Arriving in Rome early on the day of this tour makes for a strenuous day. However, it was everything that was promised and well worth the effort.
I was amazed at the amount of knowledge our tour guide had .. not to mention just how special the areas we were able to view made us feel.
Hands Down, the BEST tour I have ever gone on in 30 years of International Travel!
Our guide, Mama Bear, is THE tour guide for the ages, she was truly conveyed her love and joy of showing us the Secret Rooms of the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. Through her detailed guiding of our small group, you actually felt like you were hearing a First Hand Account of the creation of The Last Judgment and the Sistine Chapel. Having grown up seeing this images in my Grandparents living room, to be there as it came to life was so meaningful.
Her keen wit, in-depth knowledge and access to rooms that are not a part of the Public Tours is what set this Tour apart. Having Mama Bear explain the Creation of Adam panel and the ensuing Creation of the Sun and the Moon and seeing the representation of the Moon in person was extraordinary and very amusing. In addition, to hear who Michelangelo featured as Demons in The Last Judgment brought the whole process to live.
Though there is some sticker shock when you first see the prices, believe me it is worth every last Euro and more. THE BEST TOUR on the planet!
We booked this tour having read the glowing reports previously posted. It might be considered a bit expensive but wow it was worth every cent and actually exceeded our expectations. The previous week we had been on a circa 90 minute tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel with our guide making general observations of the exhibits as we were whisked along with the sea of other visitors.
This time we were in a small group of just 13 led by Shannon Carter, one of the best tour guides we have ever had. Her Art knowledge and historical anecdotes made our tour so very interesting. Entering the Vaticans secret rooms, not viewed by the general public, was enthralling and being in the private Chapel used solely by Popes during the last 500 years gave one goose bumps.
The tour lasted 3 hours with Shannon pointing out interesting little details of the statues and people within the pictures. The highlight was the 30 minutes in the Sistine Chapel with just the 13 of us and Shannon being allowed to explain the paintings. On the standard tours the guides have to remain silent in the Chapel. However the icing on the cake was us being allowed to take photos within the Chapel itself.
On your list of Things to do before you die make sure you add VIP Sistine Chapel Private Viewing and Small Group Tour of the Vaticans Secret Rooms. It is well worth it especially if you have a guide as good as ours
Arthur and Valerie
Bob and Michele United States of ...
We both loved this tour. To be able to be in the Sistine Chapel as a small group was fantastic. The tour director was an art major and had wonderful insight. She answered everyone's questions. Do not leave Rome without doing this tour. It is well worth the money.
The tour was informative, easy walking and having private time in the Sistine Chapel was truly the most amazing experience. Although this tour is a bit pricey, it was well worth it. If you want to avoid the crowds, this is your tour!
The crowds are unbelievable, so getting the VIP treatment from the guide and guards was so refreshing. Viewing the Sistine Chapel, and having the story of it told with only 15 other in Chapel for 30min was an outstanding end to a great tour. Well worth the extra price for the experience.
This was one of the first of many tours we took on our trip to Italy and it turned out to be about the very best. Our guide, Shannon, was especially perfect for this tour and set a very high mark for all the following guides. An art historian with a love for Vatican history, the information just flowed from her. She moved us along without hurrying us and easily answered every question. Being in this small group was a big advantage as well as she being a native English speaker an American we easily understood everything she said without any of the difficulty we had on some other tours. Going behind the scenes with only a few others enabled us to really get a feel of the workings of the Vatican and its vast treasures. A very memorable tour.
Really enjoyed this trip. We where kicked out of the Sistine Chape too soon, but I guess the Pope was performing a mass for some dignitaries, and he didn't want us hanging around. Unfortunately, we had very little time in there. Guide was wonderful, and the secret rooms were amazing, definitely not places you would see or experience just from waiting in line. Well worth while.
Our third trip to Vatican City -- this tour was a life event. Worth the price, for sure.
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