Why you'll love this tour
Discover the invaluable treasures of the Vatican Museums
Delve into a magnificent gallery of unparalleled art, where every corner offers another astonishment. Where corridors enhanced with “chiaroscuro” frescoes bring flat surfaces to life with character and dimension. Where walls are draped with tapestries of golden thread and optical illusions. Where life-sized sculptures exemplify the complex beauty of the human form. Where the treasures are seemingly timeless and certainly priceless. The Vatican Museums: where some of the greatest artists in history made their most significant contributions.
Feast your eyes on iconic works by big-hitters of the Renaissance and Baroque periods including Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini, and more. Not only will you have the opportunity to check some of the world’s top “bucket list” items off of your list but, with the help of your charismatic guide and their knack for story telling, you’ll leave with a well-rounded perspective of the art and the artists themselves.
Examine the Raphael Rooms with a Vatican expert
Make your way through the Raphael Rooms, at your own pace. Shockingly, many Vatican tours skip past these four fabulous galleries in order to make a beeline for the Sistine Chapel, but we don’t cut corners at What a Life Tours! It is our mission to show you “the best of the best” at the Vatican Museums, which means that skipping the Raphael Rooms simply would not do.
In the early 1500s, Raphael spent the last years of his life adorning these “stanze”, or “rooms”, with frescoes. In fact, a group of his students, who had to finish the projects upon his passing in 1520, assisted him throughout the project. Each of the four rooms has a theme, which the frescoes illustrate. For example, the Room of the Fire in the Borgo boasts vivid imagery of the Borgo, a neighborhood just outside of the Vatican Walls, in flames. This was marked as a special event as it is believed that a pope called for a miracle to stop the fire.
Feast your eyes upon Michelangelo's greatest masterpiece
It goes without saying that a trip to Rome would not be complete without a thorough gaze upon the Sistine Chapel – and we wouldn’t dare let you miss it! But first, your Vatican specialist will fill you in on the shocking events, techniques, and details that led to the completion of Michelangelo’s mega-masterpiece. Discover lesser known secrets and not-so-obvious symbolism within the stunning frescoes, examine how the layout of the ceiling was planned, study his less-famous but also-brilliant Sistine Chapel wall (The Last Judgment), and get the inside scoop on how the Renaissance master was actually forced into painting the chapel against his will!
With your very own guide to lead the way, you’ll have every opportunity to interact and learn everything you ever wanted to know about the Renaissance, the Vatican, and the Eternal City. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions - we pride ourselves in our excellent team of the most highly rated guides in Rome – as thousands of 5 star reviews on Trip Advisor can attest to!
What you'll experience
This charming courtyard is adequately named after its bulky bronze pinecone sculpture. Upon its unearthing near the Pantheon, curious contemporaries went straight to work to discover the origins of the mysterious treasure. They concluded that it had been brought to Rome from Hadrian’s Villa, in Tivoli, which would make it approximately 2,000 years old today. More interestingly, though, the pinecone functioned as a fountain – a wine fountain! Legend has it that Emperor Hadrian, known for his lavishly luxurious lifestyle, apparently had the pinecone rigged to pour white wine on one side and red on the other.