Just wondering some more info on this tour, have read a little bit about on vatican wesite and people discussing on this site but just wondering what does the tour involve? what do you get to see? and where does it go/leave from? I visited Rome last year and had not heard of this I will be returning next year with my parents and would like to have a new experience. Thanks for any info.
The tour is fascinating... You check in at a little office on the left side of the steps of the main entrance to the Basilica about 15 minutes prior to your appointment. The guards will let let you through the gate by showing them your reservation confirmation. From there the guide will give an introduction outside and by some models. You then head downstairs to the excavations area. You get to see the remains of the Greek burial grounds as well the the foundations of the original church. One of the highlights is the wall in which the bones of St. Peter are believed to be located. It's amazing that most visitors to the Basilica have no idea of the artifacts and history that are beneath their feet.
I've been to Rome several times but last year was the first year I knew about this tour. It was awesome and quite inexpensive. I would highly recommend it to anyone traveling to Rome. Just be sure to book way in advance. I believe we make our reservations over 3 months ahead and we were traveling in May. Also, it takes a couple weeks for them to get back to you about your request. The more options you give them for availability the better.
I took the Scavi Tour last winter, and it was worth every Euro I paid! I booked two months in advance, and has some trouble at first. My cox.net e-mail account would not allow me to send mail to the address to request tickets. After several times of trying, I tried with an AOL account and had no problem.
Thanks to all for the descriptions about how great of a tour this is - I think I might try to get one when I'll be there in September instead of fighting with the museum itself.
Debra: Not sure if you meant that you were going to look for a 3rd-party tour or not when you arrive, but just to be safe you should know that the Excavations Office doesn't accept 3rd-party requests. Here is the Vatican website link for the tour for more info
Also, here's another website link that gives detailed instructions on how to request a reservation:
i just tried to book this tour n when i went to pay I had to verify that all of my party is 15 years n older. no exceptions! boo hoo I did'nt no this little detail. 1/2 of us r 12 n under! just an FYI.
I went on the scavi tour a few weeks ago, very fascinating! I booked about 2 months ahead of time.
This is definitely worth going to. Walking on the very dirt that people walked on 2000 years ago and knowing that this is all right under St.Peter's is really something. I applied for tickets months in advance and they sent back an email saying basically that they had my request but don't count on it as they get so many requests. But then I heard from them 2 weeks before our trip and they said we were in! So don't despair if you don't hear anything for a while.