Vatican - Tour or CD guides

Feb 11th, 2002, 12:28 AM
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Vatican - Tour or CD guides

Hey Y'all - Can someone tell me if it is worth the money to tour the Vatican with a real guide? Or are the CD audio guides just as good? I don't know where I want to stop in there yet. Maybe the mummies, maybe the paintings. Is it worth the money for my own tour guide? I only speak English and I will be traveling with four others. We have reserved half a day for our visit here. Thanks. Chriscat.
Feb 11th, 2002, 04:38 AM
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If you mean the guides that work for the Vatican Museums I can tell you from recent personal experience that not all of them speak comprehensible English.
In that case I'd vote for the tape guide.
On the other hand companies like Scala Reale and others offer guided tours of the Museums and St Peter's that can be absolutely wonderful experiences. That assumes you are interested in the history, a good overview of the art,
religious context of the place, etc.
But a guided tour, although there may be some flexibility in the itinerary if your group is small, may not be appropriate if you are only "maybe" sure of what you want to see. You might want to do a little reading ahead of time to narrow down your interests.
With a tape guide, you can easily skip what you become bored with.
Feb 11th, 2002, 04:47 PM
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I can't speak about the guides, but the CD is outstanding. However, keep in mind that the CD is not a guide, per se. Rather, think of it as an outstanding resource to help you understand and appreciate the objects you will see. Each piece in the museum has a number which you can punch in to learn more about the individual item or the group it represents. Regardless of how you use it, the CD is excellent.
Feb 11th, 2002, 08:20 PM
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There are many services that offer tours of the Vatican. We signed up for one after taking a free tour of the Forum when we were there last May. It met the next morning, and was wonderful. There is so much to see, and so many incredible stories behind everything, that even if you are not Catholic or even very religious, you will come away in awe of what you have seen. Two places in Italy where you will not regret spending money for a tour guide are the Vatican and Pompeii.
Feb 14th, 2002, 10:32 AM
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Another cheap alternative if you are not a serious art lover: Buy Rick Steves' "Mona Winks". It has chapters on most major museums in Europe. We have used it in Rome (including the Vatican museum and St. Peter;s Cathedral), Venice, Florence, and London and have been really pleased. He gives you step by step instuctions on where to go, which things to spend time with, and brief (and often humorous) descriptions of the art along with some basic art history. We also enjoyed CD guides in some places that were not in the book, but in general found that they gave more information than we wanted. I do realize though that if you already know alot about art, "Mona Winks" might be too superficial.
Feb 14th, 2002, 11:05 AM
Book Chick
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I was happy to have had a tour guide & felt it worth the $$$. But I do have yet another cheap alternative. The students of the North American College (of religious studies) on via dell'Umilita give tours at 2:45pm every weekday as part of their apostolic mission. I believe they either don't charge or accept a donation to the college or church in return for the tour. May be worth checking into.
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