If you have a little extra time on your hands these days, consider a ‘visit’ to the Sistine Chapel, or a ‘walk’ through the excavations beneath St. Peter’s Basilica to the Tomb of St. Peter. Both are free virtual tours made available by the Vatican.
The Sistine Chapel, with its awe-inspiring ceiling painted by Michelangelo, is the place where the Cardinals gather to elect a new pope. It is the highlight of a tour of the Vatican Museums and attracts five million visitors per year.
The Tomb of St. Peter is a much tougher ticket. Visits to the excavations under St. Peter’s Basilica are limited to groups of 12, escorted by a Vatican guide, and the number of visitors is capped at about 250 per day. It is not a tour for the claustrophobic.
Both of these Vatican highlights are now closed to visitors as part of the public health crisis in Italy.