one of the greatest art collections in the world.
Discover the extraordinary beauty of the Sistine Chapel
Many visitors are rushed through the Sistine Chapel, but on our Sistine Chapel tour, you’ll have time to gaze up at the ceiling and admire the artwork while your guide explains the secrets of Michelangelo’s intricately detailed frescoes.
The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel - perhaps the most famous ceiling in the world - contains hundreds of figures, including Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, saints, prophets, sibyls, and the decorative nude figures known as “ignudi”. The sheer size of the fresco can make it overwhelming. Where to begin? The helpful explanations of your personal guide will reveal the meaning of Michelangelo’s masterwork, highlighting innovative details and explaining the significance of different biblical scenes.
Years later Michelangelo returned to the Sistine Chapel to decorate the altar wall with the fresco of the Last Judgement - a powerful work filled with fascinating details and symbolism. As you study the painting alongside your guide, you’ll discover why it was initially so controversial, as well as gaining an even deeper appreciation of Michelangelo’s unique genius.
Admire the rich frescoes of the Raphael Rooms
Close to the Sistine Chapel is the suite of private papal apartments known as the Raphael Rooms. These exquisitely decorated rooms contain some of the finest examples of Raphael’s work, including the “School of Athens” - a group portrait of the most famous ancient philosophers.
On your visit to the Raphael Rooms, your guide will explain why a young painter from Urbino was chosen for such a prestigious commission, earning admiration and envy. These rooms also provide a fascinating insight into the life of the papal court, as well as the Renaissance fascination with the classical world. Often overlooked by visitors who are in a hurry to get to the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms deserve a more relaxed, contemplative visit; your guide will ensure that you have plenty of time to appreciate Raphael’s works at leisure.
Explore the amazing collections of the Vatican Museums
Your private visit to the Vatican Museums is a unique opportunity to explore one of the most remarkable art collections in the world. The displays of ancient art are particularly impressive, including the legendary Laocoon and Apollo Belvedere. These classical statues had a profound impact on the artists of the Renaissance, influencing the work of Michelangelo and Raphael. Accompanied by an expert art historian, you’ll learn all about these ancient masterpieces, gaining a greater appreciation of Roman art and understanding why these artworks are so important in the wider context of art history.
A walk through the famous Gallery of Maps, Pinecone Courtyard and Belvedere Courtyard is an unforgettable experience - an opportunity to be completely immersed in more than 2,000 years of art. Although it’s impossible to see the entire extent of the Vatican’s enormous collection, on your Vatican Museums private tour you’ll be able to optimize your time, seeing a selection of unmissable highlights along with some hidden treasures.
St Peter’s Basilica tour: millennia of art, history and faith
After exiting the Sistine Chapel, you’ll be able to enter St Peter’s Basilica directly, without having to wait in line.
Perhaps the most impressive part of a private tour of the Vatican is an in-depth visit to St Peter’s Basilica - the very heart of the Christian faith. Built on the site of St Peter’s tomb, the basilica has been enriched over the centuries by the hands of countless artists and architects. As you admire masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s Pieta’ and walk around Bernini’s spectacular baldachin, you’ll understand how the basilica can be awe-inspiring even for those without faith. During your visit to St Peter’s Basilica your guide will tell you the fascinating story of the basilica within the context of Christian history, from its origins as a burial ground to its current state of splendour and international importance.
The Basilica of St. Peter's may be subject to unscheduled closings and late openings for religious ceremonies. We do not provide refunds for last-minute closures of St. Peter's Basilica while your guide will still give you a introduction to the Basilica, should you wish to return in your own time during your visit of Rome.
You will meet your guide at a designated meeting point nearby the Vatican Museums. Details, including a map, upon booking.
The Vatican Museums are vast and contain numerous steps and stairways. Comfortable shoes and a bottle of water are strongly recommended
Nov 09, 2018
James (Jim) Potter
Oct 30, 2018
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!