vatican museums

Vatican Museum

The Vatican Museums are one of the largest and oldest museum collections in the world. They are located within Vatican City and are the location of the Sistine Chapel.

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.



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 Sections

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 Pinturicchio 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


Vatican Museums Images

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My Tour reviews:

    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

    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
    The Tour was Great
    The tour was great. Dara was a great combination of knowledge and humor. Good pace. I would use your tour company again.
    5.0 Stars Mike Marotta

    General Tour
    Dara was Amazing
    Dara was amazing. Very funny and he knew his stuff!!!
    5.0 Stars Andrea Green

    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
    Excellent tour.
    Excellent tour. Our guide was wonderful and really cared about everything.
    5.0 Stars Peggy Collias

    General Tour
    Great Tour!
    Dara was excellent! Thank you for such a great tour!
    5.0 Stars Ruth

    Italy Tour
    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

    Italy Tour
    Dara was Very Funny
    Dara was very funny and gave great information. Truly enjoyed this!
    5.0 Stars Susan Kiner

    Vatican Tour
    Excellent!
    This Irish tour guide was excellent. Very knowledgeable and delivered information in a thorough manner with a clear voice. By far the best guide I had on the trip.
    5.0 Stars Russell Lau