Thread: vatican tour
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Old 11-20-2006, 12:28 PM
joyceh joyceh is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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Pinky, you asked for a little review of the Scavi tour. We were fortunate to get tickets, they only let 200 people in a day. The tour was great and I would highly recommend it. The tour takes you approximately 70 feet below the canopy in St Peter's basillica where the bones of St Peter are believed to be found. After traversing down narrow stairways and corridors, you enter a street that contains two story houses used as mausoleums to house family crypts and urns, including the servants. It was simply amazing to see what this area looked like from early AD (St. Peter is dated at 67 AD) to approximately 300 AD when the area, then a swamp and a hill, was levelled with dirt and the foundation of St Peter's basillica was built by the emperor Constantine. These houses are largely intact and have beautiful frescos (both Egyptian, pagan and christian) and mosaic floors. The ornately carved sarcophagi are museum worthy and in perfect condition. The tomb of St Peter is not directly exposed as the foundations of Bernini's canopy surround it, but you can see a small portion of it. The tour guide was very knowledgable on history and architecture and made the 1 1/2 hour tour very educational and enjoyable. As a side note, they warn people who have claustrophobia. I have a mild case of this but found once you went through the narrow corridors, the space opened up into ceilings that were 20 feet high so it was no problem.
Joyceh