Discover the inner processes of the 16th century Vatican Mosaic Studio as you observe the best artists in the field, assembling the works piece by piece.
At a Glance Why You’ll Love It
|Gain an exclusive “backstage” access to the Mosaic studio, visited by so few on this unique Vatican guided tour.
|See first-hand how the mosaics are made with a Vatican representative in a small group tour.
Tour Summary Get in the Know
Exclusive Vatican Adventure Off the Beaten Track
Even at a destination as popular as the Vatican, we strive to offer our guests unforgettable, exclusive experiences beyond the beaten track. As one of only a few selected tour companies, What a Life Tours has got special access to take our guests behind the scenes, to a venue where few tourists go – the Vatican Mosaic Studio. You’ll be given special badges to pass the Swiss Guards and make your way to observe the best artisans of the mosaic world (in action!) and explore the 16th century workshop together with a Vatican representative.
Of course, we’ll want to put your new knowledge to good use! To admire the most masterful of the mosaics in person, you will end your Vatican visit with a guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. Stroll right past the lines and straight to some of the most prized art masterpieces in the world. With 110,000 square feet to examine, you’ll truly be amazed at the sheer mass and quality of it all. Get the best facts and insight on all of the essential highlights, including Bernini’s bronze Baldachin and Michelangelo’s Pietá, with one of the Vatican’s own expert guides.
Get a “Backstage Pass” to the Vatican Mosaic Studio
Initially set up by Pope Gregorio XIII in 1576, the Vatican Mosaic Studio gathered the finest in the field to maintain the massive stone-laden walls in St. Peter’s Basilica (that’s right, those gigantic masterworks aren’t paintings, they are mosaics!). Over the years the studio has expanded beyond restorations and repairs and – nowadays – micro mosaics are pieced together daily. We’ll have the pleasure of following along and learning how the stunning works are made, from start to finish. Restorers in white lab coats concentrate intensely, cutting and carving colorful stones, arranging elaborate images, and sticking them together with an interesting plaster recipe that has been used for generations: oil and wine.
The downsized mosaics produced in the workshop are available to be ordered and shipped to art lovers around the globe. One modest neighbor, Pope Francis himself (yes, he actually lives just next door!), has become quite a regular of theirs, known for gifting these intricate mini-editions to his most esteemed Vatican guests – including the former U.S. President, Barack Obama! Though fitting décor for The White House, these original Vatican mosaics would be the perfect piece for anyone’s mantle, as well as an extraordinary souvenir.
What you’ll See Along the Way
- The Vatican Mosaic Studio
- St. Peter’s Square
- Expert English-speaking tour guide
- Private access to Vatican City
- Small group of 12 or fewer
- All tickets and reservations
- Exclusive pass to the Vatican’s Mosaic Studio
- Opportunity to purchase exquisite one of a kind Mosaics