It’s definitely on most people’s bucket list – visit Vatican City and see the famous Sistine Chapel ceilings – Michelangelo’s masterpiece and the spectacular grandeur that is Rome. Not only did we get an expertly guided tour of the Sistine Chapel, but also of the magnificent Vatican Museums themselves. We saw the illumination of the Papal Palace with stunning sunset colors. Walks of Italy’s Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums After Hours Tour allowed this without the crushing crowds or the heat. A HUGE bonus!
The hardest part of writing this post was deciding which of the staggering number of masterpieces to show. It was truly a case of extreme sensory overload – magnificent tapestries, world-renown frescoes, maps from the earliest recordings, ceilings, walls, every inch covered with astounding beauty. Thankfully, our guide Jowita kept us from being completely overwhelmed. It was through her patient and knowledgeable tutelage that we were able to get so much more out our visit than if we had gone in alone.
Vatican City itself can fit eight times into New York City’s Central Park! That’s such a small place to house such extraordinary treasures, but since 67AD when the first church was built on St. Peter’s grave, the treasures have been accumulating.
After touring the vast Vatican Museums it was time for our visit to the famous Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel itself was built by Pope Sixtus IV in the 1400’s as the Pope’s personal chapel. Because of the intricacies of Michelangelo’s famous works, Jowita handed out a detailed printout of the specific sections for us to study before entering the Chapel. Sitting outside in the courtyard of the Vatican Museums at sunset while being taught a brief history lesson was a highlight of this tour. It also provided a depth of understanding we wouldn’t have received just looking at the ceiling panels on our own.
The Sistine Chapel pictures in this post are from the print-out we were given – as photos are strictly not permitted within the Chapel itself. Everywhere else in the Vatican Museums, it was fine to take photographs.
We saw so many people wandering aimlessly through the vast areas, we felt very fortunate to have had our guide Jowita telling us the highlights room by room. This is likely a once-in-a-lifetime visit, so for us it was very important to get the most out of it. You could do it yourself, but we would highly recommend having a guide to get the full benefit.
Check out some of the other great tours from Walks of Italy:
Walks of Italy generously provided our tour at no cost in exchange for a review. Our take? This tour was a highlight of our time in Rome. It flowed nicely and we were captivated by the depth of knowledge our guide shared with us. Seeing the Papal Palace at sunset was a breathtaking moment. Seeing the master works of the Vatican Treasures…amazing!