Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel
Before anything else on this in-depth Vatican tour, visit the Sistine Chapel before it’s open to the general public. Since the chapel is inside the museums, entrance is included in your Vatican tour. Now that the chapel is restored, every detail and color used in the treasured work of art is visible.
Since the Sistine Chapel is a place of worship, speaking inside is prohibited. This also means you must cover your shoulders and knees, or you might be denied entry. We understand the summers in Rome can be hot, so a great alternative is to bring a shawl/scarf/sweater with you. We provide you with a map/handout for reference outside the chapel, while your guide explains the significance of Michelangelo’s artwork. Use the map when you are inside the chapel for orientation.
The Vatican Pinacoteca
Arranged through a series of rooms, in chronological order and divided by art school, the Pinacoteca is home to paintings by the likes of Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian, Leonardo, Guido Reni and Giotto.
Highlights of the Vatican Museums
Explore the Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries and our personal favorite, the Gallery of the Maps. Based on painted topographical maps of Italy by Dominican Italian friar Ignazio Danti, the Gallery of Maps predates a unified Italy by nearly 300 years. The painted frescoes reveal how Renaissance Italians saw themselves and their surroundings.
Raphael was one of Rome's most famous artists who encompassed all the ideals of a Renaissance man. He designed and frescoed multiple rooms connected to the Vatican Museums. Among other masterpieces, see one of Raphael’s most famous works of art, The School of Athens.
St. Peter's Basilica and the Papal Tombs
Skip the lines to St. Peter’s Basilica and enter through a special door to enter the most opulent church in the world. Once inside, admire celebrated artwork including La Baldacchino, La Pieta, the Statue of St. Peter and more. Then, go underneath the church’s floors to visit the tombs of hundreds of Popes, as well as a Swedish Queen who converted to Roman Catholicism.
Important: Please note you cannot return to the Vatican Museums from St. Peter’s Basilica. If you want more time inside the museums, you must forgo the Basilica. Inform your guide at the beginning of the tour. Also, if you would like to stay in St. Peter's Basilica longer, don’t leave with your guide to take photos in the piazza.
St. Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro)
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