After pickup at your hotel, travel with your guide to the Vatican Museum, where you’ll breeze past the crowds with skip-the-line admission. You’ll have time to explore well-known treasures like the Raphael Rooms—a set of lavish papal apartments—and Michelangelo’s blockbuster frescos on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
You’ll also encounter off-the-beaten-track marvels like the statue collection in the Room of the Animals and the Carriage Pavilion, where you’ll see antique horse-drawn papal carriages and the Vatican’s first steam engine. Get an exclusive peek at the extraordinary wall-to-ceiling mosaics in the Cabinet of the Masks, which are normally closed to the public.
Enjoy commentary from your guide on Vatican rituals, including the origin of the papal cavalcade. Conclude with one last stop at St. Peter’s Basilica, known as Italy’s largest and most spectacular church, where you’ll get a chance to admire the bronze baroque altar by the sculptor Bernini.