Our Arte Vaticana is designed to give you a comprehensive, in-depth introduction to the Vatican art collection and St. Peter's Basilica. Led by an art historian or theologian, this itinerary begins in the museums--usually with the chronologically-arranged picture gallery known as the Pinacoteca, where we are treated to a seminar in the history of painting from the late medieval to high Renaissance periods.
From here, depending on the interests of your docent and the group at large, we traverse the halls of the Vatican palaces, visiting the most important rooms of the museums, including the ancient statuary collection of Julius II and the papal apartments decorated by Rafael. By the time we reach the Sistine Chapel, we will have set the context to appreciate the cultural and artistic climate in which Michelangelo worked painting the ceiling and later the Last Judgment.
The last half of the itinerary covers St. Peter's Basilica, a vast structure and the symbolic center of Catholicism. Our docent will navigate this vast space, visiting the major works by Michelangelo (the dome, La Pieta) and Bernini (the canopy), fixing the church and its artworks in a social and historical context. Finally, we will emerge into St. Peter's Piazza, designed by Bernini, and the endsum of Vatican City.