Private Evening Vatican Tours

Sep 22nd, 2007, 05:25 PM
  #1  
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Private Evening Vatican Tours

Hello all. I am hoping someone can help me out with this topic. I have heard and found a company that does private evening tours of the Vatican Museums. It is a lady named Helen and she takes groups of 30 or so. But she only does it on certain days and is not going to be leading one on the days I am in Rome.

Does anyone know of companies that take groups on evening private tours?
DulceSophie is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2007, 04:18 AM
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From what I understand, Helen Donegan, Italy with Us, is the only company that is allowed to do this.

dave
daveesl is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2007, 09:52 AM
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That's what I was thinking as well, but it just seems odd that no one else has realized that this is a great service and great way to make some good cash as well.

Anyone else know of other companies?
DulceSophie is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2007, 09:57 AM
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"it just seems odd that no one else has realized that this is a great service and great way to make some good cash as well."

They would if they could. Other companies would love to do this - but they don't call the shots. The Vatican does.
janisj is online now  
Sep 23rd, 2007, 11:14 AM
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Has anyone here taken one of the private tours? I'd be interested in knowing the details.
Linda431 is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2007, 11:51 AM
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I was discussing this with my travel agent (who is a friend) a while back. She said she can arrange private tours of the vatican but they are very "pricey"
Don't quote me on this but as I recall, something like $10,000. Don't know if that includes kissing the ring : )
Lauricelli is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2007, 11:56 AM
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I'll bet she can

But Italy With Us only charges £250
janisj is online now  
Sep 23rd, 2007, 05:16 PM
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Janis,
I've seen at least one other tour company offering "private" Vatican tours. Is Helen's tour different, and in what way? I don't necessarily have to go in the evening, but I would like one that skips the lines and the crowds.
Linda431 is offline  
Sep 23rd, 2007, 05:20 PM
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Helen made a good friend in Pope John Paul II and set up the after-hous tour. You can "rent" the Sistine Chapel, I believe the price is about $6,000 for 2 hours. Italy with Us charges 250 euros. I do not believe anyone else does tours, put possibly they do the "rental".

dave
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Sep 23rd, 2007, 05:57 PM
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"I've seen at least one other tour company offering "private" Vatican tours. . . . I don't necessarily have to go in the evening, but I would like one that skips the lines and the crowds."

Sure there are other tours that skip the lines during the day - but they definitely don't skip the crowds. They are a whole different animal than what the OP is asking about - private evening access.

janisj is online now  
Sep 24th, 2007, 07:32 AM
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Ahh..got it. I wondered why the big difference in price. Thanks.
Linda431 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2007, 08:11 AM
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We took a private, after hours tour last month. It was arranged by our concierge at the Hotel de Russie. It was just our family of four and we had the Sistine Chapel to ourselves for twenty minutes, and also saw many rooms normally off-limits to the public. It was all quite amazing. If you want to know more details (including cost), let me know.
Neil is offline  
Sep 25th, 2007, 11:38 AM
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Neil, I would love to hear the details.
Linda431 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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While we have been to Italy many times, this was a splurge vacation--our last trip before I retire at the end of the year, so I decided we should go in style (you can read more of the details in my previously posted trip report). That included four nights at the Hotel de Russie about which I cannot say enough--just a fabulous hotel with wonderful service, particularly the concierge staff.

One of the perks that the hotel offers is to arrange a private Vatican tour. We reserved this weeks before our trip, as these tours are subject to approval by the Vatican, which is not necessarily guaranteed.

On the day of our tour, we were met at the hotel by our guide Mario at 4:15. He drove us into a private parking lot within the Vatican (after a wave to one of the Swiss Guards), and we were led up a private staircase to the front of St. Peter's. From there, we were taken through another Swiss Guard checkpoint to the grand entrance into the private Papal chambers wher we toured several ornate rooms where the Pope meets visiting dignataries. By this time, the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel were closed, and we were led into the chapel which we had to ourselves for about 20 minutes. The high point then followed, as we were allowed to enter the "Crying Room", the private vestibule off the chapel where a newly elected Pope is taken to don his Papal vestments before greeting the public. It is called the "Crying Room" because the new Pope is often overcome when he realizes the enormity of the position to which he has been elected.

Our tour then proceeded into St. Peter's, after which we were taken down to the crypts. We were again taken to a non-public area to see the private chapels that many Popes and Cardinals use to pray.

The whole tour lasted about two hours, and our guide was amazing. I am embarassed to say that the cost for this was 5000 Euros, but as I mentioned at the outset, this was a once in a lifetime splurge. Standing in the Sistine Chapel by ourselves was an experience beyond description.
Neil is offline  
Sep 26th, 2007, 09:07 AM
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Thank you Neil for sharing that. When you think about the cost, the memories you and your family will have of that day are priceless. I spent the same amount of money redoing my bedroom and hate the way it turned out. I would LOVE to be able to swap that for the experience you had with your family.
Linda431 is offline  
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