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.

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

Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable. Dresda, Francesca

Dresda, Francesca was an excellent tour guide! She was very knowledgeable and engaging in her presentations which made the tour phenomenal!!! Loved it!!!

Great, awesome company with great service and tours.

The Roman Guy tour service was great and even called us when I was late due to a mistake that I made and waited a few minutes so we could make it to the tour of a life time at the Roman Coliseum. Thank you for a perfect day.

Vatican City Behind the Scenes Highlights Tour Reviewed by Rocky, 08/13/2018

Patrizzia provided a very informative and efficient tour. Very funny !

We were very pleased with our well spoken and humorous guide. Easy to recommend this tour.

What an experience with a fantastic guide.

It’s well worth going to the Vatican early to experience it before the crowds appear

Exclusive Early Morning Vatican Tour Reviewed by a GetYourGuide customer, 08/11/2018

Incredible tour guide! Francesca was so knowledgeable!

Francesca taught us so many secrets about the Vatican. I learned to look at the art in a new way. If you love art history and critical art viewing, Francesca is the tour guide for you. She was also extra attentive to children in the group who needed to be at the front to see things.

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