Vatican Museums
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Vatican Museums: Tours & Tickets

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Top 5 Things to See at the Vatican Museums

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

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

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

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

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)

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.

Our insider 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 9:00 AM until 12:30 PM. 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 9:00 AM. 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 1:00 PM. 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 4:00 PM and the Vatican Museums close at 6:00 PM. If you want to have time to see the Sistine Chapel, you should arrive at the Vatican Museums by 3:00 PM at the latest.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    365 days a year!
  • Is it expensive?
    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 information

    • 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

PLEASE, FOR THIS TOUR WITH ENGLISH GUIDE, LOOK FOR PASQUALE. FABULOUS

HAVING PASQUALE AS A GUIDE MADE THE LOOONG TOUR VERY PLEASANT; HE WAS EXTREMELY WELL PREPARED AND VERY FUNNY, HE IS VERY GOOD AT MAKING YOU EVEN MORE INTERESTED ABOUT THE PLACE AND SPEAKS ABOUT IT IN SUCH A WAY , THAT YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS ONE WORD ; EXCELLENT !!! WILL DEFINITELY RECOMMEND TO ALL MY FRIENDS

Silvia shared her knowledge and passion about the breathtaking sites!

Grazie mille Silvia for the great tour of the Vatican and its amazing museum. You kept us informed and interested for the full lenght of the trip.

Great guide SIMONA! Thank you very much!

It was Wonderful for children with guide- Simona! Excellent tour , the best my children can get!

The best option for seeing the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel!

I highly recommend this tour! You are escorted past all of the early entrance tours and into the museum first. Our group was very small! When we went into the Sistine Chapel, there were only 7 other people in there with us. Amazing!

Exclusive First Entrance to Sistine Chapel Reviewed by DeAnna, 28/11/2018

Spectacular tour not to be missed while in Rome

This Vatican is probably the most sought after tour for any visitor to Rome irrespective of your viewpoint. The opulence and splendour of it all is truly spectacular and breathtaking. The mind boggles to comprehend how this was all achieved at that time. This particular tour is approximately 3 hours long and is bought to life by excellent guides. The duration means that you need good footwear and mobility. One significant advantage of the tour is the queue buster which is a must if you don't want to "grow a beard" while waiting in the DIY tour queue. The vatacan is certainly a popular tourist attraction. The 3 parts of the tour are all very impressive in their own right and well worth seeing if you can. Get your guide lived up to their excellent reputation.

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