Vatican Museum – Vatican City

Now that I live on the East Coast the options to go to Europe are better than when I was living in San Francisco. If you find the right deal a weekend trip is possible… so why not… I did a red eye flight and did a weekend trip. I had never been to Italy and I found a good deal to fly to Rome. I decided to splurge and take a after hour tour of the Vatican Museum, it was expensive but worth every penny. The tour I was on was not totally after hours, some parts were with the crowds and then we had access to places that the general public do not have access to. Then the last half of the tour was after everyone had left. This tour is not for the faint of heart, its over three hours long you get to sit maybe once and there are no bathroom rests along the way. I think the after hours tours are seasonal so plan accordingly.

My tour meeting started at 3pm across the street from the entrance to the museum. As you can see, lots and lots of people. I won’t go into the historical description as its available everywhere, I wanted to show what the tour was like.

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After the chaotic entrance, we are treated with a great view of the Dome. IMG_5228

Everyone had earphones on so we could hear our guide.IMG_5229

A wide lens view. IMG_5231

A pine cone with some major history behind it… IMG_5232

This place is just filled with art… and people. I am there in the late summer early fall, its cool in the inside… can not imagine what it will be like in the hot summer months. IMG_5235

A famous statue I am sure everyone has seen before… This is where things get interesting… IMG_5237

The guard opens velvet rope and lets us walk past the statue to get a closer look… As you can see the general public is not allowed to enter. IMG_5238

We make our way to the Bramante Stairs… More like Bramante Ramp…. IMG_5240IMG_5241IMG_5242

The view and breeze was nice…. IMG_5243

Another area that is closed to the general public. IMG_5248

You can see that the guard on the left… holds the others back.  IMG_5253

Viewing the galleries in this kind of setting was surreal. What was surprising was that the windows were open you felt a nice breeze and actually heard birds… Almost like the way this place was built to be enjoyed… IMG_5255

Lots of the windows were open like this… IMG_5256

Would have loved to stop by on the terrace and have a cup of coffee…IMG_5257

A private dinning room with priceless art. IMG_5260

Another part of the galleries… IMG_5261

Now back to the public gallery… IMG_5262

The public areas do hold some of the more important works… This this one below… IMG_5263

Large format statues have their own room… IMG_5267

Egyptian Porphyry a very rare commodity…IMG_5268

The crowd was thinning out, but still a lot of people…. IMG_5269

They love their Porphyry… IMG_5270IMG_5271

A hall filled with tapestries… I want one… IMG_5273

Maps… IMG_5274

Every inch of this museum is beautiful… IMG_5275

It was surprising to see that they let sunlight directly hit the frescos… IMG_5277

This is a small chapel that that people can look into but can’t enter. IMG_5284

The colors are vivid… IMG_5285

Entrance into the chapel as we leave… Now the museum is totally empty… We are in the Raphael Rooms and its only our small group of about 10 people… I take my ear phones off and I hear nothing…IMG_5286

Every room is as grand as the next. IMG_5287

Its the High Renaissance at its best…  IMG_5288

Then this… IMG_5289

Had to take a selfie with this one… IMG_5290

Each room has layers of stories to tell… The guard locks to doors as we leave… IMG_5291

Now we start the long… long walk to the Sistine Chapel… long empty hallways… We are told we can not stop to see anything that was on display… The tour is timed and we need to keep to the schedule…IMG_5292

And it begins… usually visitors are not allowed to take photos inside…IMG_5293

We had 30 mins alone… at times silence… Just sitting on the floor… it was worth every penny… IMG_5315

Then the tour ends… and its a long walk back to the entrance. On the way a nice view of the Vatican Gardens… IMG_5317

Our group… we are asked to walk and not stop… IMG_5318

Snap a picture… here and there… IMG_5319

The long empty halls… IMG_5320

Back at the entrance… and its empty… IMG_5323

They even closed the famous steps… we take the elevator. IMG_5324

The intense tour is finished… IMG_5325

Then I walked around from the museum entrance to St Peter’s to catch the sunset and what a show it was… I would do the same tour again…IMG_5329IMG_5330

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