Because of the crowds and long lines, I booked the "Vatican Museums, Sistine and St. Peter: Skip-the-Line Tour". The three hour tour cost 5000 JPY, and included Vatican Museum entrance ticket, priority entrance for Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basillica, guided group tour, and official Vatican Museum headset.
The Vatican City is an independent city state within the city of Rome, Italy. It is the smallest sovereign state in the world by both area and population, with an area of about 110 acres and a population of about 1,000 (mostly priests and nuns). It was established by the Lateran Treaty in 1929 and ruled by the Pope, who is the head of the Roman Catholic Church. I arrived early to find the meeting place, look around on my own before the tour, and to eat lunch.
Our guide was very knowledgeable and did her best to keep our group together in the huge crowd of people. There were many areas where I would like to have looked at things slowly and carefully, but because of the crowds and the tour, we had to keep moving. We started with the Vatican Museums. They contain art works collected by the popes throughout the centuries, roughly 70,000 works, with 20,000 on display. The musuems currently employ 640 people, most who live outside the Vatican. In 2017, six million people visited the Vatican Museums making them the 4th most visited art museum in the world. There are 54 galleries in total, with the Sistine Chapel being the very last within the museum. Photos are not allowed in the Sistine Chapel and they warn you not to talk or make any noise. At the end of the tour we saw St. Peter's Basilica, the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world.
|Our Tour Guide|
This room was filled with hanging tapestries. I wish I could have seen them closer and for longer, but the tour moved on.
|Yes, it really was crowded.|