"From the dome of St. Peter's one can see every notable object in Rome... He can see a panorama that is varied, extensive, beautiful to the eye, and more illustrious in history than any other in Europe." (Mark Twain, 1867)
Meet your expert Art Historian guide on the threshold of St. Peter's Square and make your way across marble paving to the first steps which lead up to the top of Michelangelo's Dome. There are 551 steep steps in total and of course this is too much exertion for most, so we take the elevator which cuts the step count by a sizable 171, leaving 380 (although some say 330...). We take our time and enjoy plenty of staircase breaks on the way around and up to the top of the dome!
At the summit, your guide will point out all the historical landmarks in all directions, be they in the Vatican City or the wider city of Rome. There are a great many so be prepared for detail! At this point, take as many photographs as you can, you are a very long way up and it's been a once-in-a-lifetime climb so don't hold back!
Easy does it on the way down to terra firma and then take a brief break before entering St. Peter's Basilica - an absolute triumph of art and architecture unmatched anywhere else in the world, where Bernini's sculptures and Michelangelo's art rise above the perceived necropolis of St. Peter himself. Your guide will also lead you through an underground level known as the Vatacombs, a rarely seen area of the Vatican where you can walk amongst tombs of former popes.
We take another short break for a drink or snack and head over to the Vatican Museums. Priority access is guaranteed and you will see all the major highlights therein.
Here, your guide covers the most important rooms, galleries, and individual masterpieces. Receive a comprehensive background on the Sistine Chapel from before it was commissioned to the finishing touches, learning to distinguish between truth and legend.
This is a fully private walking tour of the entire Vatican Museums, St. Peter's Basilica, and a trip to the top of Michelangelo's dome.