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

well organized, time saving, amazing tour;

This was the most amazing part of our trip in Rome. Our tour guide Kiara was well educated and made our tour very interesting and memorable. We learn a lot about Vatican history and art. It saved us a lot of time and we can't imagine this trip by ourselves.

Excellent introduction to the historic Vatican

Our guide Alfredo was superb made us all feel welcome and cared for. He provided us with sufficient background to the many parts of the museum and basilica to make the tour interesting and enjoyable. Full marks to Alfredo to keep the groups attention in temperatures of 38degC. Probably the best tour to take to avoid the oppressive Rome heat in August.

This tour was really really informative and we'll marks!

Fantastic tour for my family and I (my wife and I plus 2 sons - ages 13 and 18). Very well organised and hassle free from start to finish. Our guide - the lovely Laura - was very attentive and very knowledgeable. She also guided us through any particular hot situations on a very hot day - finding seating and shade whenever possible. The whole tour lasted over 3hrs but at no stage did it drag or did any member of my family lose interest - in fact the boys commented at the end how interesting the whole tour was - big compliment to Laura as anyone with teenage boys will know how hard they can be to please sometimes!! Highly recommend the express skip the line part of this tour, as the queues when we arrived (approximately 8.40 am) we're already winding down the street to the entrance!We walked straight to the front and in we went. The St Peter's visit at the end brought things nicely to a finish and we were able to take the trip up to the top of the dome, not incl in trip but worth it

A great experience, very knowledgeable guide.

Great day out, very easy to get in with skipping the line. An amazing place to visit.

our guide Alberto was very helpful and informative - excellent tour

Initial impressions were that the directions for the meeting point were not clear enough, however when we located the office the staff were very helpful. Alberto our tour guide was excellent - very helpful, polite and informative. The tour was excellent overall. We would highly recommend it.

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