The Vatican City State is the smallest sovereign country in the world–a political unity that houses one of the richest collections of art in the world. In the centuries when the different Popes were the leaders of Rome and the Pontifical State, they created one of the richest art collections of Europe. Rome had been their property since the XV century, where they were to commission artists of the likes of Michelangelo, Botticelli, Perugino, Raphael, and Bramante. The city was a treasure trove for these artists who all came from the Italian peninsula. Here, the different popes could follow their interest in collecting and preserving the Ancient Greek and Roman art that had been abandoned during the medieval centuries. Together with these artists, the popes began to create one the first museums of the world: the Vatican Museum.
I will accompany you in this fascinating adventure of discovering the works created thousands of years ago, and help you to understand the meaning and the myth hidden in each marble portrait, sculpture or sarcophagus. Furthermore, walking with me through these galleries is to enter into the history of religions, from Paganism to Hebraism and up to Christianity.
The Sistine Chapel, known in the world as the master work of the Renaissance, represents the synthesis of the religions. The chapel itself boasts three thousand frescoed figures that depict the life of humanity; from the Creation to the Last Judgment, the corporeal body is glorified in the biblical history of mankind, narrated by such Renaissance masters as Botticelli, Perugino, Ghirlandaio and the greatest of all, Michelangelo.
From the Sistine Chapel we will continue on to visit the biggest Christian church in the world: St. Peter’s Basilica. It is impossible to articulate the magnificence of this jewel of architecture designed by the masters of the Renaissance and the Baroque: Bramante, Raphael, Perruzzi, Sangallo, Michelangelo, Bernini, and Borromini. 168 years of works, twenty six popes sitting on the Throne of Peter and thousands of workers contributed to its construction. You will have the privilege of admiring Michelangelo’s Pièta and Bernini’s canopy with the knowledgeable explanation of an Architect.