Visit the Vatican galleries, viewing priceless art and sculptures from the masters that will leave you with countless memories. The stunning Sistine Chapel with its remarkable ceiling frescoes by Michelangelo is bound to leave you speechless. Depart the Sistine through a dedicated privileged exit that allows entry into St Peter’s Basilica without having to wait in the huge lines of St Peter’s Square.
Normally a group of 20 people maximum, this is a wonderful tour for the whole family as it is small enough to get to know others and enjoy an experience together. As you enter the Museums admire the lovely carvings of Michelangelo and Raphael located near its exit. They are the stars of the show but there is so much more to see within the Vatican Galleries. As the tour nears the end, ensure you leave at least half an hour to visit St Peter’s Basilica for a truly incredible experience. When you enter go directly to your right and locate Michelangelo’s Pietà. This is one of the most emotional statues you will ever see.
The Vatican as you will see it today is a 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 off with the Italian government, which had unified the various factions and kingdoms around what is now Italy into one country with one governing body in 1870. It had also decided that State and Church must be separated. The Vatican had to relinquish Vatican territories and this meant 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 a 12m high wall put around the Papal territory also surrounding the Basilica. As the New Basilica was built, its huge size put it outside of this perimeter. However, in 1309, all the area was abandoned for 68 years as the Papacy was moved to France. At this time the Vatican fell into a state of disrepair. It was not until c1450 Pope Nicholas V started to really create The Vatican City you see 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.