Vatican Museums
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As of June 1st, the Vatican Museums are open! To assure the health and safety of all visitors, crowds will be limited, temperature checks conducted and face masks required for entry. A less crowded Vatican experience will be special.
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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?
    Monday-Saturday, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
    Last Sunday of each month, 9:00 AM-2:00 PM
    Holiday hours may vary
  • 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

Overall rating
4.4 / 5
based on 100,716 reviews

I only gave it 4 stars because it was so difficult to hear our tour guide. We had a group of 10 and N O audio headphones. We had a sweet older gentleman who has been doing tours for about 40+ years and very informative but super difficult to understand. We would have to gather around and basically play telephone to hear what was being said... other than that, the tour was great.

Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Tour Reviewed by

Excellent guide (Yuri). 3 hours just about right. Not sure that leaving the best until last (The Sistine Chapel) is the best way to do the tour, by that time, with feet aching and needing a rest I just didn't absorb the magnitude of what I was seeing. Awesome artwork but by that time I just wanted a McDonald's!

Best of the Vatican 3-Hour Small Group Tour Reviewed by

Wonderful experience of visiting the Vatican Museums! Knowledgeable and friendly guide Matej did an excellent job of taking us through the centuries of history providing all relevant information and pointing to the most important and influential works of art exhibited in this marvelous place.

Best of the Vatican 3-Hour Small Group Tour Reviewed by

Booked this last minute as there wasn't a lot of options of things to do but so pleased I did. What a great way of doing a walking tour! Guide was amazing but the extra benefits of the app just made it perfect! Highly recommend this if you visit Rome.

Rome: Hop-on Hop-off Guided Walking Tour Reviewed by

Loved this tour! The guides were so friendly and knowledgeable and really helped us to get up close and personal with the city. I've done a lot of hop on hop off buses and I actually prefer and would recommend this walking option.

Rome: Hop-on Hop-off Guided Walking Tour Reviewed by