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 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
General Tour Very funny and Entertaining
Dara was fantastic!! Really informative, considerate of everyone on the tour. Aware that it was a long tour with a lot of walking and was always aware of the groups comfort and needs. He was also very funny and entertaining, I would highly recommend him!
5.0 Stars Tracey Herbert
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
General Tour Very Funny
Dara made the whole foot pounding experience very interesting with a touch of humour thrown in for good measure. Without him pointing out things on the way we would have missed a lot. My teenage daughter was not looking forward to the tour, but afterwards she commented on how much she got out of it and found it very funny.
5.0 Stars Mr Parlour
General Tour Tons of Sense of Humour
I love Dara's format of explaining with tons of sense of humour.
5.0 Stars Celina Tablante
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 Extremely Interesting
I attended the tour with my friend and we both found the tour extremely interesting. I would definitely recommend this tour.
5.0 Stars Tracey Bennett
Italy Tour Dara was Fantastic!
Dara was fantastic! Not only very informative but funny as well. He kept the group together well, he frequently asked if everyone was okay and we stopped for toilet breaks. The tour was so interesting and well paced. It was also great that Dara was able to talk and walk at the same time unlike the guide the following day at the colosseum who hurried us past everything then ushered us into the shade to talk for 20-30 minutes at a time(I'll rate that one next)!
5.0 Stars Natasha Thomas
General Tour Very Professional
My husband and I went on the tour and enjoyed it very much. It was very professional.
5.0 Stars Marianne Sweeney
General Tour An easy and Fun Experience
The tour was everything and more than we expected. Thanks for making it an easy and fun experience for the whole family.
5.0 Stars Sarah Morel
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