Hop on a private air-conditioned coach for a fully escorted journey to Castel Gandolfo , at your arrival you will be greeted by an official Vatican guide. Looking out over the green Alban hills you’ll see the impeccably landscaped Barberini Gardens. They were built on top of the Emperor Domitian's villa so there is plenty of history beneath the soil. As gardens go, these are some of the most beautiful in Italy. Begun in the 17th century, there are multiple influences apparent from imperial Rome to classical gardens and Renaissance styles. Here you will see the favorite locations of popes for reflective prayer such as the Path of Roses and the Magnolia Gardens.
Next, the Papal Palace. This 17th century building was chosen for its stunning views over the countryside which you can see from the Papal terrace. Built by Pope Urban VIII and designed for popes, the building offers a fascinating insight into papal life through their downtime. You’ll get the chance to enter the Pope’s private bedroom, imagine the decisions made in the papal study and soak up the atmosphere of the papal chapel. This unique residence is fascinating in how it compares to other holiday homes for views and in how it differs in its history, such as when it acted as a sanctuary for refugees during World War 2.
Board your coach back to Rome heading to the Vatican City. Our reserved access will allow you to thankfully pass the long lines that shuffle around the Vatican walls on a daily basis. This will give you more time inside looking at art and less time outside looking at someone’s back. You will be accompanied by an expert English-speaking guide who will steer you through the best highlights of the Vatican Museums. You’ll get to see amazing cartographic skill in the Gallery of Maps, mind-bending illusions in the Gallery of Tapestries, beautiful sculptures in the Gallery of Candelabra and the light-filled frescoes of the Raphael rooms. While the museums are glorious to look at, without a guide with you it would be very difficult to take it all in.
Once you are finished in the museum your guide will lead you into the incredible Sistine Chapel. As visitors must be silent in the chapel your guide will already have covered the details of the art previously with you. Using photographs and a lifetime of passionate interest your guide will show you where to find Michelangelo's sad self-portrait and the many references to his contemporaries that he sneaked in here and there. Armed with this knowledge you will be able to appreciate the frescoes that cover the walls and ceiling. As you look up at the incredible detail that revolutionized the art of Western Civilization you’ll begin to appreciate the genius that Michelangelo was and how he defied all the odds.
For information related to COVID measures currently in place, including specifics regarding the requirements and restrictions associated with visiting tourist attractions and traveling within Italy, please review the following guidance:
- Appropriate dress is required for entry into some sites on this tour. Knees, shoulders, and backs must be covered.
- Please note that in case of unexpected closures of some of the areas inside the Museums, the guide may have to modify the itinerary slightly. For example, if some of the internal connecting areas are closed for safety reasons, Raphael's Rooms may be replaced with Pio Clementino Museum, where Laoocon and Apollo Belvedere statues are.
This tour is subject to a 24-hour cancelation policy. If you wish to cancel or amend your booking, you can do so without charge by contacting us up to 24 hours in advance of your expected departure time.