See the famous Bramante Stair with a behind-the-scenes Vatican Museums tour

Behind the Scenes at the Vatican: Extended Art Tour

The Vatican Museums are one of the most visited attractions in Rome, but they are so vast that you would never see the whole thing in one visit. With a good guided tour, you’ll be sure to catch all the highlights of the museum’s collection, but you’d still miss some of the lesser-known galleries – unless, that is, you’re taking an extended art tour.

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December 19, 2014 by
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Mosaics inside St. Peter’s Basilica

Vatican Mosaic Studio

When you walk through St. Peter’s Basilica and notice all the fine mosaic work – from the floors to the artwork on the walls, intricately recreating paintings in tiny pieces of glass – you’ll no doubt gain a deeper appreciation for the detail involved in creating mosaics. Take that appreciation a step further with a tour of the Vatican Mosaic Studio.

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November 21, 2014 by
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The Vatican’s Railway Station

Roma S. Pietro station connects to the Vatican Railway

Vatican City may be an independent nation, but visitors know it’s as easy to reach from Rome as crossing the street. Most people get to the Vatican by walking from Rome, or by taking a bus or the subway to get close and then walking from there. But Vatican City is also home to the world’s shortest national railways system – consisting of one station and one line.

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October 24, 2014 by
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Rome’s Quirinal Palace: Home of the Italian President

Quirinal Palace in Rome, once the home of popes

Ask any Roman about the Quirinal Palace and you’re likely to hear that it’s the home of the Italian President. This is true. But this historic palace on one of Rome’s famous seven hills has actually been home to more popes than presidents since it was built.

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September 26, 2014 by
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Viator VIP: Having Breakfast at the Vatican

As the rest of the world wakes up and shows up at the Vatican. . .

The Vatican is a country within a city, and the home to one of the largest religions on earth. Being such an important place it’s no wonder that this site sees over 20,000 people every day during the summer. Gates open at 9:00am, but it’s not uncommon to see people lined up as early as 7:00am to avoid the crowds. That’s one way to do it, or better yet take the early morning breakfast at the Vatican tour like we did.

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September 5, 2014 by
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Papal Archbasilica of St. John Lateran

Interior of St. John Lateran

You might know that Vatican City is an independent state entirely enclosed within Rome, and that St. Peter’s Basilica is effectively the church headquarters for the Catholic church. But there are other Vatican churches in Rome, and the most important of these is arguably the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.

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August 29, 2014 by
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Skip the Line Vatican Tour Including Raphael’s Rooms and St. Peter’s

It really is difficult to describe the sheer majesty of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica, which puts me in a bit of a predicament. Still, with the aid of some pictures and your imagination, I can try.

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August 15, 2014 by
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Secrets of the Vatican: Fig Leaves on Statues

Not all the statues in the Vatican have fig leaves, but many do

We’ve all seen the idealized nude statues and figures in the art displayed in Rome and elsewhere in Italy, dating back hundreds of years to when nudity wasn’t something to be hidden. On a trip to Vatican City, however, you’ll no doubt see some nude statues and some that have a fig leaf placed over their genitals. Those fig leaves aren’t original – they were added later.

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August 1, 2014 by
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Pope John Paul II is Now a Saint

Pope Saint John Paul II’s tomb in St. Peter’s Basilica

Easter is one of the busiest and most interesting times to be in Vatican City – but this year, the bustle and pomp of Easter Sunday was followed a week later by an equally big event that’s far more rare. Two popes were canonized on April 27, 2014, including Pope John Paul II.

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July 4, 2014 by
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Vatican City and Dan Brown

This marker in St. Peter’s Square figures prominently in Dan Brown’s novel, Angels & Demons

It’s often said that there’s no such thing as bad publicity – as long as they spell your name right. That hasn’t been the case, however, with the uneasy relationship between the Vatican and novelist Dan Brown. Brown’s series of Robert Langdon novels are works of fiction, but he employs all sorts of church history – history the Vatican maintains is either complete farce or so far removed from the truth as to no longer be historically accurate.

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June 6, 2014 by
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