A private tour of the Vatican will undoubtedly introduce you to much history about this fascinating place. You may find out things you wouldn’t otherwise have learned if you visited by yourself, simply because your tour guide will have the inside stories and information you won’t see in a traveler’s guide book.
But in the meantime, here are some interesting facts to whet your appetite:
- When you’re walking in St Peter’s Basilica, tread with respect: you’re literally standing over a city of the dead. The Emperor Nero, who’s famously said to have fiddled while Rome burned, blamed the great fire of Rome in AD64 on the Christians. They were executed in their thousands and buried on Vatican Hill, outside the city walls of Rome itself in accordance with Roman law. One of these was said to be St. Peter, leader of Jesus’ apostles. The current Basilica was built over the necropolis and around the location of what is thought to be his grave, which can be visited as part of private tours of Rome.
- The red granite obelisk seen in St Peter’s Square during private Vatican tours first stood in Heliopolis in Egypt. The Emperor Augustus arranged its relocation to Alexandria, while one of his successors, Caligula, brought it to Rome in AD37. Commissioned by an unknown Pharaoh, it’s now over 3,000 years old and is the only ancient obelisk in Rome that is still standing today – all others have fallen.
- Wherever you are within Vatican City, you are also standing within a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While you may have visited such prestigious landmarks before, this one is unique: it is the only World Heritage Site that extends over an entire country!
There is plenty more to learn about this beautiful place during a private tour of the Vatican. It truly is remarkable for its huge and mesmerizing history.