Visiting the various galleries, viewing priceless art and sculptures from the masters will leave you with countless memories but the best is left till last. The stunning Sistine Chapel with its remarkable ceiling frescoes by Michelangelo you will be left speechless. Departing the Sistine through a dedicated privileged exit you will be able to enter St Peter’s Basilica without having to wait in the huge lines of St Peter’s Square.
This is a wonderful tour for all the family and normally the group is around 20 people, small enough to get to know each other. As you enter the Museums you will see to your right the exit. Above it os a lovely carving of Michelangelo and Raphael. They are the stars of the show but there is so much more to see. Make sure as the tour ends that you leave at least half an hour to go inside St Peter’s Basilica a truly incredible experience. When you enter go directly to your right and locate Michelangelo’s Pieta. This is one of the most emotional statues you will ever see.
The Vatican as you will see it today is a sedate and peaceful place. It has not always been so even in fairly recent times in Italian history. The Vatican City State (all 800 acres of it) was granted this status only in 1929 on the signing of the Lateran Treaty. Before this there was a near 60 year stand of with the Italian government which had in 1870 had unified the various factions and kingdoms around what is now Italy into one country with one governing body. It had also been decided that State and Church must be separated. The Vatican must relinquish Vatican territories and for this there would be a huge financial settlement. A long time before this there had been much turmoil and The Vatican had suffered several attacks. In the 9th century after being attacked by Saracens Pope Leo IV had the 12m high wall put around the Papal territory also surrounding the Basilica. As the New Basilica was built its huge size put it outside. However in 1309 all the area was abandoned for 68 years as the Papacy was to move to france. At this time the Vatican was to fall into a state of disrepair. It was not until c1450 Pope Nicholas V started to really create The Vatican City as you will see it today. He commissioned the Apostolic Palace that has been used by all his predecessors. It has certainly been a turbulent history.
- Please bring an ID document for children as proof of age for the reduced price tickets.
- 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.