Unlocking the Door to the Vatican at Dawn

1 Oct 2023 by BusinessTraveller

At 5:30 am in the Vatican City, Gianna Crea, the Head Clavigero, begins his daily routine. He’s been doing this for six years without fail. Gianna Crea is a man with a unique responsibility.

As the head clavigero, Mr. Crea oversees the Vatican’s 2,797 keys, opening 300 doors and countless windows across a 4.6-mile route through the Vatican Museums.

Hotel de la Ville has partnered with him to offer an exclusive tour of this historic process. Join them before sunrise for a remarkable journey through history, witnessing the sun illuminate the Laocoön statues and experiencing the grandeur of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes.

The Clavigeri have a rich history. Originally, they held the keys to the city of Rome, symbolizing the pope’s authority. Mr. Crea continues this tradition, one that began in 16th-century Rome. Today, his role is akin to a museum doorman, but the symbolic importance of the key persists.

Despite being a devout Catholic, Mr. Crea believes in sharing the Vatican Museums’ beauty with people of all faiths. Pope Francis emphasized the importance of art in bringing people to the Church, promoting dialogue between cultures and religions.

During the dawn tour, you’ll walk alongside Mr. Crea, passing Egyptian relics, Giotto’s masterpieces, and Van Gogh’s “Pietà,” gaining a unique perspective on Vatican City’s inner workings.

The Sistine Chapel often leaves visitors speechless, especially when standing alone as the sun rises over the Roman sky. Alexandra Sard, Hotel De La Ville’s Head Concierge, noted the awe-inspiring morning dew in the Pigna Courtyard and the surrounding silence.

Upon returning to Hotel de la Ville, business travellers can savour the memories of their extraordinary Vatican Museums tour with a breakfast to prepare the busy day ahead.

As our dedicated Concierge, Ms. Sard, describes it, “Unlocking the Vatican Museums at dawn is a once-in-a-lifetime experience worth reliving.”


Readers of Business Traveller can now register as a Rocco Forte Friend, to access exclusive member only benefits including late check-outs and early check-ins, guaranteed best available rate and exclusive discounts across food and beverage and wellness experiences. Members also stand a chance to win a two-night stay at Hotel de la Ville.



Full prize description:

  • A two-night stay at Hotel de la Ville
  • Daily breakfast for two
  • A three-course dinner for two with a bottle of wine recommended by the Sommelier on the night of your choice

Terms and Conditions:

  • Competition will open 1 October, 2023 and close on 31 October, 2023.
  • One winner will be selected at random for a two-night stay , and winner will be contacted on 15 November, 2023
  • Prize is valid for a 12-month period
  • For full terms and conditions please click HERE
Business Traveller Decenber 2023 / January 2024 cover
Business Traveller Decenber 2023 / January 2024 cover
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