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:

Vatican Tour Dara was Amusing and Spoke Clearly
While Dara was amusing and spoke clearly, your microphone system managed to cut out a good third of the information which he spoke into it. Several guests inquired about the quality of the broadcast. This was to be sketchily made out through the transmission, while more interesting things were not. The performance of Dara was good, however the timeframe alotted and the shear load of visitors to the museum and vatican allowed for nothing in the way of an undisturbed visit.
5.0 Stars Dr. Brian K. Manich
Vatican Tour Dara was an Excellent Guide
Dara was an excellent guide. His tour was very informative without being too 'heavy' and included just the right amount of humour. I'm sure we learnt a great deal more from Dara than if we simply read the guide books. The whole tour experience was incredable and helped to make our brief holiday to Rome a great success. Well Done!!
5.0 Stars Alison and Alan Twyford
Vatican Tour Excellent Work
Our tour guide was very informative and knew the history of all the statues and art paintings and frescoes on the walls and ceilings. We are very glad we took this guided tour. We would not have known what we were looking at. Excellent work to Vatican tour and guide. Thanks!
5.0 Stars Katherine R. Yazzie
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 Great Tour
Great tour
5.0 Stars Angela Delzotto
Vatican Tour 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
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 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
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
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
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