Rooftop RomeLast week Insignia, Nautica and Marina all called on the port of Civitavecchia, the gateway to the grand city of Rome. Considering one could spend weeks exploring Rome and still have more to see, guests had many options for excursions that would reveal some of the history, art and architecture of this magnificent city.

Several guests chose to explore the city within the city on the Oceania Cruises excursion, A Private View of the Vatican. The Vatican hosts over four million visitors each year, and this excursion gives guests an intimate opportunity to experience Vatican City and the innumerable works of art displayed within its museums. The Vatican museums are some of the greatest in the world, as they contain the enormous collection acquired by the Roman Catholic Church over several centuries.

Michelangelo’s splendid Sistine Chapel lies near the end of the tour through the museums, but so many other impressive works of art and architectural design can be witnessed along the way, such as this view of the ornate spiral staircase.

Spiral Staircase

Laocoön and His Sons is located in the Pio-Clementine Museum and was acquired by Pope Julius II.

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Hercules of the Theatre of Pompey was recovered near the Theatre of Pompey where Julius Caesar met his demise.

Hercules

Raphael’s masterpiece, The School of Athens, is located in the Apostolic Palace.
School of Athens

The Gallery of Maps by Ignazio Danti, commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII, leads visitors to the Sistine Chapel.

Gallery of Maps

As guests emerged from the museums, they continued on to experience the grandeur of Saint Peter’s Basilica. Michelangelo designed the dome that rises over Saint Peter’s resting place.
St Peter's Dome

Gian Lorenzo Bernini contributed the baldacchino, an ornately sculpted canopy over the altar.
Baldacchino

The exterior of the basilica and its famous square are equally impressive.

Rome2
Of course, photographs cannot completely capture the experience, but they do preserve treasured memories of an amazing visit to Vatican City.