Vatican City is a repository of artistic, historical and architectural masterpieces. Get exclusive access so that you can truly appreciate them in awe, without the queues or crowds. Enclaved within Rome, the sovereign state of Vatican City may be surrounded by walls but Bernini’s two semi-circular colonnades in Piazza San Pietro are out-stretched to welcome visitors into the “motherly arms of the church”.
Here, in Christianity’s most sacred place, you can receive a blessing from the supreme pontiff himself. Papal Audience takes place on Wednesdays in St Peter’s Square. Or on Sundays, the Pope gives an Apostolic Blessing from his window during Papal Angelus. Perhaps attend Holy Mass in the wonderful Choir Chapel of St Peter's Basilica, performed by a pre-eminent representative of the Vatican. The liturgy, accompanied by polyphonic music, is a deeply spiritual experience.
Enjoy the solemn peace of the Vatican Museums before dawn. The clavigero, or key keeper, will guide you from room to room as he performs the rite of opening the doors and turning on the lights. From the monumental entrance to the sacred Sistine Chapel, you will get unprecedented access before the general public gain entry. Reflect on this unforgettable experience over breakfast in the Courtyard of the Pinecone. Perfezione.
If you want to explore the Vatican Museums further, our guide can take you through some of the off-limits areas. Perhaps the Gallery of the Candelabra, Tapestries or Maps, depending on your interests. The Renaissance and Baroque art you will witness inside is exemplary. For a truly magical experience that few will ever have, we can arrange a private musical performance within the Sistine Chapel.
If your pursuits are a little more scholarly, meet our guide at a private entrance to access the Apostolic Library, one of the oldest libraries in the world. This incredible collection of historical texts, some printed before 1501, is a tangible link to over two millennia of history. Alongside it are the Secret Archives, where all of the acts promulgated by the Holy See are kept. Consult ancient books and prints during this exclusive sneak peak at over 50 linear miles of historical treasures.
As you look upon the sacred beauty, art and architecture of this holy city, contemplate those who have been here before you – Michelangelo, Raphael and the Popes of yore. The size of this Papal state inversely represents its cultural and historical significance.
Best time to travel: All Year
Number of nights: Six
For individuals, couples, families or small private groups.