9. Vatican City and Ancient Rome Full-Day Small Group Tour
Travel back to the days of emperors and popes, and see the highlights of the papal collections on a 2-part, 6-hour tour of Rome.
Start your full-day tour at the Arch of Constantine, and journey through Ancient Rome as you travel back to the days of the Roman Republic. Explore the vast Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre) to experience up-close the greatest arena the Romans built. Your guide will bring 2,000 years of history to life, telling stories of the ferocious battles between man and beast put on for the delight of Roman citizens.
Then, follow in the footsteps of Roman emperors on a walk through the Imperial Forum. Learn how it was once the center of religious, political and commercial life in Rome. Hear the history of the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. Learn the story of the Tabularium. Go to the Temple of Hadrian, now incorporated into a building in Piazza di Pietra, where you can see the original Roman street level below ground.
End your morning tour at the Pantheon, the majestic temple of all gods. Commissioned by Marcus Agrippa in 27BC, its massive interior and inlaid marble floors is home to a burial site since the Renaissance times, where the tombs of Raphael and the kings of Italy can be found.
Following a break for lunch, go to the Vatican Museums to discover the world’s most precious art collection. Skip the long ticket lines to enter the museums, and tour in a group of no more than 12 people for a more intimate experience. Collected by popes over many centuries, the collection includes works by Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bernini.
See Michelangelo’s legendary frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Go to the Octagonal Courtyard to look at the Belvedere Apollo statue. Discover Greek and Roman masterpieces in the Pio Clementino Museum. Wander through the Gallery of Tapestries to see Flemish tapestries by Raphael’s pupils. Marvel at works by ancient cartographers in the Gallery of Maps.
Then, go inside St. Peter's Basilica to see more masterpieces by Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bernini, including Michelangelo’s “La Pieta” beneath the dome of the world’s largest church.