Markus Dobritzhofer

Chef Concierge, Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts

  • Rome, Italy, EUR

Originally from Austria, Markus Dobritzhofer has lived in Rome since 1993 and has worked at the Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, since 1998. He became a concierge after moving to Rome and discovering an affinity for studying and exploring the city to guide visiting friends and family. Markus is currently chef concierge at the Rome Cavalieri and is a member of Les Clefs d’Or Italy.

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    What is the best way to see the Vatican in Rome?

    The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel were visited by more than 5 Milions of tourists and pilgrims in 2012 and therefore it's the second site per number of visitors in Rome (although the Vatican is to be considered a different state) behind the Colosseum; you may do this visit in many different ways and the following gives you an overview:

    1)Explore by yourself: this is the right option in case you just want to get an impression or want to have a look at masterpieces like the ones of Raphael, Michelangelo and all the other important painters of the Rennaissance period you may find inside the museums and the Sistine Chapel; the important thing is that you have a reservation for the entrance to the Museums ahead of time in order to avoid long waitinglines at the entrance and you may do this directly through the website of the Vatican; if you go for this option you may also take the time to visit the section of the painting galery 'Pinacoteca' that usually is not included in the standard visits or tours but where you may find masterpieces like  Raphael's 'Transfiguration'.

    2)Tours: Grouptours or individual tours with professional tourguide are very popular and give you the oportunity to get an explanation of the highlights - during a 2 to 3 hours tour you can get an overview of the most important artworks and usually this type of visit includes also the visit of St.Peter's Basilica.

    3)Afterhourtours: if you want to try this very exclusive option to have the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel just 'by your own' (at least for a short while) you should plan this visit as soon as you are sure about your dates - usually it's necessary to make this request  months ahead of time.

    4)S.Peter's Basilica: in case you go by yourself you enter the Basilica from St.Peter's square (while the tourarrangements usually bring you directly from the Sistine Chapel to S.Peter's) once you have passed the security check; if you want to avoid the crowd of people during the day go there early in the morning when they open (around h7.00a.m.) - you will be able to walk inside quickly and you will find a complete different and quiet atmosphere- and you might attend a small mass in one of the many side altars.

    But for visitors the Vatican does not always mean just the Museums,Sistine Chapel and St.Peter's Basilica - you may also try to get a visit of the Vatican Gardens or the excavations of St.Peter's (that have limited access to the public and reservation ahead of time is required), or climb up the Dome of St.Peter's.

    And last but not least you might want to see the Pope while you are in Rome. The new elected Pope Francis will keep for sure the tradition for the different appointments between the Pope and the public:

    -General Audiance: on wednesdays and of course when the Pope is in the Vatican he gives the general audiance to the public- either in the Audiance Hall (usually during the winter period) or in S.Peter's square; if you obtain a ticket (not to be paid) you have a better chance to get a seat

    -Sunday Blessing: at noon on Sundays the Pope usually gives his Blessing from the window of his office above  St.Peter's square.

    -Special celebrations: f.e. the very popular midnight mass on Christmas Eve inside St.Peter's Basilica  or the different celebrations during the Holy Week are celebrated by the Pope; for some of them tickets are required (not to be paid)

    -Castel Gandolfo: During the Summer period the Pope stays in his Summer Residence roughly 30 km south of Rome where he usually gives the Sunday Blessing; the area of the 'Castelli Romani' is also nice for halfday excurision.

    For any of these occasions the Concierge of your hotel will be pleased to give you the correct advice and make the apropriate arrangement.
  • On March 26, 2013
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    What’s happening this weekend in Rome?

    This weekend in Rome will be really exciting as several big events will take place; at the Olympic Stadium - where usually the Soccer games of AS Roma and Lazio are being played - the Italian Rugby Team will play the third round of the Six Nations Cup against Wales on Saturday afternoon. This sport is becoming always more popular and it's not unusual to expect 40.000 supporters ore more.
    A completely different event will take place on Sunday but will always call the presence of several thousands of persons  - Pope Benedict XVI will give his last Sunday Blessing before he will retire on February 28th. As usual he will hold his 'Angelus' from the window of his office above S.Peter's square at noon on Sunday while a crowd of people will attend him filling up the square; there is a lot of general attention about the Pope and his decision to retire - what in fact did not happen since the year 1294; and the expectation for the new Pope to be elected during the 'Conclave' is before Easter.
    And last but not least this weekend Italy is going to elect its new government - Monday evening we should know who will be the winner.
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