Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
Information Not Currently Available
Approximately 10½ Hours
Meals not included
Experience the splendor of the Pope's private Summer Estate, recently open to the public by special concession of Pope Francis. Here, the splendor of art and the glory of nature co-exist in a perfect equilibrium. Built atop the villa of Emperor Tito Flavius, in the hills south of Rome, the estate overlooks the lake of Castel Gandolfo. The 135-acre complex has been a second home for all Popes since 1626. An eco-vehicle will drive through the estate, introducing you to its fascinating gardens, majestic fountains, and a flowerbed where the Pope's Coat of Arms is depicted in colorful blossoms.
Stop by the Roman ruins to admire the Emperor Domitian's amphitheatre.
A second exclusive stop will be made at the Antiquarium, a small museum which houses Roman sculptures found in the Emperor’s Domitian Palace. You will drive by the Pope's farmhouse which produces for the Vatican State -- milk, yogurt, meat, eggs, fruit, olive oil or wine. You will also see a 1,000-year-old oak tree.
After some free time to shop, explore and purchase lunch (at your own expense) in the quaint village of Castel Galdolfo, re-board your motorcoach.
Enjoy a panoramic drive to the Vatican City. Upon arrival at the Vatican Museums, you'll be whisked through the fast lane to visit one of the most impressive collections in the world, embracing art from every period. Your guide will walk you through a portion of this incredible facility.
Visit the Cabinet of the Masks. This constitutes an exclusive area of the galleries, whose name comes from the beautiful Roman mosaics depicting masks that adorn its floor.
Along with tiled mosaic, paintings and stucco that decorate this room, the Cabinet of Masks also features several works of sculpture.
Reaching the Sistine Chapel, you will have the chance to look up and marvel at the masterpieces of the great Michelangelo, including his frescoes of The Creation on the ceiling and The Last Judgment on the altar wall.
Finally, enjoy outside views of the St Peter's BasilicaSt Peter's Basilica -- by far the largest church in the world.
After an incredibly interesting day, you will drive back to the ship in Civitavecchia.
Tour requires extensive walking. Not advisable for guests using a wheelchair or for those with mobility limitations. Lunch is not included. The visit to the Vatican Museums is not a private visit. Modest attire is required for visiting churches or cathedrals; knees, shoulders and midriffs must be covered; shorts and capri pants are not allowed. Use of an audio headset (included) will enhance your tour experience. Each guest is responsible for returning his/her headset after the tour. Missing headsets incur a €50 fee. You must pass through metal detectors at the Vatican Museums. Large bags or umbrellas, bottled water, video cameras, knives or scissors must be checked at the security checkpoints. Large backpacks or bags cannot be taken inside Vatican Museums. Flash photography is not allowed in the Vatican Museums. Photography and video are not allowed in the Sistine Chapel. You will encounter lines and delays -- your patience is appreciated. Tour requires extensive walking (more than a mile) on even and uneven terrain and cobblestones with more than 250 steps at the Vatican Museums. Not advisable for guests using a wheelchair or for those with mobility limitations. Inside the Vatican Museums, the wheelchair accessible route differs from the route taken by the group, meaning that guests using a wheelchair will miss some of the guide's commentary. The eco-friendly vehicle used for the visit of the Pontifical Villas is not wheelchair accessible. Please note that the Pontifical Villas are still used by the Pope and are therefore subject to closure without prior notice.
Tour duration varies and is sometimes 30 - 60 minutes longer than the published duration. Tour does not operate on Sundays and religious holidays, a visit to the Roman Catacombs will be made instead. Ongoing restoration and/or maintenance work may be underway at any venue during your visit.