Behind the Velvet Rope {Vatican Museums + Rome}

With friends reporting a dusting of snow just outside of Rome and thunder, lightening and a messy mix of rain and sleet bucketing down in my part of town, I have to admit, it was not easy to make myself go outside.  But the invitation for the VIP secret Vatican tour offered by Walks of Italy was too tantalizing to miss for some pesky weather. I made my way across town and just as I ventured outside the rain stopped and there were even slices of blue sky to glimpse.
I had been to the Vatican Museums before and knew I didn't want to go hungry, so I factored in time for  a detour to the new Bonci bakery nearby, and then met the Walks of Italy team at a friendly bar near the entrance.

The period between the Christmas holidays and Carnivale festivities is typically quiet in Rome and we had most of the museum practically to ourselves. A Vatican guard accompanied us, keys in hand, for the entire tour, opening up secret doorways to usually off limits sights.

The first stop was the astonishing Bramante staircase (well, really a ramp), built in the 1500’s under Pope Julius II. The double-helix design is dizzying mathematic perfection.

The highlight of the visit was the recently restored, jewel-box Cappella Niccolina.  Flecks of gold on the colorful frescoes and a window opened only for us really made this tour feel VIP.

On our way to the Sistine Chapel we had a quick visit through the museum's modern collection.

At the end of the tour, a secret exit leading directly to the Basillica San Pietro.

Whether you are a longtime resident or a visitor to Rome, you really do not want to miss this exclusive peek with Walks of Italy, into some of the Vatican's most exclusive treasures. 

You can read more about this exclusive tour from some of my favorite Rome bloggers Browsing Rome, Code Cables and Spaced Law.

Forno Bonci Panifico
via Trionfale 36


  1. I second spacedlaw, and compliments on the pictures! ;)

  2. I was fascinated by your story. I also love to eat in Bonci bakery. Rome is really a perfect place to visit :)


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