Have you ever wondered what is behind a locked door? Often it is not important but when we are talking about one of the most amazing places in the world....it usually is. Now you have a chance to discover the marvels of The Vatican that very few people will ever get to. Our OFF LIMITS tour will open doors for you. Besides all the classic wonderful highlights, you get very special access to some other areas.
It is said that every journey starts with a single step. As you go back through time, learn that the Vatican Museum started with just one statue, albeit one of incredible intricacy and tragedy in its depiction. In 1506, a statue named Laocoön and his sons was discovered in the garden of a vineyard close to the church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Pope Julius II sent Giuliano De Sangallo and Michelangelo to appraise the discovery. On hearing their praises of the find, the Pope purchased the statue from the vineyard owner. One month later it was put on public display. In 2006 The Vatican Museums celebrated their 500th anniversary. In 2017 The Vatican was to reach 6m visitors, which makes it one of the most popular museums in the world. Probably the biggest factor in this success story is the Sistine Chapel with the masterpieces in Frescoes by Michelangelo. Prior to the reopening of the Chapel in 1994, after a 14 year restoration, the visitor numbers were abysmally low. Now the word has spread. As there is so much to see, these days the Vatican is slowly opening up more and more, often only on a very restricted basis. These extras are particularly special and we are sure you will be very happy to enjoy them!
Head to see the Niccoline Chapel. This very small chapel was built for Pope Nicholas V. Though small in size, it is astoundingly beautiful, almost assaulting your eyes with its perfection. The blue vault depicted with stars leads down to corners depicting the Four Evangelists. Glorious frescoes by Fra Angelico adorn the walls with scenes from the lives of St Stephen and St Lawrence.
I often think that the phrase “The best gifts come in small packages” was created for this chapel. It is truly a gift to see.
Then we will be entering THE BRAMANTE STAIRCASE. The first use of the “double helix" in architecture. Many years before the discovery of DNA, the architectural marvel used it to massive acclaim. This was a privileged way to enter the Papal apartments but, equally importantly, it was a way for donkeys and mules to carry large and weighty items into the Palace.
Continue onwards, as all the mysteries of The Vatican open to you. The wondrous Sistine Chapel is the final area to see inside The Vatican and you get to leave it through a special exit that will take us directly to The St Peter’s Basilica without any lines to delay us.
As with all our Private Tours, your guide is your personal assistant and font of knowledge. Please ask any questions you have. They will be delighted to answer you.
The Vatican Museum could in some ways be described as a modern wonder of the world, no one could have ever imagined what it would become. Much of what you see was never put there as a museum, it was just there! Over many centuries and through gifts and often the plunders of war, this great collection has been amassed. We have opened a few more doors for you and we are sure you will have many wonderful memories of this very special tour.
This 5 hour tour is a light walk. There are a few stairs but nothing too strenuous.
- Please bring an ID document for children as proof of age for the reduced price tickets.
- The time may be changed according to tickets availability. If necessary we will contact you with confirmation.
- In case the Basilica of St. Peter is closed for religious functions, you will spend longer time in the Vatican galleries with your private guide. The Basilica is a Church and as such the Vatican can decide to use it for religious functions without notice.
- This tour operates in all weather conditions.
- This tour is not wheelchair accessible but may be customized to meet this requirement upon special request.
- Please note that, for disabled visitors with certified invalidity of more than 74%, the Vatican Museums offers free entry that is extended to a companion for visitors who are not self sufficient. To benefit from this, make sure you mention it at the time of booking so that our staff may handle your request.