It’s been a while, and so much has happened. We have a new website. It’s about Rome, Rome tours, Vatican city tours, and a ton of other stuff too.
Late on March 17th when St Patrick’s Day in Rome was in full flow, the American owner of Vatican City Tours, who occupy prime virtual real estate on Google for keywords ‘Vatican tours’, second in rank only to the official Vatican website http://www.vatican.va/, was arrested for fraud. For reasons best to known to himself, he was using his website to profit from non existent tickets offering access to St Peter’s Square on May 1st, when the beatification of late Pope John Paul II will take place. His price per ‘ticket’ was £150. In fact, the event is open to everyone and it is free.
The owner was also charged for running a cash rich unlicensed tour agency in Rome. Whether or not he did keep 21 firearms, 15 computers and 11 USB keys in his apartment remains to be seen, perhaps we’ll never know. For now, rumours abound that 3 other unlicensed tour agencies with websites on Google page #1 for ‘Vatican tours’ will be investigated by the same e-crime team which closed in on Vatican City Tours.
Vatican City Tours are also http://www.limoservicesrome.eu and www.italianservices.biz too, so all things being equal, these partner websites will be wound up in due course and removed from the internet.
Vatican City Tours as of March 20th 2011:
‘If you are the owner of this web site you have not uploaded (or incorrectly uploaded) your web site. For information on uploading your web site using FTP client software or web design software, click here for FTP Upload Information.’
All of the above means that the website has been pulled offline permanently for fraudulent activities. More to follow in the business of ‘Vatican tours’ provided by unlicensed tour agencies, no doubt.
Always use Google to check the name of your Vatican tours provider before paying online.
When In Rome Tours, Tour Operator license 7339 granted by the Provincia di Roma on 19/10/10
Of course the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica are the mainstay of every Vatican tour one can book online or be sold offline in and around St Peter’s Square year round. Sifting through hundreds of Vatican tour descriptions online will inform the reader up to a point, but what else do these other Rome tour agencies offer visitors to the Vatican city? Of our Vatican tours, we include the Vatacombs on one of them. The Vatacombs (remaining papal tombs) lie beneath St Peter’s Basilica. On all our Vatican tours, we discuss the origins of the Circus of Nero, the ancient site where Christians were put to death from 65 AD and, it is believed, where St Peter was crucified. The obelisk on the square was moved there from Alexandria by Caligula in c. 37 AD, some 30 years before the executions began. Free of inscriptions, it was brought to Rome having commemorated the reign of Augustus in Egypt since c. 100 BC .
Standing in front of St Peter’s Basilica on Piazza Pio XII, with the taxi rank and Galleria Savelli souvenir shop right side, the eastern end of the Circus of Nero is just fifteen feet away. It’s underground ruins reach below St Peter’s Square then run behind the modern Basilica to it’s westernmost point, 50 yards from the Vatican Railway Station.
Lanciani’s study of the old basilica of St Peter and the exact location of the Circus of Nero can be seen at LacusCurtius. This illustration shows both structures as well as the (new) basilica as we see it today.
Read the following article about Vatican excavations in 1941 and the possible whereabouts of St Peter’s bones:
At the end of every Vatican tour, as at the end of every Italian dinner, there’s no better way to celebrate the past than with an appropriate liqueur, so we are duty bound to recommend ‘Nerone’ – L’Amaro di Roma (!)