The Vatican Museums Tour Itinerary

The tour itinerary can be personalized according to any visitors’ special request.The standard schedule includes all most important museum sections.
The first step of this tour includes a detailed visit of the main sections of the Vatican Musuems, then a visit into the Sistine Chapel follows. The tour ends to visit the Saint Peter's Basilica.

THE ITINERARY inside the Vatican Museums

This tour starts in the Cortile della Pigna, also called the Courtyard of the Pinecone, which gets its name from the enormous bronze Pinecone dated back to Roman period. The Pinecone originally decorated a fountain in the Roman baths of Agrippa. Always in this court yard, visitors can admire a pair of bronze Roman peacocks from Hadrian’s mausoleum which stand on either side of the Pinecone. While in the Courtyard of the Pinecone, the guide will focus his explanation on the main architectural elements of the Vatican Palaces located all around the couryard and talk about the buildings history.
The next step is at the Belvedere Courtyard represents a very important portion of the Vatican Museums Greco-Roman section housing famous antiquities such as the Laocoon statue and the Apollo Belvedere. The Laocoon depicts an ancient Greek story of a Trojan priest and his two sons, killed by sea serpents during the Trojan war. This sculpture was especially popular in the Renaissance as many great artists studied its anatomy. The Apollo Belvedere represents the Greek god Apollo, this statue has been considered the greatest sculpture of ancient classic times.

In the Room of the Muses some other important sculptures are displayed; in particular the guide will drive the visitors’ attention to the Torso del Belvedere - a celebrated fragment of an ancient Greek statue by Apollonius. Actually, this sculpture is especially famous because Michelangelo studied it for its accurate anatomy. The influence this sculpture had on Michelangelo can be clearly recognized in Michelangelo’s fresco in the Sistine Chapel. The likeness to the Christ is very evident especially in the construction of the anatomical twisting of his body.
The following tour step is the Round Room where visitors can admire the Bust of Zeus, the golden statue of Hercules, Hadrian’s statue, and the enormous porphyry tub that was originally in Nero’s Golden House. The size of this tub gives visitors an idea of how the famously indugent Roman ruler lived.
The tour continues in the Greek Cross Room where two porphyry sarcophagi belonging to Saint Constance and to Saint Helen, the daughter and mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great who legalized Christianity are displayed.

Then the guide will lead you to the upper floor to visit the Candelabra Gallery completely decorated by tundre of amazing marble candelabra originally located in Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli. In this gallery there are also remarkable Roman copies of ancient Greek statues.
The following gallery is the so-called Gallery of Tapestries with its enormous antique tapestries commissioned in the 16th century by Pope Clement VII to decorate the Sistine Chapel. Next step is the fascinating Gallery of Maps, while walking along this gallery, visitors can admire the gorgeous Vatican gardens from the gallery windows.
After some minor rooms, you will reach the Raphael Rooms, originally the Papal residence, these rooms are covered almost entirely by frescoes painted by the Renaissance master, Raphael and partially by his students.
Room of the Segnatura – which originally was Pope’s the personal library and office and was the first the Raphael painted. Among the frescoes which decorate this room, there is the worldwide famous School of Athens. Then visitors will admire the frescoes of the
Room of Helidorus, the most famous scene depicted in this room is The Deliverance of Saint Peter from Prison. The story is depicted in 3 episodes, and Raphael ingeniously incorporated the window grate into the story. Then the Room of the Fire in the Borgo – and the Hall of Constantine follow.


The tour last stop is in the Sistine Chapel. Because no talking is allowed in the chapel, the guide will talk about the crape decorations before entering the crape with the help of illustrated panels.
The chapel was decorated by world-renowned artists: Botticelli, Perugino, Ghirlandaio and Michelangelo.
The chapel Ceiling were commissioned by Pope Julius II to Michelangelo who painted them from 1508-1512. The painted area covers 930 square metres and contains over 300 figures, among them the Creation of Adam scene. The celeing perimeter is painted with the Biblical figures of the Prophets and the Sibyls.
Entrance wall is adorned by Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, depicting the Apocalypse as told in the book of Revelation. According to the Bible, Christ will return to judge all souls – the souls of the dead will rise from their graves to be judged if they are to go to heaven or hell. 


From the Sistine Chapel visitors move to the Saint Peter Basilica through an internal passage to avoid lines. Here the guide will comment the Basilica architecture, its wonderful mosaics and will highlight the most important art treasures hosted in this gorgeius church. The tour end in Piazza San Pietro.

If for some runespected reasons due to Pope's decision, the internal passage whcih links the Vatican Museums to the Basilica is closed, the tour itinerary has to be varied. The guide will suggest all possible alternatives to visitors.


Our guides in Rome

Italy Travels tour guides staff is represented by licensed guides of great experience and high level of professionalism, competence and excellence on their job. All Italy Travels guides are authorized by the provincial administration of Rome and most of them are art historians and teachers in art subjects.
All guided tours organized by Italy Travels always include pre-reserved museum tickets when museum tours are included in the tour itinerary. In this way visitors avoid waisting time waiting in line in front of museums ticket offices.

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Children under 6 years of age enter free. No ticket/reservation needed.