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Vatican, Rome

Written by Eva Stelzer. Posted in Day Tours, Italy, Trips

Guided tour of the Vatican

Private Tour of the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica – 4hrs

Vatican Tour

This tour includes a private guided tour of the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. Our guide will have all the vouchers to enter the museum so that you get to avoid the long lines.

The Vatican Museums contain one of the world’s greatest art collections. Housed in the richly decorated galleries and apartments of the Vatican Palace, the Museums claim to have the largest collection of classical sculpture in the world, plus extensive art works from the Etruscan, Egyptian, Early Christian, Renaissance and modern periods and the magnificent Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museums are rooted in the Renaissance, a period of renewed appreciation for classical civilization. It all started with Pope Julius II (1503-1513), who displayed a collection of ancient sculptures in the Cortile Ottagono. The Renaissance popes hired the best artists in the western world, such as Fra Angelico, Michelangelo and Raphael, to decorate their palace apartments and chapels, including the famous Sistine Chapel.

The Sistine Chapel was commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV, from whom it derives its name, in 1475. It was designed to be – and still is – the pope’s chapel and the site of papal elections. Thanks to the extraordinary talent of Michelangelo Buonarroti the Sistine Chapel has become one of the most famous art galleries in the western world. The barrel-vaulted ceiling is entirely covered by the famous frescoes painted by Michelangelo for Julius II between 1508 and 1512. More than twenty years later, Michelangelo was summoned back by Paul III to paint the Last Judgement on the wall behind the altar. He worked on it from 1536 to 1541. The famous Sistine ceiling depicts scenes from Genesis in dramatic and moving detail, while The Last Judgment on the end wall is striking and powerful. As if that were not enough, the side walls are covered with important Renaissance frescoes by other artists, depicting biblical scenes and contemporary popes.  Before getting to visit the Chapel, we invite you to a virtual tour: http://www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/sistina_vr/index.html

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From the Sistine Chapel you will directly enter St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the holiest sites in Christendom, dominated by Michelangelo’s magnificent Dome. Contrary to what one might reasonably assume, St. Peter’s is not a cathedral. St. Peter’s Basilica stands on the traditional site where Peter – the apostle who is considered the first pope – was crucified and buried.

 

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