Visiting Rome? Don’t miss the Vatican Museums

Gaze up in awe at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This is Michelangelo’s nine-panel magnum opus and one of the best-known artworks in the world. The last of the 54 galleries in the Vatican Museums, it’s a fitting way to end any tour.

Hop off our Rome Bus Tour and head to the Vatican Palace to explore more than 1,400 rooms, chapels, galleries and corridors spread over 9 miles (14.5 kilometres). Discover world-famous masterpieces and little-known gems hanging side by side.

The history of the art

It all started in 1480 with the discovery of an ancient Roman statue, the Apollo of Belvedere – still one of the Vatican’s highlights and located in the Octagon Court. Pope Julius II then founded the Vatican Museums to house his growing collection.

Today, the museums sit within the lavish Vatican palace complex. Built between the 12th and 19th centuries, it’s a living museum exhibit itself. Feel the visceral beauty of stunning works, including Raphael’s Stanza della Segnatura, as you wander this artistic paradise.

Other interesting facts about the Vatican Museums

  • If you spent just one minute looking at every artwork in the Vatican Museums it would take you 4 years to view them all!
  • St Peter’s Basilica forms part of the museums, and is famed for being the largest Catholic church in the world
  • Some of the most popular museums include the Vatican Historical Museum, Museo Gregoriano Egiziano and Museo Pio-Clementino
  • The Vatican Museums are said to contain the world’s largest collection of art
  • The museums form a big part of Vatican City, considered to be its own country, with different laws and taxation policies to the rest of Italy.