Highlights of this tour

  • Pine cone courtyard
  • Pio Clementino museum
  • Sistine Chapel and main galleries (Candelabras, Tapestries and Geographical maps.)
  • Saint Peter Basilica and its Square

ROME – THE UNFORGETTABLE VATICAN EXPERIENCE

Our Vatican Experience – The Vatican Museums are a  spectacular constellation of  extraordinary museums of any kind, age and culture.

Thanks to the foresight and awareness of many Popes the collections range from Ancient Sculpture to Contemporary Art, include ethnographic findings, Egyptian and Etruscan Art, arrases, geographic maps, and, of course, some of the absolute jewels of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque periods.

What binds all these different worlds together is the attention of the Catholic Church for the human being as a creator. The artistic invention as the only possible form of comparison between Man and his Creator.

With this leading idea in mind and considering our limited amount of time our Vatican Experience will focus on the most significant masterpieces of the  Roman Age and of the Renaissance.

The energetic group of the ‘Laocoon and his sons’, the much admired ‘Apollo of the Belvedere’, the Belvedere Torso, the fantastic ‘marble zoo’ will be our highlights of the Ancient Roman period.

Giotto, Raphael, Caravaggio will be our stars at the Pictures’ Gallery.

We shall also bring to life the greatest Popes’ relationships with the celebrated masters of the Renaissance and of the Baroque.

And we’ll also tell you about the interaction between the artists themselves.

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How the Franciscan Pope Sixtus IV Della Rovere invited a quartet of super professional Florentine painters (the ‘dream team’ starred

Perugino, Botticelli, Rosselli, Ghirlandaio) to decorate the walls of the Great Chapel.

How his nephew, Pope Julius II Della Rovere, on the steps of his uncle, convinced the young sculptor and architect Michelangelo to become a painter and redo the ceiling of the same chapel (now called Sistine Chapel…) that had been damaged by some cracks…

How the same Julius II in the same year (1508) invited the ‘enfant prodige’, Raphael, to paint his personal rooms in the Vatican. How Raphael portrayed some of his colleagues in the ‘School of Athens’ and in the other paintings.

How Raphael’s uncle, the architect Bramante, brought his nephew on the scaffoldings of the Sistine Chapel to admire the bewildering vault with the Old and New Testament frescoed with great physical stress by Michelangelo in just 4 years.

How some 30 years later Pope Paul III Farnese, in a completely different atmosphere (Rome had been sacked in 1527, Martin Luther had successfully spread his ideas all over) called once again Michelangelo, old and tired, to complete the Sistine Chapel with his surprising and terrible Doomsday…

After the experience at the Vatican Museums we will explore Saint Peter’s Basilica, the most important Catholic Church in the world, a ‘magnet’ that attracts millons of visitors and pilgrims every year.

Built and rebuilt on the exact spot where St Peter was buried almost 2,000 years ago, what we see today was started in 1506 and is due to the work of different architects: Lorenzo Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

At the center of the enormous St Peter’s Square a huge Egyptian Obelisk acts as a pivot and as a sundial.

Bernini conceived the ‘round oval’ shape of the gigantic colonnade as the embrace of the Church, that brings the heretics to the true Church and the infidels to the true Faith.

The colonnade also shelters tourists and pilgrims of any age from sun and rain.

Visiting the Basilica’s interior can be overwhelming and disorienting, as everything is enormous, and the amount of marbles, gold, statues, paintings can make you feel small and insignificant!

Probably any visitor will recognize Michelangelo’s ‘Pietà’, an image of soothing beauty that the great Florentine sculpted at the age of 24, seriously damaged by a vandal in 1972 and impeccably restored.

Another comforting icon is the ancient bronze statue of St Peter in Throne (already existing in the former Basilica, built by Constantine in the 4th century), in front of which many famous visitors (like Dante Alighieri and Giotto) would pray, and whose slippers are almost totally worn out by the kisses of millions’ visitors.

As a final marvel we’ll stop in awe a the foot of Bernini’s Canopy over the main altar.

The bronze for the 4 giant columns came from the Pantheon. Such as the measures of the Sistine Chapel are the same of the Temple of King Solomon in Jerusalem, the twisted shape of these 95 feet tall is reminiscent of Boaz and Yakin, the columns that stood at the entrance of the same Temple.

Four similar columns were present also in the old St Peter’s Basilica and were ‘recycled’ by Bernini that inserted them in the four great pillars of the new church, consecrated in 1626.

If you are interested in our Vatican Experience tour you might also like our Caravaggio & Bernini tour.

Cost of this tour

  • This tour lasts 4 hours, 370 euro for private parties up to 6 people
  • For larger parties: please apply to email
  • Entrance fee:  28 euro per person.
  • We will take care of reserving admission to Vatican Museums for you but we need to book at least 15 days in advance!

Dress Code and advice

  • No sleeveless garments, no shorts.
  • Short sleeves and knee high is ok!
  • Due to security checks there might be slowdowns at the entrances of the monuments, for the same reason back-packs and big bags are not allowed.