Although the exact course of the tour depends on our guide’s specialty, our interests, and what galleries might be open that day, we often begin our time together with the chronologically arranged picture gallery known as the Pinacoteca. This is a great place to start because the paintings and other artworks included here provide an excellent overview of art history from the late medieval to high Renaissance periods. From here, we’ll traverse the halls of the Vatican palaces, visiting the most important rooms of the museums, until we reach the Sistine Chapel. As we walk, we’ll discuss the cultural and artistic climate in which Michelangelo worked painting the ceiling and later the Last Judgment, preparing ourselves for the exquisite artistic craftsmanship we’ll get to see now.
To assist you in planning your trip to the Vatican, we have created an informative resources page - How to Tour the Vatican.
Please keep in mind that the Vatican is generally more crowded on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. It is best to book this tour on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday, in the early afternoon when the morning crowds are more likely to have thinned out.
Further Explorations of The Vatican
What is a small group tour?
Does this walk "skip the line"?
Cecilia is an art historian and a native Roman with a Master's degree in Medieval and Renaissance art from the Sapienza University of Rome. Although her specialty is painting and decorative arts, she has a broad knowledge of the history of Rome and a personal passion for ancient history, which she shares on many antiquity-themed itineraries. Cecilia has worked actively in the past as a lecturer, teacher, and curator of exhibitions. She had been a staff member of the didactive service of the Vatican Museums, the Galleria Doria Pamphili and the Galleria Colonna where she still frequently consults. As a licensed guide for Rome and Florence and with a specialized teaching degree, she has more than 20 years of experience in leading highly-qualified tours.
Liz, a native of San Francisco, California holds degrees in architecture from the University of California at Berkeley and Università degli studi "La Sapienza", Rome. She specialized in restoration and urban design. Her restoration projects have brought her to work in direct contact with the rich historical layers of Rome and Italy. She has been leading study walks for Context Rome since its beginning and has lived in Rome since 1988 practicing architecture, researching design and lecturing at university study abroad programs.
Sara is an art historian with doctoral degrees in Medieval and Modern Art History and Classical Antiquities. She is the author of a book, published by the Accademia dei Lincei, on the antiquities collection of Pope Julius II and has written various articles in important scholarly journals on the history of Renaissance and Baroque collections. More recently, she had published a book on some of the most famous paintings of Caravaggio in Rome which introduces a new interpretation of the works, based on philological data, and which is changing the way we look at this artist. For many years, she has combined her philological research with her work as a university instructor, museum educator and professional tourist guide.
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