The City State of the Vatican is the smallest independent sovereign country in the world, though in a certain sense it is also the biggest, for it is indeed everywhere. The smallest State in the world houses the biggest art collection in the world! And the biggest church in the world, St. Peter's Basilica, an amazing creation of Renaissance and Baroque architecture. The Basilica soars up 140 meters (420 ft) with its dome into the heavenly skies, and goes deep down into the earth, to the tomb of St. Peter, over which it was built.
What is one able to see in one day, given the fact that some have calculated that those who attempted to see everything in the Vatican, would need to stay at least half a year?
Well, surely we will see a great number of world renowned masterpieces and historical landmarks. At St. Peter's we will view Bernini's Colonnade; the Altar of Glory; magnificent mosaics; the most ancient bronze statue of St. Peter; the Holy Door; the Canopy which Bernini made with the bronze from the Pantheon; the Confession of St. Peter where his relics are kept; the greatest of Michelangelo's sculptures, the famous Pietà, the only work he ever signed.
In the Papal Palaces that house the Vatican Museums, the biggest in the world, we will see paintings by Giotto, Beato Angelico, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, and then the collection of classic Greek and Roman art that includes such artifacts of world-wide fame as the Apollo of Belvedere and Laocoon, and the tapestries designed by Raphael, the maps drawn by a cartographer of the 16th century that are so precise, they could be used even today. We shall walk through the apartments of the Popes, and the great Stanze di Raphael (rooms in the Papal apartments painted by Raphael). The journey through time and art will culminate with one of the world's wonders - the Sistine Chapel - the "Holy of Holies" of the Popes, covered with frescoes painted by the greatest artists of the 15th century, and completed with frescoes by perhaps the greatest of all artists, Michelangelo. After visiting the Sistine Chapel, Goethe wrote that only those who see it, can understand what one man alone is capable of doing.
We will see all of this and much more. Our experts will share with you not only their knowledge in History, Art, and Architecture, but will also recount you the story of how a small and poor tomb of a fisherman became the center of Christianity, and for a very long period, the center of the world. We will tell you stories of secrets and intrigues of Pope-Kings, tales of saints and miracles, unusual and rarely known historical facts. We will guide you through an amazing journey of human frailty and wonder, one you will never forget!