Vatican Museums

Museums and Galleries

Tickets to the Vatican Museums will allow you to see the outstanding works of world fine art, collected by the Roman Catholic Church over 5 centuries. They are exhibited in the halls and rooms of palaces that are architectural landmarks. It is not surprising that 5 million people visit museums annually.

Permanent exhibitions and exhibitions at the Vatican

The history of the Vatican Museum began with the ancient Greek marble sculpture Laocoön and his sons. The opening is associated with the names of Popes Clement 14 and Pius 6. The first Vatican Museum was named after them. The museum complex on the territory of the Vatican consists of decorated rooms, museums and galleries, divided into themed rooms. In addition to the permanent exhibition, exhibitions of exhibits from the storerooms of the Vatican Museums are periodically held.

Full excursion route - 7 km. For tourists, there are 4 options for visiting, lasting from 1 to 5 hours.

Apostolic palace

  1. The Sistine Chapel.
  2. Raphael's Stanzas.
  3. Borgia Apartments.

The main pictorial masterpieces of the museum complex were created by two geniuses of the Renaissance. Sistine (in honor of Sixtus 4) Chapel (chapel) completes all excursion routes. In 1508, Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the Chapel. The most famous ceiling fresco is The Creation of Adam. The wall of the altar is decorated with the Last Judgment fresco.

Raphael's Stanzas are the 4 living rooms painted by him and his students Julius 2. The frescoes of the first of them, Constantine, reflect the events of the life of the emperor, who proclaimed Christianity as the state religion. Next to this room are Raphael's loggias, which are closed to the general public (a copy can be seen in the Hermitage).

Stanza d'Eliodoro's theme is the divine patronage of the church and the saints. The best fresco, The School of Athens, is located in Stanza della Segnatura. In addition to the Athenian sages, Raphael painted on it and his contemporaries, including Michelangelo and da Vinci. The fourth room is Stanza dell'Incendio.

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Borgia apartments are named after the secular name of Pope Alexander 6, known for his love of the arts and wild lifestyle (despite the highest spiritual dignity). 6 luxurious living rooms are covered with frescoes on religious and medieval scientific themes.

The Vatican has 9 museums available for visiting:

  1. Sculptural Pia-Clementa.
  2. Chiaramonti.
  3. Gregorian Egyptian.
  4. Gregorian Etruscan.
  5. Gregorian secular.
  6. Pio Cristiano.
  7. Ethnological missionary.
  8. Contemporary art.
  9. Historical.

The Pio-Clementine Sculpture Museum is located in the Belvedere Palace. It includes the halls of the Rotunda, the Muses, the Animals, the Greek Cross, the Gallery of Statues and the cabinets of Apoxymenes and masks. The most famous exhibits are marble copies of the ancient Greek sculptures of Apollo Belvedere and the Laocoön group. The rotunda is famous for its Roman mosaics, porphyry basin and bronze figure of Hercules from the 2nd century BC. BC e. Sleeping Ariadne stands out in the gallery of statues.

Chiaramonti bears the secular name of its founder - Pope Pius VII. The collection contains many busts of famous Romans. In the nearby New Wing, Roman floor mosaics attract attention. Other exhibits include a grandiose sculpture of the river deity of the Nile, and a statue of Emperor Augustus.

Three Vatican museums owe their appearance to the great art lover Pope Gregory 16. Mummies of the 10th century are displayed in the Egyptian Museum. BC e., steles with hieroglyphs of the 3rd c. BC e., Roman copies of ancient Egyptian sculptures. The Etruscan Museum is famous for the bronze statue of Mars from the 5th century BC. BC e., an ancient wooden throne, a collection of vases and amphorae. The Museum of Secular Art highlights a bronze copy of the sculpture of Athena and Marsyas, created by the Greek master Myron in the 5th century BC. BC e. Greco-Roman sarcophagi and tomb statues are also displayed here.

Pio Cristiano's exhibits are dedicated to the sarcophagi of Roman burials from the early Christian era. The most famous gravestone statue is the Good Shepherd, which was previously part of the sculptural composition.

The main collection of statues, masks and other religious attributes of the Ethnological Museum was taken from different continents by missionaries. Among them are the statues of local deities - the Polynesian Tumatauenga and the Mexican Quetzalcoatl.

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The Museum of Contemporary Art is housed in 55 rooms. They exhibit works by Rodin, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Dali, Picasso and other modernist artists on religious themes.

The Vatican Historical Museum is located separately from the others in the Lateran Palace. It presents the history of the Papal States. It displays portraits of Popes, weapons and uniforms of their troops, papomobiles. This self-contained museum is only accessible as part of a booked group tour.

Galleries in the Vatican:

  1. Pinakothek.
  2. Candelabra.
  3. Tapestries.
  4. Geographic maps.

The Vatican's Pinakothek (art gallery open to the public) occupies 16 rooms. They exhibit canvases exclusively on religious themes, mainly by Italian masters. The most famous works belong to Giotto - "Stefansky Triptych", Raphael - "Coronation of the Virgin", Titian - "Madonna Frari" and da Vinci - "Saint Jerome".

Three other galleries are located in the western wing, linking the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican with the Belvedere. The Candelabra Gallery presents candlesticks of the 2nd century, statues and vases. Sketches for 10 tapestries of the Gallery of the same name were prepared by Raphael's students. The longest Gallery contains thousands of 16th-century maps depicting Italian cities, papal possessions, and the Mediterranean islands.

Getting there

How to get to the Vatican Museums?

There are several options:

  • Metro line A towards Battistini, getting off at Musei Vaticani, San Peter or Ottaviano;
  • tram 19 to Piazza Del Risorgimento;
  • by buses from different parts of the city - No. 49 to the very entrance, No. 81, 492, 32, 990 and 982 to Piazza Del Risorgimento, No. 990 and 492 to Via Leone.

Where is the entrance to the Vatican Museums? From Piazza San Pietro to the colonnade on the right in the direction of the arrow for the Musei Vaticani sign along the wall.

Visiting rules

The Swiss guards do not allow tourists in shorts, sundresses, with bare shoulders and knees inside. Bulky bags are checked very carefully. The stairs leading to the observation platforms are spiral and metal, so you need to take care of comfortable shoes for lifting.

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The opening hours of the Vatican Museums are from 9 to 18 hours, but the ticket office and the entrance are closed at 16. Day off - Sunday, except for the last of the month, when until 12 noon. 30 minutes. the entrance is free. Museums are closed on all religious holidays. There are almost always long queues at the box office for tickets costing 16 EUR. Comparatively fewer people before opening and after 14 pm. The largest influx of visitors is observed on Wednesdays. On this day, the Pope gives a sermon at the Piazza San Pietro.

Tours in museums

Visiting museums accompanied by a guide will allow you to learn significantly more about the works of art on display. There are many Russian-speaking guides in Rome who are able to conduct a qualified excursion. Of particular note is the variety of excursions offered on the site. Wealthy tourists can book an expensive, but highly educational excursion in the evening, after the official closure of the museums. Within its framework, you can also get acquainted with the premises that are closed to ordinary tourists.

However, it should be taken into account that a large influx of tourists during the high season can significantly spoil the impression of museums. As noted above, it is advisable to choose a time to visit in the morning or late afternoon, avoiding Wednesday. A good alternative to a guide during high season is to use an audio guide for the Vatican Museums.

The audio guide can be obtained for 7 EUR at the entrance, leaving your passport as a deposit. The delivery of audio guides and the return of the passport is made not there, but at a special point at the exit from the museums after descending the spiral staircase.

Online purchase of tickets to the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel