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joyceh 08-20-2006 10:15 AM

I understand the Vatican offers english speaking tours and if you book with them you have a designated time to get in thus avoiding the long lines. Has anyone done this? Does anyone have contact info so I can book this before my trip? Many thanks for the help.

Hank 08-20-2006 06:44 PM

Joyceh, You are correct about the tours. We have done this tour and also the more difficult to book "Scavi" tour..but it was a few years ago and things have changed. You are going to need to directly contact the Vatican via Fax to get the tour and there are no guarantees. The web site with all the info can be found at :

If the direct link does not work copy and paste into your browser. It is very important that you follow the Vatican's instructions exactly as posted on their site.


joyceh 08-21-2006 05:52 AM

Hank, thanks so much for the info and website. I'll give it a try. What is the "Scavi" tour?

pinky 08-23-2006 10:15 AM

I am pretty new here, but I was just recently in Rome for 10 days. The vatican is definately worth visiting. The Scavi Tour is tour of the ongoing excavations beneath the vatican. There you can see the tomb of st. Peter. You need to reserve well in advance, because they only allow 200 visitors a day in the necropolis. Unfortunately I sent my request too late, so I cant tell you about the tour, but it sounds interesting.
To apply you need to send an email to and tell them the number of people in your group and the date you want to visit. The cost is 10 Euros per person.

I hope you get lucky.


joyceh 08-23-2006 01:21 PM

Jan, thanks for the information on the Scavi tour. I'm sending them an email today requesting a tour! Hopefully, I'll get lucky.

pinky 08-23-2006 01:29 PM

In case you get the tour, I would be interested in getting a little review from you.

Keeping my fingers crossed.


Hank 08-24-2006 10:17 PM

If you get lucky on the Scavi tour (unlikely if you are only in Rome for a single port day) you will receivd an e-mail direct from the Vatican Scavi office telling you to report to the Swiss Guard at a gate located on the left side of St Peters. You will than have to show a copy of the e-mail and will be escorted to the small Scavi office. From there, you will be put in a group of 10 -12 and be given an underground tour that lasts a little over an hour. If you get claustrophobia its not a good tour (smile). The excavations are directly under St Peters Bascilica. I am glad we did this tour a few years ago, but I would not consider it a priority if this is your first visit to Rome. There are too many other things in Rome that would be much higher on my list.


joyceh 08-25-2006 06:50 AM

Thanks Hank for the info. I'm going to be in Rome for 5 days pre cruise. I gave the Vatican Scavi office my dates so I'm hoping I'll get tickets. Good to know about the claustrophobia thing.

joyceh 11-20-2006 12:28 PM

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.

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