Take a tour around the Eternal City’s most impressive sights alongside off the beaten path itineraries. Half-day, tailor-made tours will focus on the main historical, artistic, philosophical and even religious aspects of the visited sites. All the tours will be enriched by a vegan perspective by exploring the historical, philosophical and religious development of veganism through the centuries. On every tour you will have a special offer to taste some good vegan food.
Saint Peter’s Basilica is a lavish and actively used church in Vatican City. Mass is held daily, and visitors are able to tour the the building for free with appropriate attire (elbows and knees covered for all attendees). Relief sculptures, paintings, exquisite architecture, stained glass depictions of religious scenes, and more adorn the basilica throughout. To visit other areas of the building, such as Michaelangelo’s dome, maybe involve a separate fee and/or different visitor’s hours. Please check the website for the most current information.
The Sistine Chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV della Rovere (pontiff from 1471 to 1484) who had the old Cappella Magna restored between 1477 and 1480. The 15th century decoration of the walls includes: the false drapes, the Stories of Moses (south and entrance walls) and of Christ (north and entrance walls) and the portraits of the Popes (north and south and entrance walls). It was executed by a team of painters made up initially of Pietro Perugino, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Cosimo Rosselli, assisted by their respective shops and by some closer assistants among whom Biagio di Antonio, Bartolomeo della Gatta and Luca Signorelli stand out. On the Ceiling Pier Matteo d’Amelia painted a starry sky. The work on the frescoes began in 1481 and was concluded in 1482. This is also the date of the following works in marble: the screen, the choir stalls (where the choristers took their places), and the pontifical coat of arms over the entrance door. On 15 August 1483, Sixtus IV consecrated the new chapel dedicating it to Our Lady of the Assumption. Julius II della Rovere (pontiff from 1503 to 1513), nephew of Sixtus IV, decided to partly alter the decoration, entrusting the work in 1508 to Michelangelo Buonarroti, who painted the Ceiling and, on the upper part of the walls, the lunettes. The work was finished in October 1512 and on the Feast of All Saints (1 November), Julius II inaugurated the Sistine Chapel with a solemn Mass. The nine central panels show the Stories of Genesis, from the Creation to the Fall of man, to the Flood and the subsequent rebirth of mankind with the family of Noah.
The Vatican Museums originated as a group of sculptures collected by Pope Julius II (1503-1513) and placed in what today is the Cortile Ottagono within the museum complex. The popes were among the first sovereigns who opened the art collections of their palaces to the public thus promoting knowledge of art history and culture. As seen today, the Vatican Museums are a complex of different pontifical museums and galleries that began under the patronage of the popes Clement XIV (1769-1774) and Pius VI (1775-1799). In fact, the Pio-Clementine Museum was named after these two popes, who set up this first major curatorial section. Later, Pius VII (1800-1823) considerably expanded the collections of Classical Antiquities, to which he added the Chiaromonti Museum and the Braccio Nuovo gallery. He also enriched the Epigraphic Collection, which was conserved in the Lapidary Gallery. Gregory XVI (1831-1846) founded the Etruscan Museum (1837) with archaeological finds discovered during excavations carried out from 1828 onwards in southern Etruria. Later, he established the Egyptian Museum (1839), which houses ancient artifacts from explorations in Egypt, together with other pieces already conserved in the Vatican and in the Museo Capitolino, and the Lateran Profane Museum (1844), with statues, bas-relief sculptures and mosaics of the Roman era, which could not be adequately placed in the Vatican Palace. The Lateran Profane Museum was expanded in 1854 under Pius IX (1846-1878) with the addition of the Pio Christian Museum. This museum is comprised of ancient sculptures (especially sarcophagi) and inscriptions with ancient Christian content. In 1910, under the pontificate of Saint Pius X (1903-1914), the Hebrew Lapidary was established. This section of the museum contains 137 inscriptions from ancient Hebrew cemeteries in Rome mostly from via Portuense and donated by the