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

Guide was very knowledgble and having a small group was ideal

It was still a bit crowded even going in early as other groups went in as early as 8am.

Beautiful combination of art and religion

Do get the fast track/skip the line tickets, as the queue was quite long. Saved a lot of time

Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Fast-Track Entry Reviewed by Michelle, 08/04/2018

Informative, friendly guide and queue jump. Excellent!

Thanks Sylvia for a great tour of the Vatican museums, Sistine and St Peter's basilica. We really enjoyed it. Ciao

This was, by far, the BEST tour we've ever taken!!

This was such a wonderful way to see the Vatican. Our guide was so personable and so knowledgeable. She navigated us through the museums, the Sistine Chapel and the Basilica while providing such interesting information about the artwork. We had access to areas where no one else was admitted and had time to take pictures and enjoy the quiet and the beauty of the architecture. I can not say enough about how awesome this tour is!!

An excellent way to see a popular venue.

Everything was made very clear from the details about the meeting-point up to the time we were admitted to the Vatican Museum. There were plenty of guides to deal with everyone's questions and they gave good advice about the visit.

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