The Sistine Chapel (Vatican City)
28 October 2015
The Sistine Chapel may be one of the most serene spots on earth, but it doesn't carry the same magnetism when tour-loads of schoolchildren come bounding through and guards grumble "No photo!" like an unending mantra.
Those who want smaller crowds and more time (at least 30 minutes) to gape at Michelangelo's fantastical interpretation of The Last Judgment on the chapel's ceiling can get VIP access to the Vatican on a private after-hours tour from Italy With Us (€350/$387).
Tours start with a Vatican security guard unlocking the doors and end with exclusive access to Raphael's Rooms and the maze of treasures that is the Vatican Museums.
Along the way, Italy With Us ensures an unhurried look at the Vatican's humbling beauty -- one so sought after it's booked out months in advance.
The Huffington Post
Welling Up Outside the Room of Tears - The Sistine Chapel, Vatican City
22 September 2015
"You inch about blindly, looking for foot-space as you try and manouvre yourself under one fresco and then on to another. And 2,000 other visitors are trying to do the same. I count as one of my blessings, to not have experienced the Sistine Chapel as I have described above, but instead, to have entered the chapel with only eight others, just as all other tourists were being ushered out."
"Tonia Maratea, our Italian art historian guide, was not only full of precise information but bubbled with the kind of enthusiasm that brought each piece we stopped at alive."
"How would you describe your experience of the famous frescos? Visit the Sistine Chapel the best way you can www.italywithus.com"
The Irish Mail on Sunday
the Eternal City
19 July 2015
Having visited on a shoestring once before, Arlene Harris returns to savour Rome’s history, art and food in some style...
"...we made our way to the Colosseum office of Italy With Us – an Irish tour company specialising in providing access to areas of important landmarks which are not usually open to the public."
"...a city so steeped in history that it would be almost impossible to get a handle on anything without the help of a professional."
The Mail on Sunday - Mail Online
From extended visiting hours to jumping the long queues: Join the Vatican treasure trail the trouble-free way
21 June 2015
- A tour can be the quickest way to see Rome's most popular attractions
- Some operate visits before or after normal Vatican opening hours
- See the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museum and St Peter’s Basilica
By Valerie Singleton For The Mail On Sunday
The queues to visit the Vatican Museum, St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel were mind-bogglingly long – but I had a cunning plan to dodge them.
Time was of the essence on my short trip to Rome, so I joined a tour with Italy With Us, which organises visits for small groups.
Some visits are before or after normal Vatican opening hours, so you really have the place to yourself.
Rome: Skip the line with a private tour of the Sistine Chapel
21 June 2015
“I’m standing in the Sistine Chapel. Everyone has heard of this place. Most have seen photographs or reproductions of Michelangelo's most famous work. But little can prepare you for the feeling of awe the first glimpse of this ornate ceiling and its exquisite surrounding walls inspires.”
“Our private tour guide, Tonia, is an incredibly knowledgeable art historian whose passion and interest really enhance the visit. Millions of tourists take to the Vatican every year, and queues for the Sistine Chapel can be up to three hours long, but Irish company Italy With Us (italywithus.com), organises private and group tours so visitors can enter either early in the morning or late in the evening to savour the ambience in comfort.”
Manchester Evening News - City Life Magazine
Rome Sweet Rome
21 May 2015
On a weekend city break to Rome, Mark Burrow enjoys eye-opening Italy With Us Private Tours of the Vatican and the Colosseum
“I’ve NEVER done a guided tour before.”
“I'm put off by hordes of tourists bustling their way through a museum, straining to hear an umbrella-wielding guide. I tend to stick to buying a good guidebook and finding my own way around the highlights. But with Rome's ancient treasures tucked away in places you'd struggle to stumble across, a pocket paperback and a map just won't cut it. That said, I still didn't fancy being part of a 50-strong group. Thankfully, in Rome you don't have to.
Italy With Us provide a range of exclusive private and semi-private tours. They've been in Rome since 1998, offering tours of the Vatican, the Colosseum and lots more of the ancient city's remarkable ruins - all led by guides with extraordinary knowledge and passion.”
