Opinions on the best Vatican Tour

Dec 4th, 2006, 08:54 AM
  #1  
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Opinions on the best Vatican Tour

I have read good reviews about the Scavi Tour and the tour through Context Rome. I would very much appreciate readers' opinions on these 2 tours of the Vatican. Which one would you prefer and why? Are these the two best? We are a family of 4 with two kids in early teens and will be traveling in early summer. We will be in Rome for 3 days only.
PBandJ is offline  
Dec 4th, 2006, 09:01 AM
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They are two entirely different kettles of fish.

The Scavi tour only visits an ancient necropolis under St. Peter's Basilica; no one under the age of 15 is admitted.

The ContextRome Arte Vaticana tour, generally led by an art historian, gives an in-depth view of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica.
Eloise is offline  
Dec 4th, 2006, 09:10 AM
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Oh I see. I was under the mistaken impression that the Scavi tour included St. Peters and the Sistine Chapel in addition to the necropolis. Thank you.
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Dec 4th, 2006, 09:32 AM
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The tour does not include St. Peter's; it exits in the Papal Grottoes, where the popes are buried, and then one can go into St. Peter's Basilica without going through the long security line. But there is no tour of St. Peter's and certainly not of the Sistine Chapel.
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Dec 4th, 2006, 09:41 AM
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P.S. Since the Sistine Chapel is part of the Vatican Museums, the ContextRome tour evidently includes it.
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Dec 4th, 2006, 09:49 AM
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Thank you again Eloise. Due to the age of our kids I guess the decision has been made for us. It is too bad. The necropolis tour sounds fascinating. Do you know of any other tours of underground excavated sights that we could see with the kids? A "next best" if you will? I have just begun researching.
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Dec 4th, 2006, 10:09 AM
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There are three things that I can think of.

ContextRome does a (pricey, as all their tours are) Underground Rome tour.

And there is a newly discovered necropolis within Vatican City but not under St. Peter's. Someone just wrote it up:

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34908775

I haven't heard of any age limitations on that one, but it's only given, for the time being at least, on Fridays and Saturdays. It's also a very new thing, and they don't seem - judging from the report - to have gotten all the administrative wrinkles out yet.

Finally, you can just go to the church of San Clemente by yourselves; it has several levels, with a very ancient one with a Mithraic altar. No necropolis, though.

Oh, there's a fourth idea: There are some early Roman villas under the church of Santi Giovanni et Paolo (I think that's the name; I haven't been).
You might do a bit of research on that.
Eloise is offline  
Dec 4th, 2006, 10:32 AM
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You may want to consider going on to the Vatican web-site (or even this Fodor's web-site - type in "vatican tours") in order to learn how to apply for the Vatican's own tour (2 hours of the Museum and Cistine Chapel) which, after having taken both the Context and the Vatican-own tours in the last 2 years,is every much as good as the Context tour, at 1/3 the cost per person.

The only difference is that the vatican-own does not cover St. Peter's, but when we did Context, this part of the tour was given only 10-15 minutes of a rushed explanation, which information, I later determined, was handled much better in any number of guide books (especially Rick Steeves).
nevertooold is offline  
Dec 4th, 2006, 11:11 AM
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Thanks, will do. I'm embarrassed that I misspelled Cistine. I never was a good Catholic.
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Dec 4th, 2006, 11:15 AM
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Actually, you had it right: It's "Sistine" with an "S", after Pope Sixtus the-I-don't-remember-how-manyeth..
Eloise is offline  
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