Complete Vatican Tour with Walks of Italy
Vatican Museums, Sistene Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica
Walks of Italy promote their guides as 5 star and easy to engage with experts. Well, this is certainly what we received during the Complete Vatican Tour with our guide, Tony, as we spent an informative and interesting 3.5 hours with our small family (as Tony called us) of 15 people exploring the highlights of the Vatican Museums, Sistene Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica.
First of all, the group is equipped with an audio headset so you won’t miss out on any details the tour guide shares with you along the way. The tour began as we skipped past the long entry line to the Vatican Museum, saving plenty of valuable time to spend inside. Once through security, we headed outside to some available photo boards with images of the Sistine Chapel for an introduction to the amazing area we would visit later. Tony used this opportunity to introduce us to the chapel as there is strictly no talking once inside. She explained where the most important paintings were and gave us some history behind the art, preparing us for when we reached the chapel later.
Moving on the Vatican Museum, Tony took us through the must-see highlights and gave us the need to know information for many sculptures, paintings, mosaics and tapestries. This tour includes the following at the Vatican Museum:
- Terrace overlooking St. Peter’s Basilica’s Dome
- Belvedere Courtyard with Apollo Belvedere & Laocoön & his sons
- Pinecone Courtyard
- Gallery of Tapestries
- Gallery of the Maps
- Room of the Immaculate Conception
- The four Raphael Rooms (Room of Constantine, Room of Heliodorus, Room of the Segnatura, Room of the Fire in the Borgo)
One of our favourite parts of the Vatican Museum was the Gallery of Maps. As soon as we stepped in this room, which is the longest gallery in the museum at 120m, we were amazed with the incredible detail that filled the room. From the floor to the ceiling, the 40 map paintings lined the hallway and depict Italy and its Italian provinces in the 1500’s. Pope Gregory XIII commissioned Ignazio Danti to complete these pieces of topographical art in order to decorate the Vatican. It took 3 years to be be completed during 1580 and 1583. Don’t forget to also look up at the curved ceiling which displays a beautiful collection of artwork! Equal favourite part of the museum was the mosaic art work on the floor, some of which dates back to the third century!
The Gallery of Maps leads through to the Gallery of Tapestries and through to the Raphael Rooms where Tony detailed some of the most well known pieces by Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. This includes most famous frescos (and the image on your Vatican ticket), The School of Athens. Tony went through and explained who the important people were in the painting along with its meaning which taught us a lot. Without our amazing Walks of Italy guide, we would have been clueless of the amazing history and artwork in front of us!
Moving through to the Sistene Chapel, our group was given a very useful information sheet to help us enjoy Michelangelo‘s incredible work; the Last Judgement on the wall of the entrance and Sistene Chapel vault on the ceiling. It’s fascinating to remember while inside that he painted all of those areas himself over 4 years (including a one year hiatus)! The tour allowed us to spend 15 minutes inside the Chapel to truly appreciate what we were seeing. No talking or photos are allowed inside the Chapel.
The final stop of this tour is St. Peter’s Basilica; the largest Catholic Church in the world. The tour includes Skip the Line access, which we were very thankful for as we stood at the front of St. Peter’s Square and could see the entrance line stretching out into the distance for what seemed like forever! You don’t want to be stuck in this queue, especially during the hot Roman summer! Our fabulous guide again showed us the highlights of the Basilica and shared very interesting facts with us that we would not have learnt if we hadn’t taken part in the tour. The tour sadly comes to an end in the Basilica and we bid farewell to our unforgettable tour guide and lovely, small group.
We could not be more pleased that we took this tour with Walks of Italy as it allowed us to truly appreciate what a special place the Vatican is. Our guide was very dedicated to her work and this come across in the way she presented to us.
So are you heading to Rome? Don’t miss out on ticking another country off the list and visiting the Vatican City with Walks of Italy. You’ll truly get a memorable and informative experience that you won’t regret! Book your tour here!