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 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 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 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 - very informative with lots to see.

Our guide was Laura who was excellent and made the tour very interesting. The tour was longer than the 3 hours predicted but seemed necessary due to the amount to be seen. The only negative is the fact that there is no opportunity to take a break or rest during the tour which leads to tired limbs.

Excellent early morning guided tour, well worth the price

Our guide Manuela visibly knew (and enjoyed!) what she was doing. Using audioguides to hear her voice without disturbing others was an excellent idea. This tour was very well organised, We met at 7:30 and entered the Vatican at 8 o'clock sharp with already some useful and interesting information about the Vatican. We made the most of our three-hour tour of the Vatican museum, Sistine chapel and St Peter's Basilica, This early morning skip the line tour really exceeded our expectations.

Exclusive Early Morning Vatican Tour Reviewed by Raul, 02/11/2018

Good informative guide and a large queue avoided!!!

Our guide Lucia took us on a great tour into another country!! We successfully managed to avoid a potential 3 hour queue, and this was in low season. Using individual radios we were able to get all the information while being able to take in the magnificent sights. Highly recommend this tour, don’t waste your time queueing when you can be enjoying St. Peter’s in all its splendour!!

Skip the Line: Vatican, St. Peter's & Papal Tombs Reviewed by Teresa, 02/05/2018

Highly recommended, especially the guide Alberto

This is by far the best way to see the Vatican. Our guide was brilliant in explaining the stories behind what we were seeing - very interesting, informative and entertaining.

Christina was an Exceptional tour guide! Loved every minute!

Christina was just amazing! She went into so much depth and you can tell she is so passionate about what she does. I brought my mum to Rome as a surprise and to have Christina as a guide in the Vatican/ Basilica made it even better for her. She put me at ease as she engaged with the group, it really was one of the highlights of our trip! Thank you Christina, keep being you x

Skip the Line: Vatican, St. Peter's & Papal Tombs Reviewed by Noreen, 02/04/2018

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