This morning, it’s a ten-minute bus ride over to another country—Vatican City. With our expert local guide we’ll tour the Vatican Museums—a massive collection of ancient Greek sculptures, medieval tapestries and Renaissance paintings.
Our visit culminates in the Sistine Chapel, renowned for its Renaissance art, especially the ceiling which was painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. This room, which attracts more than five million visitors each year, is also where the Pope is elected.
Next we visit St. Peter’s Basilica, by far the largest church in Christendom. We’ll see Michelangelo’s Pietà, sculpted when he was just 24 years old, as well as Bernini’s seven story bronze canopy located above the main altar.
Afterwards, we explore some of the oldest areas of Rome – the Jewish Ghetto and Trastevere.
There’s been a Jewish community in Rome since the second-century BC. It was Pope Paul IV who ordered them into a walled-off section of town in 1555. But In 1870, the Papal States lost control of the area and the Jews were free to leave the Ghetto!
All this walking will make us hungry… Si mangia! You’ll get a taste of real Italian cuisine and fine wines in a family-style restaurant in the characteristic district of Trastevere. This lively area is just what one imagines Italy to be like, with tiny cobblestone streets and music-filled trattorias on every corner.
(Please note that the visit of St. Peter’s Basilica is subject to availability based on any events planned by the Pope.)