Entrance to the Vatican Museums

Entrance to the Vatican Museums

Vatican Museum History

The Vatican Museum can be traced back to the early 16th century. It wasn’t until the Lateran Treaty with Mussolini in 1929 that the Holy See, and in turn the Vatican Museum, became the true center of Catholicism and its history. Pope Julius the II, founder of the museums, couldn’t have seen the growth of this magnificent space into what is now 54 galleries including the Sistine Chapel.

Vatican Museum Entrance and Exit Stairs

Vatican Museum Entrance and Exit Stairs

Although the acquisition of some pieces are controversial, the Vatican has maintained one of the most impressive art collections on the planet for over 500 years. Preserving and displaying art from every corner of the globe. Including some of the most famous works from the likes of Michelangelo, Raphael, Matisse, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Pomodoro,

Michaelangelo in The School of Athens by Raphael in Vatican Museum

Michaelangelo in The School of Athens by Raphael in Vatican Museum

I’m an art and history geek. I especially love Medieval European history. So for me to be in the Vatican Collection, it’s a dream come true. Context Travel is the best tour company in Europe. Touring this collection with them has yielded some excellent results. Check out my experience.

Raphael Portrait in The School of Athens at Vatican Museum. I've seen this Portrait hundreds of times but it's something else in person.

Raphael Portrait in The School of Athens at Vatican Museum. I’ve seen this Portrait hundreds of times but it’s something else in person.

A Guide that Knows Her Art: A New Standard is Set

My guide, Alessandra, was one of the best I’ve ever had. And that’s not an exaggeration. Context Travel not only hires excellent docents but ensures their proficient in the content their presenting. Your guide will have a Phd or Masters level degree. No fresh out of school gap year kids here folks. It’s almost intimidating the amount of knowledge she has regarding not only art at the Vatican Collection, but of the Roman Catholic church and European history. She even carries and Ipad preloaded with extra images and information which took our understanding to another level. She was the ONLY guide I saw who had embraced technology in such a way.

The Matisse Room at the Vatican Museum

The Matisse Room at the Vatican Museum

I was also very impressed with how well she knew the museum. Not only logistically but strategically. She knew how to navigate the crowds in such a way our small group was rarely crowded by others. She seemed to not only know every other guide but the security staff there as well.

The Braschi Antinous in the Round Hall of Vatican Museum

The Braschi Antinous in the Round Hall of Vatican Museum

Alessandra was definitely the highlight of this tour. Her humor, knowledge, and patience truly made me feel like she cared about our experience and the museums rich history.

Laocoön and His Sons at Vatican Museum

Laocoön and His Sons at Vatican Museum

Small Group Tours: Bringing the Personal Touch to Experiences

Context Travel specializes in small group tours, although they also offer larger group tours. Small tours will have a positive impact on your experience compared to other companies which only offer large tours. Instead of wasting time herding around 20+people, our guide was able to give us individual attention throughout the tour and answer all of our questions in detail.

Tapestry Room at Vatican Museum

Tapestry Room at Vatican Museum. Those are other tour groups. We have four people.

Our small group was also able to move quickly through the museum and maximize our time. This allowed us to spend more time at the things we wanted to see and less at the pieces we didn’t. This extra mobility was evident when you saw the look of exhaustion and frustration on the faces of other guides and tourist.

Biga by Francesco Antonio Franzoni at the Vatican Museum Collection

Biga by Francesco Antonio Franzoni at the Vatican Museum Collection

Alessandra was able to really engage me and the others on a personal level. I think I can speak for all FOUR of us and say that we walked away feeling like we were all old friends.

Apollo del Belvedere being Cleaned at Vatican Museum. he Apollo was sketched and copied by several major artists including Michelangelo, Bandinelli, and Goltzius.

Apollo del Belvedere being Cleaned at Vatican Museum. he Apollo was sketched and copied by several major artists including Michelangelo, Bandinelli, and Goltzius.

The “Million Dollar” Question: Is it Affordable?

I hate to use this cliché but you get what you pay for. The Vatican Collections tour runs $100 per person. Full disclosure, I took this tour on behalf of Context Travel. And after having taken it I would EASILY pay for this without a second thought. You see, many tour companies in Rome are going to charge you around $40+ for this same tour. The difference, you aren’t being guided by an Art Historian, you’re in a group of 20+, and you don’t get extra time to enjoy the pieces you want.

Dome of st peter's basilica as seen from the Vatican Museum

Dome of st peter’s basilica as seen from the Vatican Museum

In addition to this tour, Context Travel offers dozens of other tours. Including Walks and Private Tours. Next year I plan to return to the Vatican with Context Travel and take their after-hours tour. More than worth the cost to me.

Chiaramonti Museum hall leading to Braccio Nuovo in the Vatican Museum

Chiaramonti Museum hall leading to Braccio Nuovo in the Vatican Museum

Context Travel: Setting a New Standard in Tourism

I can make all the grandiose statements in the world but believe me, you’ll have an experience like no other. Context Travel has raised my standard for tours and that’s after over 100 over the years. Personal attention, affordability, and energy are all keys to Context Travels excellent track record and high customer happiness. Follow them on social media to see the positive customer reactions and excellent photography.

Divinita fluviale (Arno) River God at Vatican Museum

Divinita fluviale (Arno) River God at Vatican Museum

So whats your favorite kind of tour? Do you prefer large groups or private? What tour would you like to take? Don’t forget to comment below and share.

Sphere within a Sphere by Arnaldo Pomodoro in Cortile del Belvedere at the Vatican Museum

Sphere within a Sphere by Arnaldo Pomodoro in Cortile del Belvedere at the Vatican Museum

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This