Outstanding tour! Easy to find meeting point thanks to detailed instructions from tour provider, Vox Mundi, quick security check with virtually no waiting in line, then a nearly 1.5 hour tour of the Basilica in a group of only 4! by a friendly and extremely knowledgeable guide a nice Romanian lady, can't remember her name although I believe it began with an A. She spoke excellent English and helped us to understand the long and rich history of the site, the Catholic church, and the current basilica new St. Peter's, as well as enlightening us with regard to all of the incredible art and architecture. After the basilica tour, since my mom and I were the only two who'd signed up for the mosaic studio visit, we had a private tour! We were led out of the church and into the heart of Vatican City all of a sudden, there were no throngs of tourists, felt like we were entering behind the scenes by our very kind and personable guide, Valéry. A couple minutes walk took us to the workshop, right next to where Pope Francis lives!, where Valéry gave us a thorough explanation in good English of the workings of this amazing artistic enterprise that creates breathtaking mosaic paintings to be given by the pope as gifts to world leaders and also sold to collectors, in addition to their main role of restoring all of the mosaics in St. Peter's, showing us all of the materials used, examples of different styles of finished pieces, and taking us around to view the half-dozen or so craftsmen as they did their incredible and incredibly painstaking work. Truly fascinating to see them work at all different stages of the process. Felt privileged to have witnessed these artists/artisans carrying on these centuries old traditions. Both parts of the tour were remarkable, and are highly recommended to lovers of art and history, and especially to those who've already visited the Vatican once before as we had and who want something more in-depth and unique. Many thanks!
This tour was amazing. I was in Italy for over 2 weeks and this was by far my favorite things. It is amazing seeing how the mosaics are repaired and created. Better than anything else I did. 5 stars is not enough. This is a MUST do tour. I am so happy I found it.
This might be the best tour I have ever taken, and I have taken quite a few. I didn't realize that the Basilica tour was befor the Mosaic Studio tour. Frankly, I think the order should be reversed. My legs were tired from the first half of our day (our tour was at 2:30) and walking around the Basilica for an hour wasn't pleasant for me, but I am over 60. I learned on the tour that all the "paintings" in the Basilica were in fact mosaics. I didn't know that, nor did my sister-in-law. We had both been to the Basilica numerous times before and it was never mentioned on any tour I had been on. Watching the artists work on the mosaics, seeing how they restored the ancient mosaics and the newer ones was fascinating. Our guide was wonderful, enthusiastic and knowledgeable, his name was Valery. I would take this tour again in a heartbeat, but would like to skip the Basilica tour. I would pay the same price for the mosaic tour alone. We returned to the Basilica another day to view the mosaics in a completely different light and with a much greater appreciation. Really, this was a great tour.
This was an absolutely incredible tour. The first hour was a general tour in the basilica, then we were handed off to the special Vatican guide who took us back to the Mosaic Studio where we learned the techniques used for restoring the mosaic works, met and watched several of the artists at work, and the archives where all the colored mosaic pieces are kept. We went back to the basilica several days later on our own to re-look at what we had first thought were huge paintings to look more closely at the intricate mosaic work of their construction. Absolutely the best tour ever for someone who loves art and architecture.
This was an excellent tour. The meeting place was a bit confusing but everyone was very helpful. The tour of Saint Peter's Basilica was the best one so far! We really enjoyed the intimacy of the Mosaic Studio. I thought it was amazing. The art of the work was incredible. The opportunity to see the work in action was great.
This tour was very private and had exclusive entry into the Vatican Mosaic studio. Most of all, now having visited the mosaic lab, one can appreciate more of its art work.
We had an amazing tour guide and the Vatican Mosaic tour was an experience not many in group so really personal.
A great little secret
Excellent guide. Antonia was her name. Very knowledgable. In fact, we hired her for a private tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistene Chapel for the next day and she was equally excellent. She sat us down, went through a book explaining what we were going to see first. Very, very, good.
Rachel O'C Canada
This is the BEST KEPT SECRET of tours happening in Rome and in Vatican City proper. Being in the Vatican Mosaic Studio, which is far from all the tourists and right next to the current Papal residence, and having the Director himself demonstrate centuries old mosaic techniques that are still currently used just brought such perspective to the artwork in St. Peter's Basilica. The time, effort, and dedication that these artisan's bring to the mosaics they are comissioning is mind blowing. I happened to be the only person on this particular tour and I probably seemed so quiet and reserved as I was just awe struck and humbled by the passion and history for this art medium. I even forgot to take pictures! They have a book for visitors to sign that, once it's full, will be filed in the Vatican archives. Book this tour now to be part of history in The Vatican!!!
This was an amazing chance to meet with the director of the Mosaic Studio. He welcomed my questions and was very open in sharing information about their work, including excellent demonstrations. I even was able to see artists at work.
Wow wow wow the highlight of my holiday. After seeing the queue to get in I was glad I had booked this tour. The Basilica guide was very knowledgable and made sure we (our small group) had the best vantage point as she described the different aspects of the Basilica. What made this tour special was visiting the Vatican mosaic studio, learning all about the restoration techniques, it was so interesting. I sm still pinching myself thst I actually have met the studio director and been given such an interesting talk and tour, it was very special. Thank you.
The tour of the Basilica was excellently conducted by our guide and we were split into small groups with a guide for each group, and I think the guide catered to our interest to an extent. There was much reference to Popes etc, BUT very acceptable in the context of the art as the main focus, which was our interest, and within the devout personality of the woman guide we had. Walking to the mosaic studio was interesting in itself as the area we walked through was deserted apart from security guards. The Director of the studio gave us an interesting talk and display of what the mosaic studio does and how it does it. He also let us know they also took private commissions. Good value for the money, and we skipped the line to the Basilica. A bit spooky being left to walk out through security and the deserted area by ourselves when the tour finished...
Sadly, our plane was four hours late leaving the US, so I missed the tour. There was only one in our group who got there in time and he said it was a great tour.