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

Brilliant - Becky was a FANTASTIC guide!

We had a fantastic tour with Becky as the guide. Very informative, humourous and friendly. Skipped every queue and despite chaotic crowds in some areas it was all perfectly managed by Becky. Would highly recommend!

It was very well organized and our guide was superb!

Was very impressed with the tour from the moment we started with hot coffee and croissants! Guide was so good. She was funny, entertaining and informative. She made sure we got to the places before the crowds descended on us and kept us all together. One of the best tours I’ve been on.

Early Morning Vatican Tour Reviewed by Vivian, 10/13/2018

Great service to help you enjoy a wonderful experience in the Vatican.

Finding the meeting point was manageable, and the guides helped us through the chaotic entrance area. Skipping the line was worth every penny.

Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Fast-Track Entry Reviewed by william, 10/12/2018

Guide was excellent and very knowldgeable.

Felt there was way too much to see in the short span of time and way too many people.

Really impressive and interesting tour and excellent guide

The tour itself was very interesting and really impressive, but what made it special is our guide. Pascalo was very informative and answer every question with details and patience, in addition he found a way to make it personal as much as possible referring to the relevant person when he has a related comment... I really recommend this tour, each one of the attractions visited was really interesting and like no other...

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