Nothing in Rome or, quite possibly, the world, is as fascinating in its immensity as the palatial maze of more than 1,000 rooms and corridors known as the Vatican Museums. There are in fact 8 museums, 5 galleries, the Apostolic Library, the picture Gallery that displays many of the world’s most famous paintings, the Borgia and Raphael rooms, and of course the Sistine Chapel.
The Sistine Chapel is the private Chapel of popes and the site of the secret conclaves at which cardinals elect new popes. The awesome vaulted chamber is named after Popa Sixtus IV, who ordered it to be built. It is covered with superb frescoes by Perugino, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio etc. From 1508 to 1512 Michelangelo painted the ceiling with the saga of humanity from the creation to the Flood, the largest work ever accomplished by a single artist. Twenty-three years later he painted the last judgement on the Sistine’s altar wall.
In the Museums are housed some of the finest surviving ancient sculptures. Among them is the only copy of the Aphrodites of Cnidos by Praxiteles, considered the best Greek star ever found, together witht the tortured marble Laoocon group.
St. Peter’s basilica, the largest catholic church ever built, was consecrated in 1626. It involved a century of work and the architectural schemes of Bramante, Raphael , Sangallo and Michelangelo. St. Peter’s church spreads over more than 1.5ha (3.5 acres) . Beneath the soaring cupola is Bernini’s bronze baldacchino (canopy) above the high altar at which only the pope can celebrate mass. Amid the basilica’s breathtaking array of gold, mosaic, marble and gilded stucco, the supreme masterpiece of Michelangelo’s Pietà, a superb marble statue of the Virgin cradling the body of Christ.
St. Peter’s Square, opening out as if to embrace all mankind was completed in less than 11 years (1656-67) by Rome’s leading baroque sculptor, Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
Please keep in mind that every itinerary is to be used as a guideline rather than a fixed tour. All of our experiences are designed for private parties, we are happy to tailor the itinerary to exactly what you want. Whatever you need, you can trust us to handle every little detail.