Vatican City

Home of the Catholic Church, the enclave of the walled Vatican City State is located within Rome, Italy.

Artviva: The Original and Best Walking Tours
Average Rating:   4.9
out of 5 stars
   Based on 102 Ratings.

On 2017/11/02
Thomas Wilson said:

Art Viva's reputation is richly deserved. And Angelo is one of the best tour guides I've ever witnessed. Our evening walk of the Oltrarno district and The Original Florence Walk the next day were extraordinary in their depth, historical perspectives, contexts, interesting stories, and his warm delivery. He loves this city. Now we do too. Thanks Angelo. Sincerely, Thomas and Taffi Wilson

On 2017/10/20
Keith and Sue Ferguson said:

We thoroughly enjoyed our 3 tours with Hilde and Tatianna.

We signed up for the day of three tours; Original Florence, Uffizi and David. It was a long day but our guides made it a special experience. We would heartily recommend the tours to others visiting Florence. Our guides knowledge, passion and stories will be remembered long after our return home.

On 2017/09/10
Kim said:

Best Tours Ever

It was our very first trip to Italy, so my husband and I decided to book tours with ArtViva based on Rick Steves' recommendation. We took the Accademia tour with Ingrid, the Uffizi tour with Klaus, and the Original Florence tour with Tatiana. Each guide was a joy to be with. They were all both extremely knowledgeable about their subjects and were enthusiastic about presenting it. I learned so much about the amazing Florentine art and architecture. It was worth every penny. I would highly recommend ArtViva's tours to everyone!

On 2017/08/31
E said:

Fantastic walking tour with Hilde. I would recommend it to everyone visiting Florence.

On 2017/08/03
Stephanie said:

Fantastic Experience!

We took four tours through Artviva, three from Florence and one from Venice--all excellent! We took this tour the next day from Florence, and it was the perfect half-day to get a glimpse of the Tuscan wine country without committing an entire day (we had Florence sightseeing in the morning, wine country in the afternoon). Vito was our tour guide and driver, and he was so much fun. With the group, we got a chance to chat with folks from all over the world, and the collegiality was equally as enjoyable as the estate, wine, and olive oils we tasted when we arrived at the estate. We tried the fares, learned about the history of the estate and wine in Tuscany in general, and then took a tour of the property. Both the wine-making facilities and the private home of the Lord and Lady were open for us to tour. It was incredible! And there was even a rare piece of World War I history too (you'll have to visit to find out)! Truly, a terrific experience.

On 2017/08/03
Stephanie said:

Fantastic Experience

We took four tours through Artviva, three from Florence and one from Venice. They were each outstanding. Your Own Cinque Terre (private tour): on our last day in Florence, we took a one day private trip to three of the five villages in Cinque Terre. Elenora was our tour guide all day, and our driver was Massimo. Both were fantastic! Elenora especially made our tour truly an experience we will never forget. She's brilliant, easy going, and full of interesting information about the cities and their histories. She even gave us an overview of the towns we traveled through on the drive to the coast. She escorted us through the train system, around the cute and winding cobblestone streets, and even to a fantastic family-owned restaurant for some seafood pasta and wine from the region. It was like having an old friend show you around her hometown. I cannot recommend this tour enough. The sights (!!), the food, the tour guide (seriously, ask for Elenora!)... all were lovely.

On 2017/08/03
Stephanie said:

Fantastic Experience!

We took four tours through Artviva, three from Florence and one from Venice. They were each outstanding. Smart, friendly, adept tour guides led us around. And, friendly, helpful office staff helped us navigate the booking process (even before we arrived, they helped me process the booking and coordinate with meet-up locations all via email in advance). Original Florence Walk & David Tour (private tour): Corrina was our tour guide, and she was a real joy. She met us in our hotel lobby (super convenient!) and gave us a terrific tour of Florence, emphasizing its architecture, culture, history, and the daily lives of Florentines throughout the centuries. It was capped off by a visit to the David, and arriving with a tour meant that we were able to skip that incredibly LONG LINE. It was the perfect way to become acquainted with the city, and I highly recommend making this your first tour in Florence. Be

On 2017/07/18
Kathy said:

We were touring with our 17-year-old grandson. The "Off the Beaten Path" tour with Shannon was the best we had I Italy and his favorite too. To see things that are not crowded with other tourists and so unique was a nice change from the "usual." Other tours with Artiva were excellent as well with very knowledgeable guides who seemed to be able to answer every question, even from a teenager who was anxious to know "everything." Thank you, Shannon and Artiva

On 2017/07/14
Joe Fisher said:

Thank You, Elisabetta!

We enjoyed our wonderful day with you in Firenze. Thank you for your knowledge, humor, guidance, and keeping us in the shade! Your love of Firenze is obvious. The five Elizabeths, and the rest of us thoroughly enjoyed this unique experience and would recommend it to anyone!

On 2017/07/08
Jennifer said:

Made Florence and Venice come alive!

