Make sure you see everything, with our Once in a Lifetime Extended Tour of the Vatican. Visit St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Museums and gain a special access to the Niccoline Chapel, Bramante Staircase and Cabinet of the Masks!
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A visit to the Vatican State is an experience no one touring Rome can skip, but most people only enter inside the Sistine Chapel, the Basilica and part of the Museums, ignoring the many other wonders that the place hides. Whilst St. Peter’s Church is open for everyone to visit for free and the Museums and Sistine Chapel are easily accessible to anyone buying a ticket, there are restricted areas of the Vatican Museums that are usually inaccessible, containing priceless pieces of art and architecture: Bramante Staircase, Niccoline Chapel and Cabinet of the Masks.
Your Once in a Lifetime Extended tour of the Vatican will start just outside the entrance to the Vatican Museums. Here you will meet your private guide, one of the best official guides with a degree either in Art History or Archaeology. You will enter the Museums right away at 9 am, thanks to our pre-booked skip-the-line tickets! Your visit will start off with the restricted areas of the Cabinet of the Masks and to the Niccoline Chapel, usually closed to the public and a visit to the other areas of the Museums, including the Raphael Rooms.
The Cabinet of the Masks takes its name from the precious mosaics appearing in the centre of the floor, pieces of art coming several sections of Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli, near Rome. Amongst the art pieces on display there are several statues representing female subjects: a reproduction of the Three Graces; one of a nympha, and a series of statues of Aphrodite inspired by Greek originals.
The Niccoline Chapel owes its name from its patron, Pope Nicholas V, who had it built for use as his private chapel. Among the several works of art contained, what will leave you breathless are the amazing frescoes paintings made by Fra Angelico and his assistants, depicting two of the earliest Christian martyrs; Episodes from the Life of St. Stephen and scenes from the life of St. Laurence. Look up and take in the view of the vault painted blue, decorated with stars, and figures of the Four Evangelists in the corners.
At 11 am your Extended Tour of the Vatican will continue with an access to the esquisite Bramante Staircase: centuries before the DNA was discovered, the gifted artist from Tuscany created a staircase with the shape of a double-helix, something its contemporaries had obviously never seen before. The purpose of this staircase, though, was very practical: it was once an entrance from street level to the Papal apartments, but it was built to accommodate even horses and mules carrying large items back and forth from the Papal Palaces.
Your tour will of course continue with the other highlight of the Vatican, Michelangelo’s masterpiece Sistine Chapel. Afterwards, a special passageway will bring you to St Peter’s Basilica, so that you avoid again the line to enter the Basilica. Your guide will explain all about the most important Basilica in the world, pointing out the art and architecture that enrich the massive Church.
In front of the entrance to the Vatican Museums, by the marble arch at the bottom of the steps.
PLEASE NOTE: in case the Basilica of St. Peter is closed for religious functions, you will spend longer time in the Vatican galleries with your private guide. The Basilica is a Church and as such the Vatican can decide to use it for religious functions without notice.
DRESS CODE: Please must make sure they can cover their knees and shoulders. Entry might be refused in the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Church, if you fail to follow the Vatican's dress code.