Statement from the Vactican Museums Press Office:
Launch of new collaborative projects between the Vatican Museums and accredited tour operators
"On the strength of the experience acquired over recent years, the Directorate of the Vatican Museums has decided to develop collaborative projects with accredited tour operators. To this end, two levels of collaboration have been proposed: Silver andBronze.
The tour operators who will participate in Silver Level projects for 2015 are: Eco Art S.r.l, E-Connection Italy di Romasi S.r.l., Servizio a 5 Stelle Gartour, IDI Travel S.r.l, Imago Artis Travel S.r.l, Italy with Us, Walksinsiderome S.r.l., Tuscanyall.com S.r.l., Walks of Italy LLC.
The tour operators who will participate in Bronze Level projects for 2015 are: Magic Group S.r.l. and European Travel Consultants. Thanks to this collaboration it will be possible to implement and develop new projects within the Museum complex, so as to improve the experience of the thousands of visitors who cross the threshold of the "Pope's Museums" every day."
Italy With Us - accredited Vatican Museums Tour Guide
Rise early to see the Vatican at its best
28 March 2015
Mark Greaves‘Before hours’ tours show you the masterpieces without the crowds – and they’re not that expensive.
“It seems a great privilege to walk through the galleries with only a few other people around. The fee isn’t ludicrous, either; a ‘before-hours’ tour, shared with up to 20 people, is £38 a head, while private tours for two are £135 each through Italy With Us.”
National Geographic - Smart Traveller
SNAPSHOT - Sistine Chapel
Home to some of the most famous frescoes in the world, it’s no wonder around six million people flock to the Vatican City’s Sistine Chapel each year. But unless you enjoy staring at Michelangelo's masterpiece cheek-by-jowl with the rest of the crowd, go VIP and book a new private morning tour. Plus, with the installation of a new illumination system to highlight neglected features, there’s never been a better time to visit.
The Times Competition
One lucky Times+ member will win a luxury trip for two to Rome.
We've teamed up with Kirker Holidays to give one member and their guest a two-night trip to Rome. The winners will stay at the top hotel Rocco Forte Hotel de Russie. Located between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo, the hotel is an oasis of tranquillity in the heart of Rome. Outfitted in a classic contemporary style rooms overlook the Secret Garden or Rome’s picturesque terracotta rooftops.
As well as flights, transfers and accommodation with breakfast, the prize also includes Kirker's exclusive Guide Notes and the services of the Kirker Concierge.
The winner and their guest will also enjoy a private tour of the Sistine Chapel with Italy with Us. The guided tour will give the winners a chance to see the famous chapel when it's closed to the public.
Let's Go Magazine - With Ryanair
V IS FOR VATICAN MUSEUMS
Words by Ramsay Short.
You’ve always wanted to see the Sistine Chapel but were put off by the crowds, poor lighting and the heat. The solution? An exclusive tour before or after opening hours, plus a new high-tech lighting and air-conditioning system. Ramsay Short is sold.
The Church of England Newspaper
We received a fantastic review in this article by Kelsey Magan for The Church of England Newspaper.
“Through Italy With Us, we were able to piggyback on the normal Colosseum tours with added perks. They allow the opportunity of seeing both the underground caverns that housed warriors and caged beasts awaiting battle and access to the uppermost ring of the structure, offering panoramic views of the most historic area of Rome.”
“As a part of the Italy With Us tour, we were able to see the important recent renovations to the historic site. Typically, visitors to the Chapel are only allowed to see the famous frescoes by the little precious light that filters through the high windows. Our night tour, however, was able to see the new, 7,000 LED lights installed on a lofty rail structure illuminating the scene.”
The Nudge London
We got a neat review in London's "The Nudge". Excerpt here. To view review online - click here
"Those who have visited Rome will attest to the misery of stickily shuffling through the endless corridors of the Vatican museums, alongside thousands of tourists, in order to reach the Sistine Chapel - the focal point of everyone’s visit…
…You deserve better: to explore the museums, and the Sistine Chapel, in the same way as celebrities and visiting dignitaries do - privately.
