It’s Not Raphael, Keep Walkin’ (Our Vatican Tour)

Yesterday we hired a private guide to take us through the massive Vatican museum. Our guide, Giovanna, had frantically emailed me the night before saying “don’t be late, we’ll lose our place”. She did this twice so we got to our meeting spot well ahead of time. Of course, Giovanna was late. “It’s the Italian way”, joked the security guard who had watched us pacing.

This would be the last time Giovanna was late.

She hurriedly raced us through this and that, trying to stay ahead of the crowd. When we did run into another tour group she would hold her nose as if to suggest the mere sight of others was putrid. We literally ran through rooms that looked interesting but, “It’s not Raphael, we don’t care,” she would announce.

Dorothy kept saying she had seen the Pope and that the rest of us had missed it. She had us in stitches. “There he is walking a dog”, “I just saw him in that window”…

I asked Giovanna, an art history major, why painters back in the day couldn’t paint babies. “What do you mean?”, she nearly screamed at me. “You don’t know what your talking about! Don’t bring this up again until you’ve studied art in the 14th Century”. I brought it up again and again because,

Then Rebekah and David both pulled me aside and asked me nicely, the way you would talk to an insane person, not to bring up the ugly babies again else we would have no tour guide.

It took us only 3 hours to see the Vatican museum, the Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter’s Basilica. Giovanna insulted at least two other tour guides, bulldozed her way to the front of every line, nearly physically accosted a Korean girl trying to cut in front of us and was just generally rude.

And we loved her for it. We’ve hired her again next week.

Afterwards we went to the Saint Angelo’s castle and had lunch at the suggestion of Giovanna. It was a highlight. The view from the top was outstanding. We made our way down and there were some frescos on the ancient walks but, it wasn’t Raphael so we weren’t that interested.



  1. Hi Alison,

    Great read! When we traveled GB we, okay mainly me, followed Rick Steves guides and I kept pulling my wife away from museum rooms in which Rick had not called pieces out. Just about drove her nuts. 😉

    Thanks for visiting my blog too!


    Liked by 1 person

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