Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel

The beauty and the frescoes that we contemplate here introduce us to the world of Revelation (St. John Paul II)

The Vatican Museums are among the most important museums in the world. A visit to Rome would not be complete without visiting the Vatican Museums. The Popes of the past few centuries have collected and preserved some of the greatest masterpieces of art and some of the most valuable artifacts of past history. They wanted their own palaces with their personal art collections to be made available to the public. As stated by St. John Paul II, the Sistine Chapel is “a priceless cultural and universal heritage. This is confirmed by the countless pilgrims from every nation in the world who come to admire the work of the supreme masters and to recognize in this Chapel a sort of wonderful synthesis of painting.[…] from the Sistine Chapel Christ expresses in himself the whole mystery of the visibility of the Invisible.[…] It is difficult however, not to recognize in the visible and humanized Creator, God clad in infinite majesty. Indeed, as far as the image with its intrinsic limits permits, everything which could be expressed has been expressed here. The majesty of the Creator, like that of the Judge, speaks of divine grandeur: a moving and unique word just as, in a different way, the Pietà in St Peter's Basilica and the Moses in the Basilica of St Peter in Chains are unique” (St. John Paul II).

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Historical background

The first public museum in the world was founded by Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484) who decided to open up his collection of classical sculptures to the Roman population and to the general public. Implementing a project of Pope Nicholas V (1447-1455), he founded the Vatican Library, which was the second public library in Europe, after that of San Marco in Florence. His nephew Pope Julius II (1503-1513) followed his example, donating his collection of ancient marble statues to the Holy See where they were put on display in the Octagonal Courtyard, which was the starting point of what would become the Vatican Museums. Over the years, these collections were expanded thanks to renewed interest in the Greco-Roman civilization during the Renaissance. Raphael enriched the collections with frescoes in the Stanza della Signatura, the private study of Pope Julius II, which gave witness to a new Christian humanism. The Museums stayed in this embryonic state until the eighteenth century, when the writings of Johann Joachim Winckelmann (superintendent of the Antiquities of Rome) and of Luigi Lanzi (who wrote the "History of Painting in Italy" 1795-1796) inspired the birth of the academic disciplines of archeology and of the history of art. It was at this time that the Pio-Clementino Museum was established at the behest of Popes Clement XIV and Pius VI, and ever since then new collections were added which span various eras in history and various cultures around the world, from ancient Egypt to the present day.

Our offers

We will bring to visit the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, with priority entrance or with specialised guide.

Disabled visitors

  • Nearly all sections of the Museums are accessible to disabled visitors.

Wheelchairs are available free of charge and can be booked before the day of the visit ( or upon request at the "Special Permits" desk in the entrance hall. To collect the wheelchair the visitor must present a valid identity document.

  • Free entry, without the need to wait in line, is granted to all disabled visitors with certification of invalidity of 74% or over, and may also be extended to a companion if the disabled visitor is not self-sufficient.

Free tickets for disabled visitors and for accompanying persons may not be booked online. The free tickets are issued at the "Special Permits'" desk or "Reception", situated in the entrance hall to the Vatican Museums.

Rates and reservation visit the website

St. Peter's offices
Palazzo dei Propilei

Piazza Pio XII, 9 (Piazza San Pietro) - 00193 Roma

Opening to public

Monday to Saturday from 9:00am to 5:00pm


Call an operator

+39 06 69896.1

From Monday to Friday

9 AM - 1 PM and 1:30 PM - 5:00 PM 



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