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:

Italy Tour Helpful and Informative
Dara was very helpful and informative. He knew each room and detail and I am glad that he was our tour guide. He had a nice personality and I was amazed with his ability to keep counting our group to make sure all were together before we moved forward. I have already recommended your tour to other people as I traveled in other parts of Italy.
5.0 Stars Audrey Ferrante
General Tour Great Tour Guide
What a funny guy! Truly enjoyed the commentary whether it was related or not! He is a great tour guide, super personality!
5.0 Stars Melissa Laycock
Vatican Tour Incrediby Impressed
I was incredibly impressed with Dara's knowledge and the tour given. I have even purchased a book about the art of the Sistine Chapel in order to develop my knowledge!! Very impressed and would highly recommend.
5.0 Stars Lisa Mcmonagle
Vatican Tour Dara was Great!
skipping the lines is a BIG DEAL! vatican has too many visitors. would reccomend this tour. Dara was great.
5.0 Stars Nina from Dubai
Italy Tour Dara was Great
Dara was great. We had to leave the tour early because our ship changed the departure time from the port city - move it up 1 hour. Dara gave us great directions on where to go to see what we wanted to see since we couldn't stay with the tour. He also was very informative while the hour or so we were with the tour.
5.0 Stars Jerry Parche
Vatican Tour The Tour was Excellent!
The tour was excellent! Very informative. Dara was an excellent tour guide - funny, knowledgeable and very friendly. This was the best tour we went on during our stay in Italy.
5.0 Stars Edvard Lauman
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
General Tour Fine Job
The tour was good and Dara did a fine job explaining everything.
5.0 Stars Tom Johnson
General Tour Excellent tour.
Excellent tour. Our guide was wonderful and really cared about everything.
5.0 Stars Peggy Collias
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
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