"Tiffany is undoubtedly the best tour guide we have ever had (and we have been on a few tours). Her insights and knowledge about art, about Vatican history, about everything having to do with the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's were simply brilliant. Our appreciation of the Vatican and its art was immeasurably improved by her perceptive insights. She has a fantastic, clear, delightful speaking voice." Waswo Columbus, Ohio
Explore the maze of the Vatican City and get up close to the Vatican Museums' world reknown art collection. The Catholic Church has been collecting some of the most treasured art for centuries. A visit to its museums will delight you with its beloved and sometimes surprising art. The Vatican Museums were founded 500 years ago with a discovery of a sculpture in a vineyard near Rome; within a week, the sculpture was the first art piece of what became the museums' 54 galleries.
At present, the Vatican City boasts a stellar roster of artwork. The core artistry we will visit on this Vatican Tour will be by Michelangelo, Raphael and Bernini. Along the way, brace yourselves for the stories which you will hear: the historic legends, myths, scandals, and secrets of the smallest country in the world, the Vatican City.
Inside the Vatican Museums, you'll be surrounded by both ancient masterpieces such as the Belvedere Apollo, a Roman second century copy from a Greek bronze original possibly by Leochares (330-320 B.C.), and Renaissance masterpieces such as the Mass of Bolsena by Raphael. Before silently revelling your senses inside the Sistine Chapel (there is no talking allowed inside this holy site), your Presto guide will recap the Biblical Story of Creation, the Downfall of Humanity, and the Story of Noah, which Michelangelo depicted in his world-renowned frescos. Whilst exploring the making of the Sistine Chapel, we will take a peek into the politics of the Vatican City's art commissions and get to know the artists' with the help of your guide's favorite anecodotes. Finally we will visit St. Peter's Basilica, named after St. Peter, the first Pope and the modern day patron saint of Rome. Architect Donato Bramante designed the Basilica with a precise symbolism which according to Arnaldo Bruschi can be "schematised – in accord with an ancient, mostly Byzantine tradition – as a cube (the world) with four extending arms (the four parts of the world), and a dome above it (heaven)." Inside the Basilica we will find another of Michelangelo's masterpieces, his sculpture, the Pieta', and more.
Semi-Private Insider Note By limiting each of our semi-private tours to 10 guests, our guests are able to pose questions with ease and our guides are able respond with care to each individual guest. Not only do our small groups provide an excellent learning platform for travelers, but they also become a meeting ground where guests form friendships with like-minded, intellectually curious, and culturally conscious travelers.
8 AM Semi-Private Insider Notes Our exclusive early bird option privies us to enter the Vatican museums one hour before the museums open to the public. This early morning entry grants us a more spacious Vatican Museums visit and rewards you with a nice early morning start to your day. In addition, as a recognized tour operator with the Vatican Museums for over seven years, Presto Tours will also be able to utilize the special shortcut from the Sistine Chapel which leads us directly into St. Peter's Basilica.
Private Tour Insider Notes We welcome you to reserve your tour for your preferred start time. We recommend an 8 AM start. Note that if you would like to include St. Peter's Basilica on your tour, we invite you to select a start time of 1 PM or earlier as tour guides are not permitted to give commentary in the church after 4 PM when the daily evening Mass begins. For Wednesday visitors, note that St. Peter's Basilica is closed Wednesday mornings during the Papal Audience. If you would like to include the interior of St. Peter's Basilica on your tour, we invite you to select a start time of between 11 AM and 1 PM.