What To Expect
Our four-hour, critically acclaimed Arte Vaticana walking seminar is designed to give a comprehensive, in-depth introduction to the Vatican art collection and St. Peter's Basilica. Led by a scholar of Church history or an art historian, this is our most signature Vatican itinerary.
Armed with reserved entry tickets which guarantee a quick entry into the museum, we begin with the Vatican art collection, one of the world's great repositories of art. Although each walk evolves differently depending on our docent's area of expertise and the interests of the group, we generally start with a thorough overview of Papal history and the construction of the Papal Palace (now home to the Museums). We will often veer off to the chronologically-arranged picture gallery known as the Pinacoteca, which forms the perfect backdrop for a seminar on the history of painting from the late medieval to high Renaissance periods.
From here we will traverse the halls of the Vatican palaces, visiting the most important rooms of the museums including the ancient statuary collection of Julius II and the Papal apartments decorated by Raphael. By the time we reach the Sistine Chapel, we will have set the context to appreciate the cultural and artistic climate in which Michelangelo worked painting the ceiling and later the Last Judgment.
The last quarter of this walk covers St. Peter's Basilica, a vast church and the symbolic center of Catholicism. Our docent will navigate this vast space, visiting the major works by Michelangelo (the dome, La Pieta) and Bernini (the canopy), fixing the church and its artworks in a social and historical context. Finally, we will emerge into St. Peter's square, designed by Bernini.
Services of a docent
Meals and drinks
Tips and gratuities
Optional activity costs
Children below 12 years old are not permitted on this tour.
Minimum of 2 passengers per booking is required. Private walking seminars are available for solo travelers.
Tour will be operated as a guaranteed Small Group Tour with a maximum of 6 guests.
Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather.
Please come on time. If you miss the reservation time, you will forfeit your tickets and will not be allowed entry into the museums.
Please observe the Vatican's strict dress code requirements. Knees and shoulders must be covered.
Large bags and any sharp object will need to be deposited at the entrance. Please avoid bringing such objects to avoid hassle.
Photography without flash is allowed inside the Vatican museums EXCEPT in the Sistine Chapel, where photography is forbidden. Photography with and without flash is allowed in St. Peter's Basilica.
All our card payments are protected by thawte to give you peace of mind.
1 hour and 30 minutes