Marquisate Pellegrini-Quarantotti. These last collections (Gregorian Profane Museum, Pio Christian Museum and the Hebrew Lapidary) were transferred, under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII (1958-1963), from the Lateran Palace to their present building within the Vatican and inaugurated in 1970. The Museums also include the Gallery of Tapestries, a collection of various 15th and 17th century tapestries; the Gallery of Maps, decorated under the pontificate of Gregory XIII (1572-1585) and restored by Urban VIII (1623-1644); the Sobieski Room and the Room of the Immaculate Conception; the Raphael Stanze and the Loggia, which were decorated by order of Julius II and Leo X (1513-1521); the Chapel of Nicholas V (1447-1455), painted by Fra Angelico; the Sistine Chapel, which takes the name of its founder, Pope Sixtus IV; the Borgia Apartment, where Pope Alexander VI lived until his death (1492-1503); the Vatican Pinacoteca, created under Pius XI (1922-1932) in a special building near the new entrance to the Museums; the Missionary-Ethnological Museum which was founded by Pius XI in 1926, arranged on the upper floors of the Lateran Palace and later transferred, under Pope John XXIII, to the Vatican where it has been opened again to the public in the same building which housed the former Lateran collections. In 1973 the Collection of Modern and Contemporary Religious Art was added and inaugurated by Pope Paul VI (1963-1978) in the Borgia Apartment. The Vatican Historical Museum, founded in 1973 and transferred in 1987 to the Papal Apartment in the Lateran Palace, houses a series of papal portraits along with objects of the past Pontifical Military Corps and of the Pontifical Chapel and Family and historic ceremonial objects no longer in use. The Carriage and Automobile Museum is a section of the Vatican Historical Museum. In the year 2000, the Vatican Museums opened a new large entrance that provides visitor information and other services; on display are many new artworks, two of which were specially created for this grand entrance hall.
Dedicated to the worship of every god (Pan-every Theon-divinity), the Pantheon was built by the Emperor Hadrian between 118 and 125 A.D. over the ruins of another temple dating back to 27 A.D. Statesman and General Marcus Agrippa was responsible for the construction of the original church, to whom a dedicatory inscription is clearly visible over today’s magnificent portico. In 609, it was converted into a Christian Church by Pope Boniface IV and consecrated to Santa Maria of the Martyrs. Turned into a memorial chapel for the kingsof Italy in 1870, the tombs of Vittorio Emanuele II, Umberto I and Margherita of Savoy are to be found here together with that of the celebrated Renaissance Artist Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, who is more often referred to as simply Raphael. The Pantheon is free to visit, and though heavy lines will form throughout the day for admittance, they move quickly.
Located in the archaeological heart of the city of Rome, the Flavian Amphitheatre, or, more commonly, the Colosseum, stands for monumentality and receives daily a large number of visitors attracted by the enchantment of its history and its complex architecture. Built in the first century CE at the behest of the emperors of the Flavian dynasty, the Colosseum, named after a colossal statue that stood nearby, until the end of the Ancient Age accommodated games of great popular appeal, such as hunts and gladiatorial fights. The building was, and still is today, a show in itself. In fact, it is the largest amphitheatre not only in the city of Rome but in the world, able to offer stunning sceneries as well as services for spectators. Symbol of the pageantry of the Empire, over the centuries the amphitheatre has changed its face and its function, offering itself as a structured space also open to the Roman community. Today, the Colosseum is a monument unto itself and unto the works of human genius, which survive time; yet it is still comfortable and dynamic, accessible on two levels offering a wide overview onto its interiors, but also short and evocative brief glimpses of the city from its outer arches. It also hosts temporary exhibitions related to the timeless theme of the “Ancient” and its relationship with the “Contemporary”, as well as modern performances. This outcome of events and experiences makes the amphitheatre a new place every day, significant for all and able to tell everybody a story.
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