Holy See (Vatican City) - It's Who You Know


When traveling, I occasionally book day tours.  When you don't have a car, it's an easy way to get somewhere and sometimes you end up meeting new people who are on the same tour.   I booked a tour in Rome to see both the Roman Coliseum and the Vatican.   And it came with a unexpected perk.

When our bus arrived at the "smallest country in the world", there were hundreds if not thousands of people waiting to get inside St. Peter's Basilica.   A sign said "two hour wait."    We got off the bus and headed toward the line.  Our tour guide gave us each a headphone with an earpiece, which you can see around my neck in the photo below.

Steve Hunsicker in St. Peter's Square at The Vatican

She explained that she could talk with all of us without having to scream over the crowd.  She told us to wait in the line and she would be right back as she wanted to see if one of her friends was working today.

A few minutes later, we heard her talking in Italian to someone.    She came back a few minutes later and said "Good News!  My friend is at the ticket booth.  We can go inside now."   What a great perk.  No waiting in line.  So we walked by everyone and her friend allowed us to cut in front of everyone else.   She further explained that she hadn't know if her friend would be there, but lucky for us, he was.

Inside, I couldn't help but be impressed with her knowledge of the Vatican.   When we entered the Sistine Chapel, she explained that no photos or video were allowed. I had to laugh because as soon as she said that, people in the group starting taking pictures.   Our guide than explained that a Japanese TV company had purchased the exclusive photography rights to the Chapel which is why they don't allow photos.  Hearing that, I took out my camera and sneaked a couple of photos, but they didn't come out very well.

The Chapel was beautiful.    

We probably spent about two hours touring The Vatican, roughly equal to the amount of time we would have spent outside just waiting to get inside.   It just proves that "it's who you know" that can make a big difference.


Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the tour company or the guide so there is no link to them.  However, they were excellent.

Dates of Travel

  • August, 2007

Places Visited

  • Vatican City



This post is part of my series "One Photo - One Country."  I'm am selecting one photo and writing one story from every country I have visited.   Your comments and questions are welcome.  

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