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Skip the lines to see the best of the Vatican City! This is the perfect small group tour for those who want to see the major highlights of the Vatican City. Your tour guide will put a strong focus on the Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica, while picking a few of the most interesting art pieces and artifacts in the Vatican Museums to explore.
In the Vatican Museum, your guide will take you on a highlights tour of the most interesting artifacts, sculptures and artwork that have great stories and scandals behind them.
During the Vatican Museums portion of the tour, you'll get to visit the picturesque Vatican garden, Cortile della Pigna. Your local guide will take you to the most interesting galleries within the museums – the Rotunda, Gallery of Tapestries and Gallery of Maps. Each of these rooms contain ornate ceilings with the walls decorated with ancient statues, frescoes and tapestries. Your guide will point out a few tricks used by the artists, which will enhance your appreciation of their works of art, as well as their sense of humor!
Of course, the greatest gem of the Vatican collection is not a painting on any wall, but an entire ceiling and wall completely frescoed by the greatest genius of the Renaissance period – Michelangelo Buonarotti. From the Creation of Adam to the Last Judgement, Michelangelo dedicated some of his greatest years to the Sistine Chapel, working day and night – even sleeping in the chapel – to satisfy the popes of Rome. He also expressed his frustration with his employers with jokes hidden in his work, which only he would understand – today these have been uncovered and understood and your guide will explain these to you so you too can share in Michelangelo’s private jokes!
The final stop in your tour of the Vatican is the Basilica of St Peter. Known as the greatest architectural masterpiece in Rome, St Peter's took over a century to complete. Your guide will tell you the story of the nine master architects who each carried the project forward until their deaths; including how that genius Michelangelo – again! – would be the one to finally complete the design for the most challenging aspect of the ambitious design - the great dome which is one of the most iconic images of Rome today.
Inside St Peter’s you will visit a selection of the many ornate monuments, statues and mosaics (no paintings in the Basilica – find out why from your guide!), and stand in front of the sacred altar of St Peter, from where the Pope says mass on very special occasions.
This tour is perfectly suited to those who want to see the best highlights of the Vatican without too much walking or too many in-depth art discussions.