When you arrive in Rome you’ll soon realize that you can choose from a plethora of Vatican tours that are offered to the city’s tourists. While these tours will save you time in the long queues and will give you a structured visit to an overwhelming attraction, you might be looking for something a little more unique and personal. Something that can give you a chance to feel the spiritual power of the Vatican as well as a chance to explore its historical and cultural artifacts.
With this in mind, we approached the church officials to arrange for our guests to have an exclusive, after-hours experience in the Museums, Sistine Chapel and Raphael Rooms.
Seeing the Vatican behind the scenes is the most authentic way to experience the museums and its rooms. While St Peter’s and Bernini’s grand piazza were designed to accommodate and to dazzle the throngs who came to worship, the palace was created as a much more intimate, private space accessible to only the privileged few. When you come on one of our exclusive Vatican tours you get to experience the true function of the architecture and its interior decoration.
You’ll see the Galleries of the Candelabra, of the Tapestries, and of the Geographical Maps. We’ll also show you Raphael’s Rooms, the Sistine Chapel and the Gallery of the Apostolic Library. By sharing unique insights and engaging stories with you, your guide will make sure that you come away from the tour feeling enriched and entertained.
The complex is first and foremost a functioning religious institution, and often its spiritual agenda can be hard to experience for a tourist who treks through the museums and church armed with rucksack, guidebook and camera.
The beauty of an after-hours Vatican tour is that visitors have a chance to access the spirituality of the site. In the hushed, evocative atmosphere you’ll get to explore the intimate chapels of Urban VIII, of St Peter Martyr and of Pope Nicholas as well as the renowned Sistine Chapel.
If it’s the colourful and turbulent history played out in these buildings that fires your imagination then you’ll be inspired by a glimpse at the stage where secret consistories played out over the centuries: the Room of the Chiaroscuri. Evening visitors to the Vatican have an unrivalled opportunity to feel the presence of the players who filled its rooms with drama and intrigue.
There’s no doubt that anyone who looks at Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel or Raphael’s frescoes in the Vatican rooms will experience the awesomeness of seeing such masterpieces in the flesh.
However, when you view these rooms in a small, private group you get the unique opportunity to feel the magnificence of these spaces which were designed and decorated in homage to the divine.
There is nothing more awe-inspiring than standing almost alone before the monumental depiction of The Last Judgement on the wall of the Sistine Chapel. You are bound to feel that delicious sense of vertigo that comes with the realisation of how small Man really is in relation to the massiveness of civilisation.
Vatican tours after hours require special permission and organisation – essentially you are visiting the headquarters of a functioning State so there are formalities that must be met in advance of your visit.
The officials who grant access to our guides for these special groups require 2-3 months’ notice, so please let us know well in advance if you’d like us to arrange a visit for you.
We will need all the names of those attending in advance so that we can submit these to the authorities. Please bring some sort of official ID with you when you arrive for your tour.
There’s no doubt in my mind that this is one of the most special experiences that we offer visitors to Rome. Those who have booked one of these after-hours Vatican tours have returned home with a unique story to tell and a memory that they will treasure forever.