I just received a confirmation from the Vatican to tour the the excavations under St. Peter’s Basilica. Any opinions on the tour will be appreciated. Thanks!
I was in Italy last month and went on the Scavi tour. I guess that for the difficulty in getting tickets for the Scavi tour, I expected more. It was nice seeing St. Peter's tomb and all, but if you want to see ancient tombs, I thought the Catacombs tour was more interesting. I recommend the Catacomb of St. Callista.
I took the scavi tour in May. My tour was led by an American seminary student. I thought that it was absolutely fascinating. I'm not Catholic and I am not really up on religious history, but I still thought this was a great tour. St Peters was built over a cemetery where Peter was buried. However, people had long since forgotten the exact spot of the grave. In 1939, a pope had died and they ran out of room in the crypt, so they decided to dig 3 feet deeper. During this dig, they hit the top of a Roman mausoleum. Then in secret, at night, and only with hand tools, they excavated the site. This tour talks about the history of the site in Roman times, how they excavated the site, and how they ultimately found what they believe to be the bones of St Peter. I don't want to say too much, because one of the things that is so interesting is how they unraveled the clues. Enjoy the tour.
I did the scavi tour this past Sept and it was a good tour for the 12 euros you pay. if you are interested in extremely ancient sites and a lot of history its a good tour. If you are clausterphobic or of a larger size (no offence to anyone) it may not be worth it. Some of the corridors are quite small. You don't get to see the "bones" but to be down in that area even for a non religious person like myself was very facinating. I am more interested in biblical archaeology than anything. They only allow 20 people per tour so if you are interested I'd suggesting booking well in advance. I booked in April for my Sept visit and got a conformation in Aug. If there is more than 2 people book in advance. If you have any questions just hollar at me email@example.com