Saturday, May 05, 2007

Exclusive night tours of the Vatican

An LA-Times story that rhapsodizes about a new offer from the Vatican Museums: exclusive night tours, including the Sistine Chapel, without squeezing past the unwashed masses to see the priceless contents.
Although officially closed at night, the Vatican is allowing exclusive tours for small groups. They're run by Helen Donegan, an Irishwoman who has lived in Italy for 30 years. She has forged strong links with the Vatican and persuaded the authorities to allow her to take in people, after hours, who don't like crowds. These tours are for those who want to see the chapel as it was meant to be seen: as a place for contemplation and prayer, the whole spiritual experience, preferably lying down so you can fully savor the view of the tremendous goings-on up on the ceiling.

The tour lasts three hours, taking in the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. The maximum group size is 20, with one guide for every 10 visitors. Donnegan can also assist with reasonably priced hotel accommodations in Rome.

Going to the chapel with very few people is really something: You can see. And you do have to wonder what was going on in Michelangelo's brain with all that manic writhing in the story of creation and, on the end wall, the damning Last Judgment.
One wonders what kinds of connections this Irish lady has to organize these. It ain't cheap either -- €250a visit! That's over twenty times the regular price of admission. Limited number of dates listed on their website, stretching into 2008.

Not sure when I'll be back in the Eternal City again. But whenever it is, I think I'll be shelling out the €12 and taking my place with the hoi polloi.


St. Elizabeth of Cayce said...

Izzy's thinking the same thing. We'll skip the ek$pen$ive tour and eat once or twice whilst in Rome.

Dogwood Dell said...

I can't see paying $325/person for a small private tour. It's a little out of my price range.

Maybe we should get up early and be the first in line for the Vatican Museums. That way we avoid the mobs/tours.

So...When are you planning to return to Italia? Sounds like the calling for a "road trip."

Alas..I forgot you are already traveling.

Gashwin said...

Oh you know if I could, I'd be over in Rome the weekend after I'm back! :)

Going there early in the morning is the best.

'Course if someone wins the lottery, we'll all go. :)