Updated December 7, 2018
The other big attraction of the Vatican together with St. Peter’s Basilica. They are actually different sections of a large museum. Open from 9 to 18:00. Closed on Sundays, except the last one of the month, when is open from 9 to 14:00 am. Also closed on all catholic festivities. Admission € 17/8 adult / discount (but the last Sunday of the month, when is free). There is an overwhelming number of combined tickets type: night visit, with and without guide, with and without lunch / breakfast…
It homes one of the largest and finest art collections in the world. It is so large that it requires a whole day if you want to visit it all. The highlights are:
- Paintings, the most notable are Raphael’s and Leonardo da Vinci’s.
- Sculptures, most of them from ancient Rome. Some of them are really hyperrealistic and impressive.
- Collection of Egyptian art. The star is the throne of Ramses II.
- Etruscan art.
- Cartographic Gallery of maps of Italy. The ceiling is one of my favorites.
- The chambers (Stanza), most of them decorated with huge frescoes by Raphael.
- Of course, the Sistine Chapel, one of the most famous artwork in the world. Certainly, it is wonderful. Not only they the figures, but also the multitude of architectural elements (columns, windows …) which are painted and look real. The problem is that it is very small and is usually crowded with tourists, and the closer the closing time is, the more people congregate in it, because at that time most of the visitors skip the rest of the museum and go straight to the Chapel. It is not allowed to use flash or tripod, so it is difficult to get good photographs.
- And finally, the exit stairs of the museum, one of the most beautiful I have seen on this style.
They are only accesible with a guided tour. You can choose between only gardens or gardens and museum, both lasting two hours and cost € 20/33. We have never visited them.
CASTELGANDOLFO PONTIFICAL VILLAS
Since 2014, these guided tours have started to be offered to the summer residence of the popes, 24 km south of Rome. The highlights are the Apostolic Palace (€ 11) and Barberini Garden (€ 20). The visits are guided only; some include the 40-minute train ride to this town.
There are also guided tours to archaeological excavations (necropolis of Via Triumphalis and St John Lateran, but they are only offered to groups.