At a Glance Why You'll Love It
Tour Summary Get in the Know
After hours tours of the Vatican – art and history under the stars
When sightseeing in the Eternal City, it’s not unusual to find yourself wishing the day wouldn’t end, and luckily – it doesn’t have to! During Rome’s most stunning season, when the days are long and the break of evening welcomes a much needed rest from sunshine, the Vatican Museums keep their doors open a bit later so you can marvel at their coveted treasures even after nightfall. Seize this unique chance to see world-famous art and architecture in a special ambiance that so very few visitors get to experience. In the high season, the opportunity to skip the lines and avoid the major day-time crowds, makes this starlit venture even more appealing.
Our guides are Vatican veterans with hundreds (in most cases, thousands!) of visits under their belts. Having roamed this cultural complex extensively for years, they know every nook and cranny and have mastered the art of giving tours in the sacred museum halls to perfection. Through their amusing (and sometimes shocking!) recounts they will breathe life into sculptures and give new dimensions to paintings as you explore the art-brimming, and surprisingly scandal-ridden, Papal Palaces. Traveling in a small group of 12 guests or fewer, you won’t have to use your elbows to get your guides attention!
An art-filled after-hours adventure
Travel back in time with us and relive some of the most culturally significant moments in art history. For more than 500 years, popes have been compiling this priceless collection of masterpieces and creations crafted by some of the greatest artists that ever lived, and it all started, they say, with the discovery of one mysterious, broken sculpture – the Laocoön. It takes the form of three chiseled male figures being attacked by two enormous serpents. Since its unearthing from a Roman vineyard, this illustrious, hand-crafted marble work has gathered centuries of acclaim from the world’s greatest artists, including Michelangelo himself.
But whose masterpiece was it? How, in a pre-technological era, could they solve the mystery? And what is it that made the Laocoön so undeniably special? Come to think of it, what makes any part of the Vatican collection relevant at all? We’ve got the info on all of the artworks; let us enlighten you! While names and dates may easily be forgotten, a captivating story is something worth remembering. In fact, sometimes, a story can change your entire perspective. You just take in the scenery; we’ll fill you in on the rest!
Highlights and must-sees of the Vatican Museums
Our guides will offer you a fascinating “behind the scenes” glimpse into the rivalry and drama that unfolded between the creators of the Vatican’s most esteemed masterpieces. But aside from learning about the artists’ lives, you’ll also receive some insightful explanations on how the works were made. We’ll witness and examine some of the most innovative and interesting art techniques of the times, such as the brilliant use of shadowing in the “chiaroscuro” frescoes, which adorn the corridors of the museums. The technique is so effective that you’ll hardly believe you’re looking at a flat surface!
Go beyond checking the Sistine Chapel off your bucket-list (though we’ll certainly do that too!). Colorful mosaics, hyper realistic sculptures, and romantic moonlit courtyards outline our path amongst the Vatican’s most distinguished works, while your guide provides a powerful narrative. With one of our esteemed guides as your host, you’ll get all the details in the Raphael Rooms, the Gallery of Maps, the Gallery of Tapestries and much more, as it is our mission to ensure that your night tour of the Vatican includes all the most spectacular sights that the Vatican Museums have to offer!
What You'll See Along the Way
The Pinecone Courtyard is somewhat of an outdoor gallery, filled with curious works of art. Apart from the over-sized bronze pinecone statue that gave this patio its name, the most famous piece found here is the cutting-edge chef-d'oeuvre at its center. The so called Sphere within Sphere was a generous gift to Pope John Paul II from the artist himself, Arnaldo Pomodoro, in 1990. If you think the spherical work of art looks somewhat familiar; it could be because you have seen it before. In fact, different sized versions of Arnoldo’s futuristic-looking metal ball exist in numerous cities all over the world.
A dress code is enforced at some sites on this tour, namely the Sistine Chapel. Please make sure that both your shoulders and knees are covered.
Due to venue restrictions at the Vatican Museums we are only able to accept persons requiring wheelchairs on our private Vatican tours.