Europe, Photography, Travel

Behind Closed Doors: The Vatican Tour with Walks of Italy

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The Vatican is known for housing some of the most infamous works of art and being the basis for countless conspiracy theories but what really got us giddy in the pants were the stories that accompanied our VIP Vatican tour with Walks of Italy. History, secrecy, reverence, scandal, beauty- there isn’t much that the world’s smallest independent state lacks, especially when you throw the unofficial history into the mix.

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After skipping ahead of the self-guided tourists, who had been waiting in line for several hours, we made our way inside to meet our personal Vatican guard. Clad in a black leather jacket, matching shoes (matching the jacket, as well as each other), jeans, and a pair of Ray-Bans, we had the most stylish secret service agent dissolving any doubt that we were more important than everybody else.

On the other side of the velvet rope awaited jealous and hateful stares as well as areas that are normally off limits to the public. So impressive were these areas that even our guard was taking pictures on his phone. Terraces with incredible views, personal prayer rooms, and more art than you can shake a pastoral staff at.

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Just around the corner and out of sight from the crowds sat a curious wooden chair with a slot in the middle of the seat. Without prior knowledge, one would assume it was removed from his holiness’ outhouse- thought the design was less-than-ideal. Not to mention, why would the Vatican surround something like that with priceless sculptures and mosaics? The answer comes from the official history. It is believed that a women was once named as Pope without anyone being the wiser. When it was finally discovered, this chair was created to ensure that future Popes were endowed with the required equipment.

Without spoiling too many surprises, some of the most impressive stories belonged to the art. And the Sistine Chapel was not to be outdone. Whether discussing the beginnings of why a sculptor was commissioned (and forced) to paint the ceiling or learning about the impressive innovations Michelangelo made, there are stories everywhere- if you only know where to look.

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Disclosure: We were guests of Walks of Italy for this tour, however all opinions are our own.

24 thoughts on “Behind Closed Doors: The Vatican Tour with Walks of Italy”

  1. Whoa guys, these are some seriously stunning photos! Why do I always have to be ashamed of something when I leave a comment here? LOL 😀 I am Italian and I’ve never visited the Vatican… well only St Peter, from outside. Opsie.
    Extremely interesting… and what a mysterious, timeless, opulent place!
    I remember studying all these “Sale Vaticane” (Vatican Rooms, or Museums) back at high school, and most of all I was fascinated by the Sistine Chapel and the Laoconte statue (the one with the snakes).
    I am not religious (definitely not Catholic -anymore-) but this is art at its excellence and can’t leave anyone indifferent… it’s really impressive!
    Glad you had the chance of visiting all this. 🙂

    1. Thank you!!! I was smiling the entire time I was editing. I can’t believe how well the camera caught some of the details.

      As for visiting the Vatican – it is already a pricey endeavor and if you can’t see the nooks and crannies, I’m not sure it would be worth it. It is a glorified art museum at that point?

      I love it. There was so much scandal (and the art was nice too).

    1. I wish I had more time to stand in front of the art pieces. They were saying that if you took 1-2 minutes at every art piece that it would take you 12 years to see everything!

  2. Wow!! Love the pics. I’m not particularly religious but I’ve always loved the unique architecture and art found at churches, temples and mosques and the Vatican is the creme of the crop.

    1. I’m not religious either but looking back at half my pics through Latin America – many were of churches. They are just so impressive.

      I can’t wait to see mosques one day!

  3. I feel like I’ve just been hypnotised scrolling through this post, the colours are so vivid! The view from the balcony looks incredible – the VIP tour seems like it is definitely the way to go.

    1. The balcony was a little weird I have to say. Knowing that it used to be part of the pope’s private quarters makes it even more awesome.

  4. Now I can see why you won the award for your photography. Beautiful photos that capture all the pristine detail. Happy Thanksgiving too.

  5. Beautiful photos. I traveled a little in Northern Italy but always wanted to see the Vatican. Your photos came out great.

    1. The Vatican was probably one of my favorite part of “Italy” (in quotes due to it being their own country or whatever). We could have gotten our passports stamped but didn’t even think about it!

  6. I’d love to go back now that I know a little about photography and have a good camera.

  7. Sounds like such a great tour! I’ve been to the Vatican twice, once in 1995 and once in 1999, so I don’t remember too much, and I certainly didn’t have a tour like the one you did. Andy has never been to Rome, so I know we’ll go to the Vatican when we get to Rome, and we might have to take this kind of tour. Such an interesting and fascinating place! LOVE your photos!!

      1. It’s amazing how little I remember of the trips I took as a teenager. I was 15 and 19 when I was there, and now I’m 32! Miss you too, I had fun hanging out when you were here!

  8. SUPERB photos of your journey through the Vatican! Wow, they really bring your entire experience to life!! I have fond memories of my last visit there and I still can’t get enough!

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