Explore Vatican: Immersive Experience Guide and Review

John Nguyen

Vatican City is a popular tourist spot, city-state and independent country located in Rome, Italy, and it is home to historical sites such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Apostolic Library, and the Vatican Museums. For those in the Los Angeles area who want to prep for their visit or just want to learn more about the historical land without leaving Southern California, Explore Vatican: Immersive Experience will enlighten guests with information galore, virtual reality, augmented reality, and a huge room with projection from the floor to the ceiling.

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Explore the Vatican tickets are available at Fever.com.

Explore the Vatican Tickets at Fever.com

Explore Vatican: Immersive Experience Parking and Entrance

Explore Vatican Parking and Entrance. Photo by Nerd Reactor
Explore Vatican Parking and Entrance. Photo by Nerd Reactor

Explore Vatican: Immersive Experience is located at Ace Mission Studios in Downtown Los Angeles. The parking and entrance can be a bit tricky, but you can find it via the banners on the sidewalks. The logo for Explore Vatican is a bit small, and it could benefit from a larger font size. Parking is readily available, and after you park, you can enter the exhibit by going back outside of the parking gate and around to the fence gate on the side.

Explore Vatican Entrance. Photo by Nerd Reactor
Explore Vatican Entrance. Photo by Nerd Reactor

Once you reach past the fence gate, there’s a long alleyway that leads to a ramp, where the main door of the exhibit is located. After checking in from inside the lobby, you can download the Explore Vatican app (search for Augtraveler via the App Store or Google Play) and see select statues and monuments in augmented reality through your phone’s camera in the Discover Room.

The Discover Room

Explore Vatican's Discover Room. Photo by Nerd Reactor
Explore Vatican’s Discover Room. Photo by Nerd Reactor

“This is the opportunity to learn a bit about what you’re going to experience,” Ashley Noronha, Co-Curator of Explore Vatican: Immersive Experience, tells Nerd Reactor. “Now, of course, the Vatican itself covers 2,000 years of fantastic history. So this gives a little bit of an overview, a top line of what it’s all about and how it came to be, including some profiles on the great artists who are behind the masterpieces.”

Explore Vatican's Discover Room. Photo by Nerd Reactor
Explore Vatican’s Discover Room. Photo by Nerd Reactor

At the start of the Discover Room, there’s a giant wall featuring a diagram of Vatican City. You can see where different sites are located including the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Piazza, the Obelisk, and more.

The Discover Room has a lot of information about Vatican City including a timeline of historical events, the Bridge of Angels, the construction of St. Peter’s Piazza, Bernini’s Colonnades, the Obelisk, Statue of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Baldacchino, The Pieta, and more.

As you explore the Discover Room, you’ll have the chance to interact with the Explore the Vatican app to bring out 3D objects and statues to life via your phone’s camera. You’ll know when to use the app when you see the phone and the triangle image on the different walls.

It may take some trial and error, but once you’re able to load the object, it will be displayed on the ground (depending on where you positioned it). You can even snap a photo as if you’re standing next to the objects.

The Immersive Room

Explore Vatican's Immersive Room. Photo by Nerd Reactor
Explore Vatican’s Immersive Room. Photo by Nerd Reactor

After you’re done exploring the Discover Room and learning all about Vatican City, it’s time to enter the Immersive Room. It’s a huge room with 360-degree projected screens from wall to wall and floor to ceiling. There are seats placed all around, so you can just sit back and relax and take in the visuals all around you.


Explore Vatican’s Photo Booths. Photo by Nerd Reactor

The next area features photo ops, puzzles, and virtual reality. For photos, simply scan your QR code card with your phone, and it’ll track the different photo booths with different Vatican City backgrounds. 1 printed photo costs $7, with 2 costing $12, 3 photos for $15, and 5 photos for $20.

There are also touch-screen puzzle games and a virtual reality station that takes viewers into the history of Vatican City from its origin to today.

Final Reaction

Explore Vatican: Immersive Experience has a lot of images and information to get me excited to visit the real Vatican City. There’s a lot to learn about the popular tourist spot, and it will definitely help prepare you when you do visit the city.

As for the immersive aspect of the exhibit, the production value feels very lacking. For the very observant, the video resolution is very low for a room of that size, and it could have been elevated with sharper imagery and more vibrant colors. It’s still neat to see Vatican City come to life with the many different sites and paintings, and it’s probably the closest feeling to being inside the Sistine Chapel without visiting the actual Sistine Chapel.

I did the VR experience, and it excels at giving you a taste of the timeline of Vatican City and a feel of where things are. However, VR enthusiasts will be disappointed with the production values since the graphics are very low quality.

Additionally, I wish there was more to see in terms of unique exhibits since there are just two main rooms of interest: the Discover Room and the Immersive Room.

About Explore Vatican: Immersive Experience

Explore the Vatican: Immersive Exhibition opens daily from 12 pm to 6 pm (Tuesdays are closed) from now until September 15, 2023. It’s located at Ace Mission Studios in Downtown Los Angeles.

Tickets start at $21 for children (4-11) and $30 for adults (12+) and are available at Fever.com.

Explore the Vatican Tickets at Fever.com

For more immersive experiences from Fever, check out our Van Gogh Immersive Experience Guide and Review.