Vatican Museum

The Vatican Museums are one of the largest and oldest museum collections in the world. With over 40 rooms viewable by the public containing thousands of pieces of art, the sheer size of the complex surprises most visitors.

The majority of the museums are rooms of ancient Roman sculpture and Renaissance paint work. You have to go through the Vatican Museums to get to the Sistine Chapel so all tours, including my own, start there.

Once inside, you have a choice of which route to take. Since the year 2000 the museums have been a one way system. Seeing all of the Museums would take about 4/5 hours, half would take 2, the minimum route lasts 1 hour before you can see the chapel. This is the same regardless of what guide or tour you choose.

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Pinacoteca: Painting Gallery
The Sistine Chapel
The Raphael Rooms
The Sobieski Room
The Papal Apartments
Gallery of the Maps
Gallery of Tapestries
Gallery of Candelabra
Pinecone Courtyard
Braccio Nuovo
Gallery of Busts
Octagonal Courtyard
Hall of the Muses
The Round Room
Greek Cross Room
Main Entrance
Belvadere Courtyard
Vatican Gardens Viewing Deck

Sections of the Vatican Museums

Entrance and North side of the Museums:

Pinacoteca
Garden overlook
Pine Cone Courtyard

Pio Clementine Museum

This Section was built by two Popes; Clement XIV Ganganelli (1769-1774) and Pius VI Braschi (1775-1799):

The Octagonal Courtyard
The Hall of Muses
The Round Room
The Room of the Greek Cross
Gallery of the Candelabra

Chiaramonti Museum

The Chiaramonti Museum is is named after pope Pius VII Chiaramonti (1800-1823) and is one long room linking the Papal Residence to the older Museum and a new wing or Braccio Nuovo:

The Gallery of the Busts
The Braccio Nuovo

Newer Vatican Museums Section

Other rooms have been created and updated by Popes:

Tapestry Gallery
Gallery of the Maps
Sobieski Room
Room of the Immaculate Conception


The Raphael Rooms

The Raphael Rooms were a set of Papal Apartments paid for by Pope Julius II (1503-1513) who didn't want to sleep where his Borgia predecessor Alexander VI had slept. They were decorated by Raphael Sanzio and his assistants Giovanni Francesco Penni and Gulio Romano.
The Raphael Rooms


Borgia Apartments

The Borgia Apartments are where Pope Alexander VI (1492 - 1503) slept, they were primary decorated by Pinturrichio and his assistants:
The Borgia Apartments


The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel was built by Pope Sixtus IV, hence the name - there is not another 15 of them, and is the private chapel of the Pope and where most Popes have been elected since 1482. It was decorated by various people including Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Botticelli and later Michelangelo.
The Sistine Chapel


The Vatican Library

The Vatican Library housed the library and archives of the Vatican State, now are are long corridor leading to exit of the museums.
The Vatican Library



My Tour reviews:

Vatican Tour A Great Tour
The tour was great, after talking with others on our cruise we got the better deal as they went on the cruise sponsor tour. I do have 2 items to help with improvements. I know you may not be able to do this one and it may be out of your control, but benches would be great when listening to the information on the Sistine Chapel. The second, the guides need better microphone, when they turn their head the mic stays put and you lose volume. My party all agreed that it was a great tour. Debbie.
5.0 Stars Deborah Flanders
Vatican Tour Incrediby Informed
I don't know how people go to the Vatican without a guided tour. There is no other way of doing it. Our guide was incredibly informed and very intelligent. I learnt so much with this tour! He was amazing and there is no complaint to be made. On a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being the highest), he ranks at a 10+. :-) Thank you for making our Vatican tour the best!
5.0 Stars Melissa Kelly
Italy Tour The Most Enjoyable Tour
This was the most enjoyable tour of our entire two week vacation to Italy. The guide was quite knowledgeable and interjected fun facts and humor which made it even more engaging for our children - ages 20, 17 & 15. He was always respectful of the faith and reminded us of the rules - which from the noise level in the cathedral, other tour guides must not have been as informative.
5.0 Stars Mike Howard
Vatican Tour Knowledgeable and Friendly
We had a wonderful time on our tour. Dara was knowledgeable and friendly. The Vatican trip was a highlight of our trip to Rome. Thank you.
5.0 Stars Medina Khalil
Vatican Tour Very Good
The tour was very good and Dara had the perfect combination of knowledge, respect and humour! It was good he had this as the tour is long but we knew it would be. The only aspect of the tour which saddened me and my friends (this has no reflection on Dara) when we entered the Sistine Chapel I could believe the noise, flash photography and uncovered arms!!) This is obviously a sign of the times but the Vatican should Not allow it. Vatican Tour was amazing and of course I will be recommending it.
5.0 Stars Anna Baker
Vatican Tour Easy to Follow
Dara did a great job and was very informative regarding the amount of art and sculpture that was covered. His explanation was in story form and he connected what was happening during that time in a very easy to follow description.
5.0 Stars Lori Oliver
General Tour A Wonderful Experience
A wonderful experience. Well worth the price. Excellent knowledge shown by Dara and any questions quickly answered. Would recommend strongly.
5.0 Stars Steven Trickitt
General Tour Dara was Amazing
Dara was amazing. Very funny and he knew his stuff!!!
5.0 Stars Andrea Green
Vatican Tour Dara was an Excellent Tour Guide
We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of the Vatican and felt that we obtained a lot more information than we would have done on our own. Dara was an excellent tour guide who was well informed and able to deliver the information in an enjoyable way.
5.0 Stars Shirley Ryan
Vatican Tour Informative and Entertaining
The tour was great and we loved our tour guide. The tour was informative and entertaining. Our Vatican experience was greatly enhanced by having this tour and it was definitely worth it.
5.0 Stars Ryan
Did you know?
The Vatican is not air-conditioned
There are very few seats
Few bathrooms
and few cafes
Vatican Checklist
Tickets or Tour Booked
Knees & Shoulders Covered
Flash turned off Camera
Bottle of Water
Rested & Relaxed