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VIP Access Vatican Mosaic Studio Tour

  • Group Size:
    Group Size: Max 6
  • Language:
    Language: English
  • Duration:
    Duration: 1 hr 15 minutes
  • Start:
    Start: 3 pm
  • Price:
    Price: From 104 €
  • Cancelation:
    Including: Access to restricted areas

Tour Overview

Discover the inner processes of the 16thcentury Vatican Mosaic Studio as you observe the best artists in the field, assembling the works piece by piece. Hidden in the Vatican State, in an area generally closed off to the public, you will be part of an exclusive tour, admiring massive mosaics with explanations from an expert of the trade.

Tour Highlights

  • The Vatican Mosaic Studio

What's included

  • Expert English-speaking tour guide
  • Private access to Vatican City
  • A small group of 6 or fewer
  • Exclusive pass to the Vatican’s Mosaic Studio
  • Opportunity to purchase exquisite one of a kind Mosaics

What you’ll See Along the Way

The Vatican Mosaic Studio

The workshop that created the almost 108,000 square feet of mosaic splendor inside St. Peter’s Basilica still exists and is very much in use today. In fact, it's only thanks to the Vatican Mosaic studio that Rome has become one of the three main cities of the mosaic in Italy, surpassed only by Venice and Ravenna. On this tour you’ll get a backstage pass to the workshop to see firsthand how the intricate marvels are made, led by a papal stoneworker. The studio atmosphere is perhaps a bit more modest than you’d expect – no frills are necessary when quality work is done.

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 have 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 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 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 – micromosaics 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.

An in-depth look at the Vatican Mosaic Studio

The Mosaic Studio tour is unique in many ways, one of the particularities lies in the fact that you will walking through a restricted area of the State. This visit will take through the laboratory where the mosaics are made and restored. It will also allow you to trace back the origins of mosaics, one of the oldest decorative techniques in the world. The Vatican pioneered, possibly, the idea of mosaic altarpieces, huge in terms of size but also the detail that accompanies them. The war did its share of damage to the studio and vague, distant signs of bomb explosions still lie near the building, everlasting testimony of how easy and how quickly these treasures can be lost in few seconds.

Experiencing this little known studio that has worked silently over the course of centuries safeguarding these masterpieces, which cannot be duplicated, as part of a small group of privileged visitors with direct contact to an expert who will show you the key details and secrets of the trade behind mosaic making.

if you have any questions about the trips, see our FAQ. LEARN MORE

VIP Access Vatican Mosaic Studio Tour

What our Customers say...

Best Tour Guide in Rome!

In all of Rome, there cannot be a better tour guide than Marcello. He is so knowledgeable and personable, it’s just amazing. We had a great time with him and he provided an outstanding level of humor and professionalism. I cannot recommend him enough.”

Mosaic School Tour

Lucia was excellent! My friends wanted to visit, but wanted it quick. I had already visited the Mosaic School. I appreciated her answering all our questions, and making the tour very personal. Lucia had a great breadth of knowledge and still made it relatable.”

Vatican Mosaic Tour

Thank you for providing a FANTASTICO tour with the mosaic tour. It was an experience which provided endless goosebumps. Our guide was so thoughtful and informative. We would recommend this to anyone with 5 stars. AN OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME”

Special Access Mosaic School

Carlotta was a wealth of information and entertaining at the same time. She is a rare find in the tourist industry! Committed to a depth of knowledge that most don’t have or know how to share well. We felt lucky to have her as our guide!”

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