Too often, only celebrities and royalty get all-access treatment when they travel around the world. But Dark Rome, the largest tour operator specializing in Vatican tours, is doing something about it.
Bucking tradition—the one that kept us regular folk out—Dark Rome is offering a VIP Vatican & Private Sistine tour for small groups no larger than 10, taking them through a selection of public, often missed and restricted Vatican areas, including:
• The restricted-access Niccoline Chapel, frescoed from top to bottom by Fra Angelico, and gilded with some of the first gold brought by Christopher Columbus from the New World
• The restricted-access Bramante spiral staircase, commissioned by Giuseppe Momo in 1932, which is actually composed of two intertwining staircases—much like a double helix
• 30 minutes inside the Sistine Chapel with just your group and guide after it has been closed to the public—an escape from the oh-so-standard daily crowds
• Plus access to additional locked-door areas with accompanying Vatican guard
Also included in the tour is an informative and guided tour through public-friendly sites such as the Pinecone courtyard, Apollo Belvedere, Lacoon, Gallery of the Candelabra, Gallery of the Tapestries, Gallery of the Maps, Raphael Rooms and Chiaramonti Museum.
The VIP Vatican & Private Sistine tour lasts three hours, offered Mondays and Saturdays at 3:15 p.m. for $290 pp, including a ‘skip-the-line’ entrance ticket. For more information, visit darkrome.com.