Vatican City Off The Beaten Path Tips by icunme Top 5 Page for this destination

Vatican City Off The Beaten Path: 53 reviews and 69 photos

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Egyptian Mummy in the Vatican Museum? - Vatican City
Egyptian Mummy in the Vatican Museum?

Yep - right there in the Egyptian Room of the Vatican Museum. The Egyptian Museum, inaugurated by Pope Gregory XVI, contains objects and works of art that came from monuments and ancient collections located mainly in the area of Rome and its environment (Villa Adriana). You can find basalt statues of the priests of the seventeenth Dynasty and the big fragment of the seated statue of Ramsee II, the Pharaoh who persecuted the Hebrews.

The mummies in their sarcophagus are the real attacation of this Museum, especially that of a princess of the 21st Dynasty - skin turned a dark blue - her hair coloured with red henné - her left eye filled with fabric, as her brain was removed through this eye.

VT friend, Phil, and I had lunch today and talked about what can be found in this Museum - we agreed that people seem to rush on to the Sistine Chapel and bypass so much that is there to be seen - behold, Egyptian mummy cases and one mummy.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Aug 31, 2009
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Behind the Basilica - Vatican City

Behind the Basilica

Vatican CITY Tour

It is ironic that Vatican City itself is off the beaten path. Few people realize that it is possible to tour the City - it is separate from the Basilica, Museum, Gardens, and Scavi (and new Necropolis) Tours.
The Leonine city occupies 108.7 acres with a population of just over 1000. Several thousand additional employees, officials and workmen do not live there.
You will see:
*Arco delle Campane - a marble disk marks the spot where the oblisk originally stood.
*Paul VI Auditorium - 12,000 capacity used for Papal audicences. Unusual architectural style with impressive interior - grandiose bronze and copper sculpture of the Ressurection.
*Piazza di Santa Marta - largest square in Vatican City with great view of Basilica apse.
*Vatican law courts
*House of the Archpriest of the Vatican
*School of Mosaics - responsible for maintaining the vast mosaic works.
Church of Santo Stefan of the Abyssinians
Palace of the Governorship
*Casina Pio IV - small house of Pius IV
Access is permitted by guided visits organized by the information office in St. Peter's Square - left wing of the parvis.


Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Nov 4, 2006
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Basilica San Giovanni Laterano - Vatican City

Basilica San Giovanni Laterano

A freebie with your Vatican Tour ticket!


It is not really publicized but your Vatican Museum Tour ticket provides you free entry to the Lateran Palace Museum as well - across town Basilica San Giovanni at Piazza San Giovanni Laterano

A unique and small museum that includes the old residence of the popes at St. John Lateran. The present exhibit in the apartment explains the history and tradition of the papal court of Pope Pius IX.. A splendid and rare museum open only on Weekends.

Open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:45 AM to 1 PM.
Enter the portico of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran (take a look through this 1st seat of the Pope while you're there) and go to the RIGHT to the doors of the Papal Apartment. Entrance is free to this museum WITH any Vatican Museum or Vatican Tour ticket stub that you have used within a very recent time - check for your dates and try to go within 3 days of your Vatican Tour.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Nov 3, 2006
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Vatican Gardens - Vatican City
Vatican Gardens

If you hot-foot it through the Museum you could easily miss the many vistas available from the many Museum windows. Hoping that you enter the Museum with time to spare so you can fully enjoy the views along with the all the art works.


A 90 minute bus and walking tour of the Vatican Gardens is possible through the Office of Information for Pilgrims and Tourists at the Vatican. This tour of the Gardens is offered everyday at 10 AM except Wednesdays and Sundays, and originates at the office. Plan to be present 15 minutes prior at 9:45 AM. The new office is located in Saint Peter's Square near the Post Office. Ask a guard for directions. Tickets must be purchased in advance. You can reach them by telephone at 011.3906.698.84466 or by telefax at 011.3906.698.85100.

Note: The Vatican Gardens tour is separate from the Vatican Museum Tour.

Phone: 011.3906.698.84466

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 3, 2006
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Courtyard of the Pinecone - Vatican City

Courtyard of the Pinecone

A pleasant respite away from the crowd

It was closing time in the Vatican Museum and I was surprised to note that I had been there for six hours. I'm sure I'll still find little nooks I missed on my next trip. Here in the Courtyard of the Pinecones you will enjoy a very pleasant respite from the sporadic wave of crowds inside the Museum. There was hardly anyone in the Courtyard as I rested my weary feet.
Photo 2 - So, what's with the bronze ball there in the center? Its called Sphere Within Sphere (Sfera Con Sfera). It measures 4 meters in diameter and was created in 1990 by artist Arnaldo Pomodoro - noted for his casting of gigantic columns and globes. The fractured outer surface of the sphere reveals a complex inner sphere that represents the harsh difficulties of the modern world at the end of the second millennium. If one views this work from all the various angles, it will give many perspectives. People did jostle to have their pictures taken beside it so you may stand awhile to view it in solitude or get the photo you would like to keep.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Nov 3, 2006
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Apostolic Academy entrance - Vatican City

Apostolic Academy entrance

Apostolic Academy - Gianicolo

Walking up the back way from the Vatican to Gianicolo hill, we passed this facility on the left side. The winding road up to the top of the Gianicolo was a lovely excursion in itself.

Review Helpfulness: 3 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Aug 16, 2006
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Scavi Entrance way - Vatican City

Scavi Entrance way

Scavi - Excavations Tour Tomb of St Peter

Is the Tomb of St. Peter beneath the Basilica?
Catholic news reports now maintain that modern scientific archaeology has confirmed quite conclusively what tradition has maintained all along. For almost two thousand years all we had to get by on was merely oral tradition and the writings of the Fathers. Then, during the 40s of the last century, the first scientific archaeological excavations were carried out. The results revealed that St. Peter's tomb is indeed located below the Basilica. Further, the walls around the grave were engraved with various graffiti bearing the names: Jesus, Mary and Peter. One of these graffiti is composed of 7 Greek letters; it is inscribed on a red-coloured wall adjacent to the Tomb, and reads: Petr eni .
It was customary in those days to leave out some letters from inscriptions. However, Dr. Margherita Guarducci, an internationally acknowledged expert on epigraphy, was able to fill in the gaps, and came up with the sentence Petros enesti , which means: Peter is within.
We must not forget, however, that the greatest proof remains Constantine's stubbornness to build his Basilica on this spot.

Does all this matter?
While scholars puzzle over the nature of these remains, is it not enough that under the high altar of St. Peter's we have identified the remains of a monument marking a tomb that has drawn Christian worshippers continuously for over 1850 years? It is in that, one would think, that the enduring importance of this monument lies.

We were fortunate to have had Father Erik as our guide and he indicated that he should be available upon request. He was knowledgable, affable, answered many questions glady (with a keen sense of humor). He will prepare you for what to expect with the changes in humidity and ordors.
I recommend him highly.

Excavations Office
Fabbrica di San Pietro
00120 Vatican City

Tel. +39 06 6988.5318
Fax +39 06 6987.3017
Vatican Website:

Other Contact: E-Mail:

Phone: Tel. +39 06 6988.5318


Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Aug 16, 2006
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