This beautiful room is so named for its incredible floor transported from Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli. The floor is a near 2000 year old intricate mosaic of a mask. This room is not open to the public and we will be escorted by a guard to visit. We will have instant entry when we arrive at The Vatican of course, circumventing the huge public lines. This is a very special private tour and, by providing you with one of our exceptional private guides, your visit will be a lifelong memory.
You will meet your guide at the Vatican at 7.30am. You will start straight away learning about the history of this incredible place and its formation over 1500 years of history. Entering at 8am, an hour before the general public, you will see The Vatican a lot more peacefully than most.
You will move through the major galleries, witnessing the wonderful collections amassed over hundreds of years. In reality the museum started with one item being put on display in 1506. This was a marble statue discovered in a garden of a vineyard near to Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome: Laocoön and His Sons. This was assessed by Michelangelo and Pope Julius II purchased it from the vineyard owner. One month later it was to go on public display. Before long, we will liaise with a Vatican guard who will give us alone entry to The Cabinet of The Masks. Situated in the small Palace of Pope Innocent VIII, architect Alessandro Dori was commissioned in 1771 to change one of the rooms in the tower for museum use. In 1780 Michelangelo Simonetti restructured the hall. Artists Cristoforo Unterperger and Domenico de Angelis did the beautiful stucco decoration and artwork. The whole room has a very female theme with a series of statues of Aphrodite, a perfect reproduction of the Three Graces and a Nympha. This is a truly incredible room and to see it in such a private and peaceful way is a great honor. We will soon be at the Sistine Chapel, the biggest magnet of every visitor to Rome. If you are to see it for your first time, be prepared. Nothing you have seen in photographs or other media comes close to being there. The impact on you will stay with you forever. The frescos on the ceiling were created by Michelangelo over 4 years and now due to awareness of their importance, hopefully they will be around for many centuries. Interestingly for many years they were unable to be viewed. Due to smoke from the Conclaves and many thousands of candles used over centuries, the ceiling had become black. This was to take a huge restoration project, 14 years to clean using cotton buds as the cleaning tool. As you enter the chapel, if you look at the ceiling above the entry door, you will see a black square which is how the ceiling was before restoration. You will have some time to contemplate this masterpiece in silence and contemplate its perfect beauty.
We will exit through a privileged passage directly to St Peter’s Basilica, where one of the first things we will be able to enjoy is another Michelangelo creation. The spectacular Pieta is located extreme right to the entry. One of the rare works to be signed by Michelangelo, The Pieta is an incredibly say sculpture of Mary holding her deceased son Jesus, who is depicted as the size of a child.
Leaving the Basilica we exit onto the huge St Peter’s Square: the largest piazza in Italy. In some ways it has a simplistic beauty, but looking deeper it is a work of architectural perfection by the master of Baroque. Atop the colonnades stand statues of many of the early saints. While the massive central obelisk stands majestically and freely on 4 brass lions.
An incredible morning in an incredible place. This is a wonderful tour for discerning travellers who want that little bit more. We offer this along with one of Rome’s most proficient expert guides to give you the experience you seek. This tour is strictly limited so please reserve your place early.
- 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.