Best known for Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling and the spiral stairs, the Vatican Museums collections were built over the years by the Popes. This is a visual delight, you can spend all day here and come back for more.

Know Before You Go

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling is a must see, also the Stanze di Raffaelo. There are so many highlights you will be spoiled for choice.
The Museo Gregoriano Etrusco houses many important Etruscan pieces and the Sala degli Animali is dedicated to ancient animal statues.
Out of season visits are great because you cut down on the tourist crowds.
You will have to check any bags as you enter the museums.
Guide books are available and some rooms have well noted signs. If you plan to visit both the museums and St.Peter's Basilica in one day do the museums first. There is a 20 minute walk between the two and St. Peter's is nearer the historic city so you can finish up there for a meal or refreshment.
The guards are there to ensure no photos are taken.
Small children may find this tiring as it will involve a lot of walking, plus the guards ensure the museum is silent.

Treasure trove of Renaissance Art

The Vatican Museums or Musei Vaticani, inside the Vatican City, are home to a huge art collection of Christian art gathered by the Popes throughout the centuries. Among the finest art museums in Europe, they contain some of the world's greatest examples of painting, sculpture, tapestry and other decorative arts.

The Vatican Museums include 54 separate galleries, including some of the finest High Renaissance art in the Sistine Chapel frescoes, with its Genesis and Last Judgment frescoes painted by Michelangelo, and the Raphael Rooms, decorated by Raphael.

Official Guided Tour

The guided tour is useful, the guides are patient and focus on the most popular rooms including the Sistine Chapel of course, and the Basilica.

The guided tour explains significant paintings in a separate room, using small reproductions, so that when you see the real thing you know enough about it.

Additional tips to visit Vatican Museums

  • #1 : There is usually a two hour line to get in to the Museums from April to October, 7am until 1pm. The lines are relatively short November to mid-March.

  • #2 : Take advantage of the efficient reservation system on the Vatican Museums’ website especially during high season.

  • #3 : Opt for a tour with a tour guide. The tour guide will manage your bookings and help you skip the lines. Guides are authorized to take visitors directly from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s Basilica, while individual visitors cannot. This saves time and hassle.

  • #4 : If possible, opt for the after-hours group tours of the Vatican Museums.

  • #5 : The Vatican Museums are not designed like a modern museum complex. It is not air conditioned, only three rooms out of fifty rooms are air conditioned. There are not enough sitting areas, chairs and rest rooms.

  • #6 : Photos are allowed everywhere except the Sistine Chapel where no photography or no filming is allowed at all.

Key Highlights

Home to the breathtaking Sistine Chapel, other gallery rooms of the Museums are also incredible in their own right. See the famous Spiral Stairs, the Sala Rotund shaped like the Pantheon, the gilded statue of Hercules, the ancient mosaic floor, and much more.

The Gallery of the Statues and cabinet of the masks is also in this museum. The Museo Chiaramonti showcases ancient stone tablets and inscriptions, as well as important statues situated in the Braccio Nuovo.

An unplanned visit can get overwhelming, taking a guided tour or planning in advance is highly recommended. Get more insight in our details section.

Map : Vatican Museums

Other Rome Top 10 Attractions Near Vatican Museums are marked in yellow

Distance of other top ten Attractions from Vatican Museums
Sistine Chapel0.4 Km
St Peters Basilica0.5 Km
Piazza Navona1.8 Km
Pantheon2.1 Km
Spanish Steps2.4 Km
Doria Pamphilj Gallery2.5 Km
Trevi Fountain2.5 Km
Borghese Gallery and Museum3.3 Km
Palatine Hill3.4 Km
Roman Colosseum3.7 Km

These distances are approximate [As the crow flies]

Review and Feedback on Vatican Museums:

Rome experts have nominated Vatican Museums as one of the absolutely unforgettable things to do in Rome. Vatican Museums should be on your "bucket list" when you plan the trip to Rome. Given the vibrancy of Rome, it is hard to restrict this selection of travel bucket list ideas to just top ten. The review of Vatican Museums as well as the insightful tips and Faqs have been authored by Rome expert.

"Best known for Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling and the spiral stairs, the Vatican Museums collections were built over the years by the Popes. This is a visual delight, you can spend all day here and come back for more." is how the author has summarized this attraction. Contact Website directly for additional information.