As the final crowds of the day are being ejected from the Vatican you’ll meet your guide for a glass of wine by the offices of Italy With Us, on Via Vespasiano. After the debrief you’ll take a short walk to the imposing entrance to the Vatican and, to the bemusement of those who know the Vatican to now be closed, a large door with slowly creak open and allow you to quietly move inside.
Your small group and your guide (if it’s Anton, ask how his bicycle ride from England to China’s progressing..) will be accompanied by a lone Vatican guard with one set of keys - and together you’ll have the run of the place.
Unencumbered by the crowds of the day, you’ll peacefully amble through galleries and courtyards filled with Roman sculptures, tapestries and 15th Century paintings, until heading down a small staircase that leads into the Sistine Chapel. There you’ll learn about the paintings that adorn all of the walls, as well as the famous ceiling; you’ll hear stories of Michelangelo’s strained relationship with Pope Julius II (who commissioned him to paint the Chapel) and you’ll be shown the secret messages and insults that he deftly snuck in to his work."
Tony Perrottet's writes about his new book "The Sinner's Grand Tour" in Huffington Post Books and names ItalyWithUs as his best source for special crowd-beating and "After Hours" Vatican tours and specialized individual tours of little known Roman sites. Tony also visited the Doge's Palace in Venice.
Lesen Sie mehr über uns in "Ein Abend mit Michelangelo" ein großer Artikel in Die Zeit.
Read about us in "Ein Abend mit Michelangelo", a feature article in Die Zeit.
Nick Trend asks in Cultural city breaks: Great art, kept all to yourself, "How do you avoid the ever-growing crowds that pack the big European museums?" And names ItalyWithUs as the best tours for the Vatican, Ancient Rome and the sights of Venice and the Doge's Palace.
Geraldine Torney, travel agent, Rome
Interview with Geraldine Torney of ItalyWithUs, covering a day in the life of the leading Vatican tour operator.
"Our first tour is at 8am – one hour before the normal opening time of the Vatican museums. Once in the office I greet the people who have booked the VIP tour online. They will be taken straight to the Sistine Chapel before they start the actual tour of the museums, so every minute counts. During a normal day there are more than 2,000 people inside the Sistine Chapel at any one time. It can be very uncomfortable indeed. We specialise in getting people into the chapel in the smallest possible numbers, according to the time of day. The most awesome tour we offer is the evening tour when the Sistine chapel is exclusively ours."
The New York Times
New York Times feature article about our After Hours Tours of the Vatican
Cultured Traveler: Alone (or Almost) With Michelangelo in Vatican City
"We walked the length and breadth of the chapel, heads tilted back and mouths open, enjoying each discovery of a new perspective from which to appreciate the frescoes that arched above us and covered the walls. Only our footsteps broke the silence. We had the place to ourselves."
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times article about our Vatican City and Sistine Chapel night time tour
"These tours are for those who want to see the chapel as it was meant to be seen: as a place for contemplation and prayer, the whole spiritual experience, preferably lying down so you can fully savor the view of the tremendous goings-on up on the ceiling."
Chicago Tribune article – "Splurging at the Vatican worth it"
"Stepping into the Sistine Chapel in the rear corner of the museum, any remaining twinges of doubt evaporated into sheer wonder. The colors, 500 years old, were shockingly vivid. The silence was palpable. And best of all, the floor to stroll around and admire it was wide open."
New York Times
New York Times article - Rome at Night - about our Vatican After Hours and Rome tours
Galleries packed to a slow shuffle by day are, at night, emptied like drawing rooms of dreams. The Sistine Chapel is shared by as few as a dozen others, and no one yells if you take a picture.“It’s overwhelming,” said Angela Desmond from Washington, on a tour with Italy With Us (www.italywithus.com). “You have it all to yourself.”
The Sydney Morning Herald
Nick Trend writes about the unique experience of seeing the Vatican "After Hours" with ItalyWithUs…
"…I joined a private Vatican tour run by Italy With Us one Saturday evening in April. Rolling up to the great bronze door of the museums an hour or so after closing time we were admitted to the cavernous ticket hall, which normally swarms with tourists…
"…The feeling in a deserted Sistine Chapel is different. Obviously, the frescoes are visible no matter how crowded it becomes but compared to the usual whispering tide of tourists, there is a stillness that entirely changes the mood."