the raphael rooms
The Raphael Rooms are a series of previous Papal apartments which are now located in the Vatican Museums.
They are named after the Renaissance painter Raphael Sanzio who painted three of the four rooms now visible to the public.
The remainder of the work, including the Hall of Constantine was complete by his assistants, Giulio Romano and Giovanni Francesco Penni.
In 1508 Pope Julius II commissioned Italy’s best painters to decorate a series of rooms upstairs in the Apostolic Palace. Julius refused to sleep in the Borgia Apartments where his predecessor Pope Alexander VI Borgia had slept.
Initially Raphael was a minor name. Upon seeing his work, the Pope entrusted the entire project to Raphael and he brought in his own assistants to help him carry out the work.
raphael artist artwork
The project took 16 years to complete (1508 to 1524) and spanned two Popes (Julius II and Leo X). Unfortunately, Raphael died in 1520 on his 37th birthday meaning the last room, the Hall of Constantine, had to be painted by his assistants Giulio Romano and Giovanni Francesco Penni. This is the first room people enter due to the flow of the Vatican, so the visitor is viewing the rooms chronologically backwards.
raphael school of athens
Another commission started in 1508 was the Sistine Chapel ceiling which would hugely influence Raphael’s style. Raphael and Michelangelo were rivals for work and disliked each other personally although Raphael came to respect Michelangelo’s painting talent once the chapel was unveiled in 1512. There are four rooms in the Raphael Stanze and each room has four wall paintings and a ceiling.
The Hall of Constantine – This first room you visit was a reception hall, showing scenes from the life of the first Christian Emperor, including:
The Room of Heliodorous – This second room was a private meeting room and it shows:
school of athens raphael
The Room of the Signature – This third rooms was the office or study where important documents were signed shows:
the School of Athens regarded as a masterpiece
The Room of the Fire in the Borgo – This last room was used as a dinning and music room, showing:
- the Justification of Leo
The Raphael Rooms take about 40 minutes to view (or as long as you like) and would suit those who are interested in Renaissance frescoes. I recommend doing them if your tour takes place in the morning. You have to see the Borgia Apartments and the Modern Art Gallery afterwards, so the entire section takes 45 minutes to one hour. They are usually optional, although in the afternoon the Vatican Guards can force people through them, and photos are allowed without flash.
Images of the Raphael Rooms
My Tour reviews:
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
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
Dara’s Tour was Fantastic.
Dara’s tour was fantastic. He made 2000 years of history much more fun than expected. I would certainly take his tour again when I next visit Rome. I learned so much and had a great time. Thanks!
5.0 Stars Melinda
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
Take the Tour
Take the tour, even if you will do it on your own later.
5.0 Stars Dara Fazel
Dara did a fantastic job. His sense of humor was a definite plus and kept us all engaged.
5.0 Stars Roger Koppy
Dara was Great!
skipping the lines is a BIG DEAL! vatican has too many visitors. would recommend this tour. Dara was great.
5.0 Stars Nina from Dubai
My husband and I went on the tour and enjoyed it very much. It was very professional.
5.0 Stars Marianne Sweeney
Our guide was fantastic, really bought everything alive!
5.0 Stars Sacha Hitchings
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
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