This tour package guarantees your reservation to the Vatican and means that you avoid the infamous ticket line. You will however have to pay your entry fee on the day of your visit.
The Vatican Museums are among the finest in the world. They own and display the immense art collection amassed by the Roman Catholic Church over centuries. The collection is so vast that on one visit you can only hope to enjoy a small number of the treasures. Your expert guide will make sure you see all the most important pieces and also show you lesser known gems of the collections.
As well as its beautiful artworks the Vatican has a rich and often dark history. Your guide will hold you spellbound with stories of plots and political intrigue within the hallowed walls of the Holy See.
Highlights of the Vatican Museums include the following:
• Pio-Clementino Museum, full of ancient sculptures including the renowned Apollo Belvedere, a beautiful marble statue from classical antiquity rediscovered in the 15th century, and the celebrated Laocoön.
• Gallery of the Candelabra, which contains classical Roman sculpture from the 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD and has glorious painted ceilings.
• Gallery of Tapestries, full of beautiful Flemish tapestries made in Brussels from drawings by Raphael’s pupils.
• Gallery of Maps, where 40 maps representing papal properties in the 16th century are frescoed on to the walls.
The chief glory of The Vatican is The Sistine Chapel with its masterpieces by Michelangelo embellishing the ceilings and altar wall. Michelangelo was principally a sculptor and the glorious depictions of human bodies in the Sistine Chapel reflect the sculptor’s special skill. You will see many Michelangelo paintings that you recognize from books and posters, for example The Last Judgment and The Creation of Adam.
The Sistine Chapel was designed to be, and still is, the Pope's chapel and the site of papal elections.
You will also visit St. Peter’s Basilica. This massive late Renaissance church can hold 60,000 people, and is one of the holiest sites in Christendom. In Catholic tradition, it is the burial site of St. Peter, who was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus and first Bishop of Rome. It is believed that St. Peter's tomb is directly below the altar of the basilica and some historical evidence supports this.
In the first chapel on the right as you enter the Basilica, you will find Michelangelo’s masterpiece La Pietà. This famous sculpture shows the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion. Notice how the work balances the Renaissance ideals of classical beauty with naturalism.
Your 3-hour walking tour ends at the Vatican and you will need to make your own arrangements for getting to your next destination.