Today’s tour starts with the Vatican Museums, quite simply, the largest, richest and most splendid museum in the world. You will pass through room after room full of treasures, before the culmination of the visit, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, home to the conclave that elects Popes. The ceiling frescoes and Last Judgement on the altar wall are probably the most viewed paintings in the world. From here, enter St Peter’s Basilica, one of the largest churches in the world and a triumph of Renaissance architecture, the work of Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Once inside, having got over the feelings of awe inspired by the sheer size and magnificence of it all, one of the first things you will see is Michelangelo’s ‘Pieta’. Sculpted at the age of 23, it must be the most moving of all Michelangelo’s sculptures; a mother gazing lovingly at her child as if seeing the baby she gave birth to but in fact the body of the 33 year old Christ. Moving down the church, you will pass the statue of St Peter, whose bronze toes have been completely worn away by the millions of pilgrims who have stroked them and arrive at Bernini’s Baldacchino (canopy), under the centre of the dome and behind this, the throne of St Peter.
Important note: A very strict dress code applies and admission will be refused to anyone inappropriately attired, such as short skirts and/or bare shoulders.