Vatican Museum
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  • Museums | Art and design

The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel are a treasure trove of centuries of art, history and culture, says Livia Hengel


Time Out says

What is it?

One of the world's largest museums, which is home to the celebrated Sistine Chapel, traces its origins to the private summer residence of Pope Julius II in 1503. Through the years, it has developed into an extensive compilation that mirrors the diverse preferences and pursuits of several influential figures.

Why is it famous?

Constructed between 1473 to 1484, the Sistine Chapel is best known for its monumental frescoes painted by Michelangelo. Serving as the venue for papal conclave for hundreds of years, the chapel was restored in the 1980s and '90s to unveil vivid blue shades across its 930-square-meter ceiling and the wall of the Last Judgment.

The museum not only features seminal works by Michelangelo and Raphael but also includes Etruscan relics, creations by Matisse, a lunar rock gifted by Nixon, and a 120-meter corridor filled with remarkably precise maps from the 16th century.

Is it worth going into the Vatican Museum?

Many travellers come to Rome specifically to visit the Sistine Chapel, but if you’re into art and history, you’ll certainly want to visit the entire Vatican Museum complex. A quick walkthrough will take around 2-3 hours but there are countless works of art, so you can easily stay longer. Eat a snack before your visit and come prepared to be overwhelmed by beauty and crowds. Put it this way: we do not recommend visiting the Vatican and the Colosseum on the same day.

How much do tickets cost?

Tickets cost upwards of €17, and there are concessions for children and students. Skip-the-line tickets, tours of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and Basilica, and also guided tours can be purchased both on the Vatican website and third-party sites like GetYourGuide

Where’s good to eat nearby?

Like the area around the Colosseum, this is a prime spot for tourist traps.

Instead, the Prati neighborhood has incredible food options, from healthy eats at Rebio and sandwiches paired with craft beer at Be.Re. Old-school Dal Toscano serves classic Tuscany dishes while L'Archetto is great for thin Roman pizza. Terrazza Les Étoiles has a rooftop terrace with one of the best views of St. Peter's Dome, and Temakinho Rome Borgo serves fusion Japanese Brazilian sushi if you need a break from Italian.

Castel Sant'Angelo, the Mausoleum of Hadrian, is nearby surrounded by a beautiful park, and it's just a short walk to Piazza Navona and the Campo de' Fiori neighbourhood.

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Viale Vaticano
00165 Roma RM
Metro Ottaviano or Cipro-Musei Vaticani
Opening hours:
9am-4pm Mon-Sat.
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