Duration: 3 hours
Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms, St. Peter’s Church, St. Peter’s Square. [optional: visit to Castel S. Angelo, in which case allow 4 hours total]
…Rome, where all the sins and scandals of the world gather and are glorified.
The Sistine Chapel is a place that needs no introduction. Every day, 20.000 people from all over the world flock under its dome and look up at its marvels. No matter your language, culture or religion, you will be captivated by this aesthetic experience. Its frescoes and paintings represent the history of the world and the destiny of all mankind. Still, the Sistine Chapel is not the only reason to visit the smallest state in the world. The Vatican Museums house the richest archeological collections in the world, including the statue of Laocoon and his Sons, the Apollo Belvedere, the Apoxyomenos, the Belvedere Torso, the Sarcophagi of St. Helena and St. Constantine, the Gallery of Tapestries and the Gallery of Maps (a fascinating bi-dimensional journey across Italy). Last but not least, we will visit the rooms whose walls were frescoed by Raffaello Sanzio. Our tour will end in the very heart of Christendom: St. Peter’s Basilica.
Those who wish to continue the tour will walk along Via della Conciliazione, majestic street linkind St. Peter’s with Castel Sant’Angelo. We will find out who once owned that sturdy fortress overlooking the Tiber and the city of Rome; what its function was; and the meaning of the statue of the archangel Michael which dominates the whole castle, or to be more precise, a unique example of castle-tomb. Once a Mausoleum for Hadrian and subsequently the residence of several wealthy Roman families, it was chosen as living quarters for the Popes because of its position (close to St. Peter’s) and its sturdiness (it was unassailable). We will look down from the Terrace of the Angel to take in the view over Sant’Angelo Bridge, the Bernini statues which decorate it, and the windings of the Tiber.