Vatican Museums - The Most Impressive Collection Of Art & Historical Artefacts
The Vatican Museums are a group of art and Christian museums situated within the walls of Vatican City. The Vatican Museums collections consist of over 70,000 paintings and sculptures, displayed prominently in over 54 galleries, making it one of the most impressive collections of Renaissance art anywhere in the world. The museums are home to a number of classical sculptures, tapestries, and paintings by Renaissance greats such as Raphael, Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Bernini and Leonardo da Vinci. The Vatican Museums also have a collection of Modern Religious Art with paintings and sculptures from artists like Carlo Carrà, Vincent van Gogh, Giorgio de Chirico, Paul Gauguin, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso.
Vatican Museums Highlights
The Raphael Rooms
The Raphael Rooms are a group of rooms in the public portion of the Vatican Palace (part of the Vatican Museums) and are famous for their frescoes which were painted by Raphael, marking the High Renaissance in Rome. The rooms that make up Raphael Rooms are Sala di Costantino ("Hall of Constantine"), the Stanza di Eliodoro ("Room of Heliodorus"), the Stanza della Segnatura ("Room of the Signatura") and the Stanza dell'Incendio del Borgo ("The Room of the Fire in the Borgo").
Gallery of Maps
The Gallery of maps is a 120 metre long gallery in the Vatican Museums that is covered with painted maps of Italy based on drawings by friar and geographer Ignazio Danti. It took Danti 3 years to complete the 40 panels that make up the Gallery of Maps. The Gallery of Maps remain as the world's largest pictorial geographical study.
The spiral staircase at the Vatican Museums is inspired by Bramante’s iconic double-helix staircase at the Pio-Clementine Museum. Also known as Scala Elicoidale, the staircase was designed by Italian architect Giuseppe Momo in 1932. Like the original, the staircase consists of two separate flights that allows people to ascend and descend without running into each other. The main purpose of the design was to allow uninterrupted passage in each direction.
Gallery of Statues and Hall of Busts
One among the 54 galleries in the Pio-Clementine Museum at the Vatican Museums, the Gallery of Statues and Hall of Busts is home to numerous Greek and Roman sculptures. The gallery was originally covered with frescoes depicting landscapes and cities while the imagery of Cupids painted by Pinturicchio occupied the recesses in the wall. The exquisite gallery showcases works like the Sleeping Ariadne, the bust of Menander and the Barberini Candelabra.
Gregorian Etruscan & Egyptian Museum
The Gregorian Etruscan Museums was founded by Pope Gregory XVI in 1836 and consists of 8 galleries dedicated to Etruscan antiques and artifacts excavated in prominent cities of ancient Etruria. Historical artifacts in the Etruscan Museum include vases, bronzes, sarcophagus and the famed collection of Guglielmi di Vulci Marquises. The Egyptian Museum, or the Egiziano Museum, is home to a large collection of artifacts from ancient Egypt - papyruses, mummified animals, the Grassi collection and reproductions of the Book of the Dead.
The Sala Rotunda
The Sala Rotunda was built in the 18th century in the shape of the ancient Pantheon. The Round Hall is lined with Colossal statues and busts while the floor is decorated with intricate mosaic patterns.
Vatican Museums Tickets & Guided Tours
Vatican Museum Tickets
Access to the Vatican Museums requires one to purchase tickets. These tickets will allow you to skip the queue at the entrance and head straight to the security. Another feature of the Vatican Museums ticket is that it includes access to the famed Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel is situated within the Vatican Museums and you are not required to purchase a separate ticket to access it.
With an individual access ticket, you also get the option of going for an audio tour. These headsets are available in multiple languages and provide all the important information you need to learn more about the paintings and sculptures that adorn the Vatican Museums. Apart from individual access tickets, you can also go for guided tours of the Vatican Museums.
Vatican Museum Guided Tours
Taking a guided tour of the Vatican Museums can be really helpful if you want to experience more than just gazing at works of art. In the company of an expert guide, you will receive priority access to the Vatican Museums and head inside the museum without having to wait in the queue. Once inside, your guide will take you through the Vatican Museums galleries and show you some of the most important and iconic works of art from the Renaissance and even a collection of modern art paintings.
Guided tours of a historical monument are an extremely fruitful way to go about discovering them. The guide will be an expert in the subject and tell you not just the who and why behind each painting, but also the historical and cultural context that gave birth to these works of art. However, the downside of guided tours is the fixed routine and route that you will have to follow - usually at the discretion of the guide. However, at the end of the day, a guided tour is the best way to go about discovering a historical attraction, especially museums.