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

Excellent tour with a lively and knowledgeable guide.

Excellent value for money. Skipped the queue and saw a very good selection of the delights contained in the Vatican museums. All of this was narrated for us by our extremely friendly and knowledgeable guide.

Guide was amazingly helpful and entertaining!

We had Alfredo as our guide and he was super friendly and helpful towards everyone. He gave us tons of information in understandable layman's terms and kept it entertaining as well. Really enjoyed the tour!

Absolute must. Don't delay, do it today!

We booked online at the last minute and got a good price, unfortunately that meant we were 10 mins late getting to the meeting point. That was no bother. The lady in the meeting point gave is our radios locked up the shop and quickly took us to meet our tour guide Stephanie at the entrance to the museum. Stephanie was great. She was very knowledgeable and informative, patient and understanding and had a way of making every thing sound interesting. All in all a great day and an absolute must do when in Rome.

Ilaria was a great guide for us. We are really grateful.

The entire tour was a pleasure. The passion of Ilaria inspired us a lot. The informations were very useful. We recommend this guided experience to anyone...

Skip the Line: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Reviewed by Valentin-Mihai, 12/01/2016

Stephanie was an amazing guide... knowledgable, factual and fun!

Thanks for a great day... well worth the it! Stephanie was great and spends time providing a wealth of knowledge along the way... thanks for a great day!

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Vatican Museums
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