Vatican Museums
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Vatican Museums: Tours & Tickets

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Top 5 things to see at the Vatican museum

When in Rome, don’t miss out on the Vatican’s world-famous Vatican Museums. Over the centuries, popes have built up a truly astounding collection of artistic masterpieces. There are countless things to see, but make sure not to miss these 5 highlights.

The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel alone would be worth a trip to the Vatican Museums. Painted by the greatest Renaissance painters, the chapel’s famous frescoes are quite simply sublime.

Raphael Rooms

The 4 dazzling Raphael Rooms form the public part of the pope’s apartments. Raphael’s magnificent frescoes decorating the walls give those of the Sistine Chapel a run for their money.

The Belvedere Torso

This stunning sculpture of a muscly male torso was highly influential for Renaissance artists like Michelangelo (note Christ’s similar pose in the Sistine Chapel’s Last Judgement).

Leonardo Da Vinci’s St. Jerome in the Wilderness

Despite being unfinished, this gorgeous painting is a glorious demonstration of Leonardo’s painterly prowess. Unbelievably, it was once cut up and used to cover a barber’s stool.

Sala Rotonda (Round Room)

A masterpiece of neo-classical architecture, this majestic room is shaped like a miniature pantheon, with lavish mosaics covering the floors and ancient statues lining the walls.

Vatican Museums: Our Tips

Best time of year to visit

Although the Vatican Museums are extremely popular with tourists all year around, if you’re looking for a quieter visit, your best bet is during the low season between November and February.

Save money

On the last Sunday of every month, entrance to the Vatican Museums is free during opening hours, from 9am until 12:30pm. This is a great way of saving money, but be warned: these free days are also the most popular. If you’d rather avoid the large crowds, you’re better off going on a regular day.

Pick the right time of day

The ticket office opens at 9am. If you want to see as much as possible, then you should arrive early, as the Vatican Museums are huge (over 9 miles!) and long lines can start forming at the entrance even before opening time. However, if you’re more interested in avoiding the queues, come around 1pm. Most people will be headed for lunch at that time and it’s often possible to walk straight in without wait.

Don’t leave it too late

Even if you’re intending to avoid the queues, don’t come too late. The ticket office closes at 4pm and the Vatican Museums close at 6pm. If you want to have time to see the Sistine Chapel, you should arrive at the Vatican Museums by 3pm at the latest.

Good to Know

  • When to visit
    365 days a year!
  • What is the price?
    Free to look at from the outside. Admission tickets vary.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Not compulsory, but highly recommended
  • How to get there
    Taxi, bus, Metro, tram or by foot from Rome. Look here for more detailed directions.
  • Additional tips
    • Large bags are not allowed in the museums, so pack light!
    • There is often no air conditioning in the museums so make sure to dress accordingly and bring a bottle of water.

What People Are Saying About Vatican Museums

Briliant tour. Our guide was very nice and interesting

It is essential to get a guided tour as this site is so big that we would be lost in the mass of info and things to see. The guide brings to life some details and major cultural references that make all the difference.

Amazing tour and ask for Irene for incredible knowledge & fun!

This tour is fantastic - a must see for first time guests. Guides are knowledgeable about every nook of the Vatican and all it's many facets. This tour is the best way to see all three sites and even some extras!

Skip the Line: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Reviewed by Karen Chinalynn, 01/07/2017

Excellent tour with a very knowledgeable guide and no lines!

First off, the line to enter the Vatican Museum when we arrived at 9:40am on December 29th was at least three blocks long. So glad we chose a "skip-the-line" kind of tour. But the tour was excellent beyond that - our guide, Valentina, was very engaging and knowledgeable. An archaeologist by training, she had a great knowledge of Roman & Mediterranean history going back 3,000 years. This was a 3-hour tour, and we were concerned that our two kids (ages 11 & 7) would be miserable, but even they were enthralled, and my 11-y.o. son says it was his favorite event of our trip. I give full credit to Valentina on that front. She was also very kind - she recommended a local restaurant to us when we parted, and then tracked us down about 15 minutes later in the square to correct the name of it.

Knowledgeable guide but missed the important pieces

Too intense. Unfortunately we missed two of the most important things at the museum. We never got to the Raphael rooms and we never saw the St. Jerome. Two main reasons I took the tour. We probably saw too much classical art instead. The guide was very good but the quantity of people and the limited time to visit the Vaticam collection forced him into avoiding the busiest but most important rooms.

Excellent tour. Linda very informative guide.

Excellent tour. Worth it to beat the queues. Only issue was audio kept cutting out so hard to follow commentary.

Skip the Line: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Reviewed by a GetYourGuide Customer, 12/19/2016

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Vatican Museums
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