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Specific Scavi Tour - Vatican

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Michigan, USA
posts: 518
reviews: 91
Specific Scavi Tour - Vatican

We have been cleared to attend the Scavi - Necropolis tour. The instructions given are:

"Enter through the Holy Office Gate (on th eleft side of the colonnade, at the end of Via Paolo VI), and PASS through the Security Check Point"

Can someone tell me on the map (link attached) I have what the number is we go to for this specific location... I am guessing somewhere like 3 or 62 or 63... but want to make sure I know exactly where we are to go.

saintpetersbasilica.org/vaticancity-map.htm

Thanks!

Michigan, USA
posts: 518
reviews: 91
11. Re: Specific Scavi Tour - Vatican

This will be my second trip to Rome, having been several years ago, and I am really looking forward to doing all these new things... it will be like being there for the first time.

I too had no idea this tour was available, and only learned of it by reading threads here on the Forum - I JUST LOVE TRIPADVISOR!

This trip I am traveling with my husband who just recently decided to start going on trips like this with me (before it was my best girlfriend and I).... He LOVES this kind of "behind the scenes" thing so he is going to love it.

Edited: 8:26 am, February 05, 2013
Porto Alegre, RS
posts: 97
reviews: 128
12. Re: Specific Scavi Tour - Vatican

Guys, you think a Louis Vuitton bag (bosphore model) would be considered "big" to carry with into this premises? Thanks :)

Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
posts: 33,114
reviews: 22
13. Re: Specific Scavi Tour - Vatican

If you can sling it around to the front, it might be OK, but I can't be sure. I wouldn't take a chance with a borderline bag, because if you can't take it in, there's no place to check it there.

Gurnee, Illinois
posts: 6
reviews: 22
14. Re: Specific Scavi Tour - Vatican

Can you PLEASE tell me how long it took fora reply.? I have been waiting for over a month (we are going inSeptember) and still nothing. I would like to schedule other tours around this one. Also, we are doing the same thing you did.2 days inRome, any suggestions on how to get the most out of the2 days? Any suggestions would be appreciated. thank you!

pittsburgh
Destination Expert
for Rome
posts: 19,988
reviews: 14
15. Re: Specific Scavi Tour - Vatican

Sometimes you hear back immediately and sometimes it can take weeks. I put in a request in January and didn't hear back until the end of March so it can take some time. I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Donna

Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
posts: 33,114
reviews: 22
16. Re: Specific Scavi Tour - Vatican

If you're only in Rome for two days, I would question whether you should take a "scavi" tour at all. You get no choice of the time of day, and it's often ends up wrecking your schedule for the whole day.

schenectady,ny
posts: 26
17. Re: Specific Scavi Tour - Vatican

I've seen the scavi tour mentioned a couple times. What exactly is it?

pittsburgh
Destination Expert
for Rome
posts: 19,988
reviews: 14
18. Re: Specific Scavi Tour - Vatican

It's a tour of the necropolis under St. Peter's basilica. It is said that they have found the actual bones of St. Peter and the tour allows you to see them.

It's a very difficult tour to get on as they only allow 150 people per day into the site.

Donna

Le Marche, Italy
Destination Expert
for Rome, Marche
posts: 33,114
reviews: 22
19. Re: Specific Scavi Tour - Vatican

It's real name is the tour of the Vatican Necropolis. "Scavi" is just the Italian word for "excavation", and I don't know why people call this the "scavi tour". Once on this forum, someone asked about the scavi tour, and a Roman asked "Which scavi?" Rome is full of "scavi". Even the excavations for the construction of a building are called scavi.

The Necropolis tour takes you to the excavations of an ancient Roman cemetery under St. Peter's Basilica. For centuries it was reported that the main altar of St. Peter's Basilica was constructed over the main altar of the earlier basilica, which was constructed right over the tomb of St. Peter. In the 20th century, excavations were started to find the tomb. I once was told by a guide on this tour that when the cemetery was first found, the clergy were shocked to find a pagan cemetery, so they stopped the work and didn't resume it until a later time. This sounds fishy, because even an untutored lay person should realize that when St. Peter was crucified, all the cemeteries in Rome were pagan cemeteries. I've also read that the excavations were stopped because of World War II, which sounds more plausible. In any case, eventually they found what seemed to be the tomb of St. Peter, with an insciption identifying it, but it was empty. However, a short distance away, and higher up, they found the remains of a middle aged man from the same period. It's now believed this is the body of St. Peter. During one of the imperial persecutuions, the body was moved for safekeeping, probably to the catacomb of San Sebastiano, and brought back at a later date. When the Emperor Constantine built the first basilica, he leveled the ground, chopping off the tops of the tombs that were too high, and filling in the low spots with rubble. The tomb may have been moved a little higher to keep it from being buried. In very early times, a small chapel had been built above the tomb, where pilgrims came to pray. When the first Basilica was built, the Chapel of the Confession was built around this original little chapel.

When you take the tour, you're taken along an ancient Roman road, and shown some painted pagan and Christian tombs. Finally you see the supposed tomb of St. Peter, and then you're taken up into the crypt of the basilica, to the Chapel of the Confession, where you can look down a little opening and see a lamp that supposedly burns before the actual body of St. Peter.

If you don't take the tour of the Necropolis, you can enter the crypt from the main floor of the basilica, by a stairway near the main altar. There's no charge to enter the crypt. Here you can see the Chapel of the Confession, with the niche that is above the tomb. You usually can't enter the chapel, but it's open at the front and you can kneel in front of it. You can see the tombs of many other popes in the crypt.

If you do take the tour, after it's over, you can visit the crypt and then go up to the main floor of the basilica and so visit the basilica without having to wait in the sometimes-long security queue. (You'll have gone through security already before taking the necropolis tour.)

The tour is interesting, but I don't think it's something you should ruin your schedule for. You can see as much of the tomb from the crypt as you can from the excavations below. If you want to see painted Roman tombs or an ancient Roman street, there are other places in Rome to see those.

Porto Alegre, RS
posts: 97
reviews: 128
20. Re: Specific Scavi Tour - Vatican

I'd say for sure that this tour was one of the main attractions of my European tour (Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Berlim, Prague, Budapest, Athens, Rome, Paris and London) and it doesn't have the 1st position only because Paris Catacombs are massive but surely can be considered the 2nd best thing I've done this summer.

So yeah, if you find a spot for you in the tour I'd say go for it!

If you need anything with schedules are planning for the rest of the day don't forget to contact me!

:)