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Free 90 minute tours leave daily from the Tourist Information at 2:15PM, many days also at 3PM. Telephone: 06-6988-1662. €5 audio-guides can be rented from the checkroom.
Tours are the only way to see the '''Vatican Gardens''', €12, book at least a day in advance by calling 06-6988-4676, Tu,Th, & Sa at 10:00, depart from tour desk and finish in St. Peter's square. To tour the '''Necropolis''' and the '''Saint's Tomb''', call the excavations office at least a week in advance at 06-6988-5318, or email at [email protected] - €13 for 2-hour tour, office open M-Sa 09:00-17:00.
If you want to '''see the Pope''', you can either see a usual blessing from his apartment at '''noon on Sunday''', just show up (however, in the summer he gives it from his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, 40 km/25 mi from Rome) or you can go to the more formal '''Wednesday''' appearance. The pope arrives in the popemobile at 10:30 to bless crowds from a balcony or platform, except in winter, when he speaks in the ''Aula Paolo VI'' auditorium next to the square. You can easily watch from a distance or get a free ticket, which you must get on the Tuesday before. There are a number of ways:
The fountains were designed by two different architects, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
The '''obelisk''' in the middle of the square was transported from Egypt to Rome in 37
During the Middle Ages, the '''bronze ball on top of the obelisk''' was believed to contain the ashes of Julius Caesar. When it was relocated to the present reliquary, the Chigi Star in honour of Pope Alexander VII was added, containing pieces of the True Cross. This is the only obelisk in Rome that never toppled since it was placed in ancient Rome and is the second largest Egyptian obelisk after the Lateran obelisk. This celebrated obelisk nearly shattered while it was being moved. Upon orders of the pope, no one was to speak a word otherwise he would be excommunicated. However, a sailor shouted to water the ropes to prevent them from burning. He was forgiven and in gratitude for saving the day, the palms for Palm Sunday still come from the sailor's home town of Bordighera. The moving of this obelisk was celebrated in engravings during its time to commemorate the Renaissance's recovery and mastery of ancient knowledge.
===The Vatican Museums===
<see name="The Vatican Museums" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Home.html" hours="M-Sa 09:00-18:00 (last tickets at 16:00). Closed Su except last Su of the mo; when it is free, crowded, and open 09:00-14:00. The museum is closed for holidays on: 1 1 & 6 Jan, 11 Feb, 19 Mar, 4 & 5 Apr, 1 May , 29 Jun, 14 & 15 Aug, 1 Nov, and 8, 25 & 26 Dec" price="
[[Image:Vatican Museum.JPG|thumb|right|250px|Double Spiral Staircase, exit of Vatican Museum]]
You can get to the Vatican Museums by taking Metro line '''A''' (direction: "Battistini") and getting off at the "Ottaviano - S.Pietro - Musei Vaticani" or "Cipro" stops (10 minutes walk). Bus #49 stops in front of the museum entrance, buses #32, #81 and #982, along with tram line #19, stop on piazza del Risorgimento (5 minutes walk); buses #492 and #990 stop at via Leone IV and via degli Scipioni, respectively (5 minutes walk).
The Museums are, usually, most crowded on
With a booking you skip the queue and enter through the exit, next to entry, to go to the guided tours desk. There are also audio-guides available from the top of the escalator/ramp for €7. Two people to share a single unit plugging in a standard set of earphones.
EcoArt Travel - Small group Vatican tours offered in the Morning, afternoon and during night openings in summer. Morning tours include breakfast inside the Vatican Museums. View their direct website here: [https://www.ecoarttravel.com/vatican-tours/]