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Vatican

Forget the Louvre, the Met or the Hermitage, some of the world’s greatest collections of art can be found in the Vatican Museums.

Perhaps the greatest collection of exhibits in the entire world, the jaw-dropping Vatican Museums combine sublime Renaissance masterpieces with time-honored Roman relics.

The Vatican Museums collection was created by Pope Julius II in 1506 — the same year the foundation stone was laid for St. Peter’s Basilica — to display the masterpieces acquired by the Catholic Church over the previous centuries. These works, which include paintings, sculpture and historical artifacts, now attract more than 5 million visitors each year.

There are many smaller collections that make up the Vatican Museums collection, with each boasting spectacular works of art, but there are a few particular highlights visitors should prioritize. The Pinacoteca Vaticana art gallery contains renowned paintings and altarpieces by Old Masters including Giotto, Raphael and da Vinci as well as Caravaggio's signature work The Entombment of Christ. The Museo Pio-Clementino is home to examples of Greek and Roman sculpture. There are also sprawling collections of Ancient Egyptian artifacts, contemporary religious art and decorative Italian maps through the ages.

Most notably, there are a series of rooms dedicated to the Renaissance master Raphael. Originally intended as a suite of apartments for Pope Julius II, but now existing as a shrine to the great artist. The four rooms here have some of Raphael’s greatest surviving frescoes and other works, including The School of Athens, Adam and Eve and The Parnassus.

However, perhaps the most famous room isn’t actually in the museum’s collection, but en route to it. The Sistine Chapel was designed and painted by the finest group of interior decorators ever assembled. The walls are covered in stunning frescoes by Pietro Perugino, Sandro Botticelli, Cosimo Rosselli and other great Renaissance artists, while the ceiling has what is considered Michelangelo’s greatest work, The Creation of Adam and Eve.

The Vatican Museum is in central Rome and is open Monday to Saturday, and is also open the last Sunday of each month when entry is free. It is closed for several holidays throughout the year. Check the museum’s website for details.

You can walk there from the city center; the most direct route is to cross the Tiber and walk straight up Via della Conciliazione. The Metro train station Ottaviano is a short walk away along Via Ottaviano.


Guide to Exploring around Vatican Museums


Best Lodging Options Near Vatican Museums

See all 12,634 Properties near Vatican Museums
Best Western Plus Hotel Spring House NT$2,459
Best Western Plus Hotel Spring House

Best Western Plus Hotel Spring House

Via Mocenigo 7, Rome, RM
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in the center of Rome, this family-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Vatican Museums and Vatican Gardens. St. Peter's Square and Via Cola di Rienzo are also within 15 minutes. Cipro Station is 6 minutes by foot and Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 8 minutes.

    Hotel 87 Eighty-Seven - Maison D'Art Collection NT$1,673
    Hotel 87 Eighty-Seven - Maison D'Art Collection

    Hotel 87 Eighty-Seven - Maison D'Art Collection

    Via del Tritone 87-89, Rome, Rome
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      This family-friendly Rome hotel is located in the historical district, steps from Via del Tritone, Via Veneto, and Piazza Barberini. Piazza di Spagna and Trevi Fountain are also within 10 minutes. Barberini Station is only a 3-minute walk and Spagna Station is 7 minutes.

      Vatican Style Suite NT$1,981
      Vatican Style Suite

      Vatican Style Suite

      Via del Macherino 46, Rome, Lazio
         
        0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Vatican, this guesthouse is within a 5-minute walk of Via Cola di Rienzo and St. Peter's Square. St. Peter's Basilica and Sistine Chapel are also within 10 minutes. Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 8 minutes by foot and Rome San Pietro Station is 15 minutes.

        Otivm Hotel NT$2,352
        Otivm Hotel

        Otivm Hotel

        Via D'Aracoeli, 11, Rome
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Navona, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Piazza Venezia, Via del Corso, and Roman Forum. National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II and Capitoline Museum are also within 5 minutes. Colosseo Station is 14 minutes by foot and Cavour Station is 15 minutes.

          My Tiny Home NT$651
          My Tiny Home

          My Tiny Home

          4 Via Tunisi, Rome, Rome
             
            0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Vatican, this bed & breakfast is within a 10-minute walk of Vatican Museums, Via Cola di Rienzo, and Vatican Gardens. St. Peter's Square and St. Peter's Basilica are also within 15 minutes. Cipro Station is 7 minutes by foot and Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 7 minutes.

            Vaticano84 NT$1,396
            Vaticano84

            Vaticano84

            Viale Vaticano n.84, Rome, RM
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Vatican, this bed & breakfast is within a 10-minute walk of Vatican Museums and Vatican Gardens. St. Peter's Square and Via Cola di Rienzo are also within 15 minutes. Cipro Station is only a 5-minute walk and Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 10 minutes.

              Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá - The Leading Hotels of the World NT$12,020
              Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá - The Leading Hotels of the World

              Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá - The Leading Hotels of the World

              Via del Gianicolo 3, Rome, RM
                 
                5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                This family-friendly Rome hotel is located on the riverwalk, within a 10-minute walk of St. Peter's Square and Castel Sant'Angelo. Villa Farnesina and Piazza Navona are also within 15 minutes. Rome San Pietro Station is 12 minutes by foot and Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 18 minutes.

                Amalia Vaticano Hotel NT$1,518
                Amalia Vaticano Hotel

                Amalia Vaticano Hotel

                Via Germanico 66, Rome, RM
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Vatican, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Via Cola di Rienzo, Vatican Museums, and St. Peter's Square. St. Peter's Basilica and Sistine Chapel are also within 15 minutes. Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is only a 3-minute walk and Lepanto Station is 12 minutes.