Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums Tour
The Vatican City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the only site to encompass a whole country. It is the smallest state in the world, having its own postal service, newspaper, radio and even its own army, The Pontifical Swiss Guard established in 1506 by Pope Julius II.
Despite its small size, it holds the greatest concentration of art treasures in the world! Our guide will explain the history and evolution of this City State, explaining how the poor tomb of a humble fisherman – Peter – has become the global center of Christianity. Your tour will begin at the entrance of The Vatican Museums, home to an incredible collection of art, gathered by Popes over the ages.
The Vatican museums are over 14,5 kilometers long, it is said that if you spent only 1 minute admiring each painting it would take you 4 years to complete the circuit! So we will concentrate on showing you the most important pieces while absorbing the art that surrounds us. We will see examples of ancient statuary, like the famous Apollo Belvedere, visit the private apartments of Pope Julius II that include the marvelous Rooms of Raphael, with the school of Athens fresco, painted by the master and his pupils. But what will certainly leave you breathless is the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo, so called because it was made at the behest of Pope Sixtus IV, and is now known as the home of the papal conclave.
Following the Museums we will visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the most important church to the Catholic faith, which took almost 120 years to build (since the beginning of the sixteenth to the first half of the seventeenth century), involving many artists, including Bramante, Antonio da Sangallo, Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porta and Carlo Maderno. The interior is a veritable treasure of masterpieces, including the Pieta, by Michelangelo. Your attention is drawn to the majestic bronze canopy, 29 meters high, placed at the center of the Basilica by Bernini, located directly above the burial place of St. Peter. We will end our tour overlooking St. Peter’s Square, (Piazza di San Pietro) and the colonnade designed and built by Bernini (completed in 1667). At 314 meters long and 240 meters wide it is the largest square in Rome. Bernini (with the help of his pupils) designed the 140 statues of saints which decorate the colonnade. Bernini’s architectural masterpiece was designed to symbolically “embrace” the entire Christian people. At the center of the square stands the Egyptian obelisk that once stood in the circus of Caligula, where according to tradition, Peter was martyred.
Vatican, The Tour
You and your English Speaking Guide will visit the Vatican where you will begin your tour. You will enter the museum regardless of the line and, with the help of your skillful guide, you will discover two millennia of art and history at the Vatican. You will make your way along the Vatican Galleries and Passageways including Raphael’s Rooms, until you reach the breathtaking Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s masterpiece. Finally, you will visit the Basilica of St. Peter, where your guide will lead you through more than four centuries of history including masterpieces such as Bernini’s Baldacchino and Michelangelo’s Pietà and the Dome of Saint Peter’s, the tallest dome in Rome.
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