My Zicasso travel agent booked tours through ArtViva for myself and my husband. We were so pleased she did! In Venice Leticia took us on the water by gondola and speed boat; this is the way to see Venice! Then Tatiana took us through St. Mark's and Doge's Palace, helping us understand the symbolism, art, and history of these places. In Florence, Rodrigo led us to better understand the David and spent time going into our questions with thoughtfulness. A 3 hour walking tour with Kate opened our eyes to what was in plain sight! We would not have understood Florence without her! Finally, the piece de resistance was Klaas and the tour of the Ufizzi Gallery. His storytelling and excitement was effervescent! We adding his tour because of the pleasure we had on the other booked tours, and I'm so glad that Klaas was our last ArtViva tour - what a beautiful ending to being in Florence! Thank you, ArtViva, for making these two cities come alive. I was so pleased with your guides, professional office staff, and joy!

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The name ‘Vatican’ dates back pre-Christ, with land across the Tiber river having been nominated thus at least by the time of the Roman Republic. The area was already considered sacred at this time, with Pagan altars, monuments and tombs having been placed here.

Over time, it became a popular area also amongst Christians and indeed, St Peter visited the area upon his arrival to Rome.

St Peter was considered the first Pope of the Catholic Church. He was eventually crucified as a martyr on the Vatican site around 64-67. At around this time, his role was assumed by Pope Linus. Whilst the role and function has evolved somewhat over time, today Pope Francis is the 266th Pope to rule over the Christian state of Vatican City.

From the time of St Peter’s arrival, we have the formation of the Holy See, the jurisdictional and governing body of the Catholic Church. A few decades later, in the early 300s, the area saw the construction of St Peter’s Basilica.

Eventually the Vatican City site grew to house more power and more property. Popes accumulated additional territories, establishing Papal States in various parts of Italy and beyond. They took on secular political positions in the Roman government, battled wars over land disputes and managed to accumulate great wealth and power.

The ruling Popes did not always have their residence at the Vatican City however, living instead in other Roman palaces and even in Avignon, France, for some decades.

Upon unification under the Kingdom of Italy in 1861, Pius IX returned to lay claim to the Vatican State lands. All satellite territories within the peninsula fell to the Kingdom of Italy, as the Holy See ceded all bar Vatican City.

And here arose the great “Roman question”.

In essence, the Roman Question was a debate about what - if any - of the enclave within Rome was to be held by the Holy See and what was to fall under the command of the Kingdom of Italy. To maintain hold on the Vatican City property, Popes and other clergy remained holed up inside for 59 years until the questione romana was answered

In 1929, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Pope Pius XI signed the Lateran Treaty, ratified as an agreement to settle the political dispute that arose after the unification of Italy in 1861.

Whilst all secular power the Pope had held was lost, the Vatican State was recognised as the sovereign territory of the Holy See. The Holy See has "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction" over Vatican City State.

Today, Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world, with a population of less than 850 people living in a space of just 44 hectares. Most Vatican City inhabitants are Catholic clergy from around the world.

Predominantly due to lack of space within the Vatican City walls, foreign embassies to the Vatican are located throughout Rome, although some were permitted within the walls during  World War II.

Inside the Vatican City walls is the Vatican Museums, showcasing artworks accumulated by the church. The Vatican Museums collection dates back to the early 1500s and is today number five on the list of the world’s most visited museums of art.

The first piece added to the Vatican Museum collection was an excavated sculpture, Laocoön and His Sons, that likely dated back to 27 BC and 68 AD, unearthed in Rome in 1506  before being placed on display as the Vatican Museums first artwork just one month later.

Two years later, Michelangelo commenced the Sistine Chapel Ceiling. Around the same time, Raphael was commissioned to work on the Stanze della Segnatura.

Today, the Vatican Museums house 54 galleries showcasing some of the world’s most precious artworks.

Vatican City has its own economy, earning income from ticket sales to the Vatican Museum, the selling of publications and souvenirs, as well as official Vatican postage stamps and even commemorative coins from its own currency.

The Vatican City has its own communications services (including its own radio station), as well as health and security departments.

€ 75.00

Masterpieces of the Vatican & St. Peter's

Our Vatican tours get you streamlined access to the museum and its world-famous collection of masterpieces. Book your place in one of our small groups led by some of the most knowledgeable and passionate local guides.
€ 69.00

The Vatican with Pre-Reserved Museum Tickets

Experience the pomp and grandeur of the Holy City during this private visit to the Vatican. Pre-reserved entry comes with a personal expert guide who will lead you through the stunning corridors and halls of the Vatican for a truly memorable experience.
€ 165.00

After-Hours Vatican Museum Visit, by Special Invitation

Experience your very own private after-hours access to the Vatican Museums, in the company of an expert historian who will guide you through the Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica.
€ 31.25

Private transfer from Civitavecchia Port to Rome centre

Make the most of your day in Rome with this private transfer from your cruise ship in Civitavecchia to central Rome.