Over 500 years ago Pope Julius II gained a number of sculptures which would form the basis of a collection to become open to the public. Since then the Catholic Church has collected countless pieces of art ranging from paintings to tapestries, all of which are housed within the walls of Vatican City. Regardless of your religious believes the Vatican Museums are a must see when visiting Rome, with 54 galleries it has become one of the largest museums in the world. The center piece of the exhibits is no doubt the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel itself, painted between 1508 and 1512 by the world famous artist Michelangelo.
Open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm (box office closes at 4pm), as well as the last Sunday of each month from 9am to 2pm – unless coinciding with dates of Catholic celebration. Entrance costs €16 for adults and €8 for students and under 18’s (children under 6 go free), Priests and heads of other religions also have discounts.
It is recommended to look online for booking tickets in advance, or hire official tour guides of Vatican City with entry to the museums included. With such a vast array of art on display you may not see it all, so start your journey early and look into what’s on display ahead of your trip. Allow a separate afternoon to explore the Vatican gardens, available at an additional cost.
If you are planning to visit the Vatican Museums, choose from a wide selection of houses and apartments within Rome but near to the city walls. If you are looking to stay elsewhere in Rome or the surrounding areas, then it is easy to travel via public transport to reach Vatican City. Check our accommodation in Rome.
With so much within Vatican City hire a tour guide and visit the Sistine Chapel along with St Peter’s Bassilica. Elsewhere the highly decorative Trevi Fountain can also be found in the heart of Rome, as can the ruins of the famous historic Colosseum, or if you need something to keep you going on your journey Italy is of course just as famous for its wine, pizza and pasta.
For more information about Vatican Museums including: the history, exhibitions and sections, opening hours and purchasing tickets, directions, guided tours and a map of the Vatican see the official website here.
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