Vatican Museums 

See outstanding art in the city of the pope.

The Vatican Museums contain some of the most incredible pieces of art ever created. With works by masters such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Da Vinci, and Caravaggio, it’s one of the most visited art museums in the world.

Vatican Musuems dome building and gardens in Rome
Visit the public museums of the Vatican City, the Vatican Museums.


  • Visit the world-famous Sistine Chapel and gaze up at Michelangelo’s remarkable ceiling.
  • Get lost in details in the Raphael rooms, four rooms of outstanding frescoes by the Renaissance artist and his school.
  • Discover the Italy of the past in the Gallery of Maps.

Tickets & Prices

The Vatican Museums has so much to offer that each visit is a unique experience.

Check out the ticket options below to discover which experience best suits your needs.

Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

This is your standard entrance ticket which grants access to the many different collections of the Vatican Museums, including the world-famous Sistine Chapel

By booking online you’ll avoid the queue – infamous for being the longest in Rome. Use that saved time to spend even longer enjoying the galleries.

Important Ticket Information:

  • Book your time slot online and arrive at least 15 minutes before your designated time.
  • The tickets will arrive in your email which you can then show either printed out or in digital form.
  • The Vatican Museums are open Monday to Saturday from 09:00 to 18:00. Last admission is at 16:00.
  • Optional audio guides are available, for an additional fee, in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, or Russian.

Full Price Ticket

This ticket is for adults over the age of 18.

Reduced Ticket

This ticket is for children from the ages of 6-17 and students up to the age of 25 (with a valid student ID). Remember to bring a valid ID for reduced tickets, or you’ll be asked to pay full price.

Prime Experience Ticket

This ticket grants you premium access to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel one hour before it opens to the general public. Experience the museum without the crowds!

It’s the same booking procedure as the ticket above, just with earlier time slots!

What’s Included:

  • A two-hour tour of the highlights of the museums, including the Sistine Chapel, with an official guide.
  • A delicious ‘American-style’ breakfast seated in the museum.
  • Free time afterward to peruse the museum at their own pace for the rest of the day.

Rome Tourist Card

Get this nifty card and enjoy skip-the-line access to the collections of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. It also includes access to other famous tourist attractions, such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and St. Peter’s Basilica.

Additional Information:

  • Includes an audio guide in 10 languages, plus a guide to the city of Rome.
  • Select your visit dates online and receive tickets by email. Arrive at least 15 minutes before your designated time.

The Vatican City Pass

Discover the holiest country in the world with this handy pass. Simply book your visit dates online and receive tickets by email. Valid for three days from the starting date.

What’s included:

  • Skip-the-line access to the collections of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
  • Guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica with an official Vatican guide.
  • Rome: City Audio Guide App with over 130 hotspots to discover.

Additional Information

  • Big bags and suitcases are not allowed inside the museums. You can leave them in the on-site lockers.
  • Shoulders and knees must be covered.
  • Photos and videos are strictly forbidden inside the Sistine Chapel.

What to see and do 

The museums contain 54 galleries and over 70,000 works of art. With so much to see, it can feel overwhelming to know where to start. Below is a list of some of the highlights you can enjoy during your visit.

The Gregorian Etruscan Museum and the Gregorian Egyptian Museum

Founded in 1836 by Pope Gregory XVI, the Etruscan Museum was one of the first museums dedicated to Etruscan antiques. Here you’ll find artifacts such as vases, sarcophagi, and bronzes excavated from cities of ancient Etruria. It’s a must-see for those interested in discovering Italy’s ancient pre-Roman past.

The Octagonal Courtyard

The courtyard, which gets its name from its eight-sided shape, was first used by Pope Julius II to display ancient Roman statues discovered during his papacy. It’s considered the oldest part of the Vatican Museums.

Two of the most famous statues in the Vatican Museums are on display here: The Apollo Belvedere (argued to be the most beautiful statue in the world) is a Roman statue of the Greek and Roman god of the sun, music, and archery; and The Laocoon, a Greek sculptural group which shows Laocoon, a Trojan priest, and his two sons writhing in pain as they get attacked by snakes.

The Pinacoteca

The Pinacoteca (art gallery) hosts some of the Vatican’s most impressive paintings from Italian artists dating from the 12th to the 19th century. Some unmissable pieces are: St Jerome in the Wilderness (1482) by Leonardo da Vinci; Transfiguration (1520) by Raphael; and The Entombment of Christ (1603) by Caravaggio.

The Rotunda Room

You might get a feeling of deja-vu when entering this round room as it is modeled after the Roman Pantheon and even includes an oculus in the ceiling. Right in the center is the famous porphyry basin – famous because the Emperor Nero used this giant basin, carved out of igneous rock brought from Egypt, as a bathtub!

The Gallery of Maps

The Gallery of Maps at the Vatican Museums

This gorgeous room is a favorite of visitors to the museums. Another long hall, this one contains the largest collection of geographical paintings ever created. These amazingly accurate maps, created in the 1500s, show detailed depictions of Italy’s many regions. Look out for the fantastical sea creatures and boats in the water!

The Raphael Rooms

The School of Athens painting in the Raphael Rooms at the Vatican Museums
The School of Athens by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael.

These four rooms, marking the High Renaissance in Rome, feature frescoes painted by Raphael and his school and are an unmissable stop on any visit to the museums. The most impressive room is the Stanza della Segnatura which displays four paintings, each one representing a theme: Theology, Poetry, Philosophy, and Justice.

The School of Athens (representing Philosophy) is one of the Vatican’s most viewed paintings. It shows philosophers Plato and Aristotle, among many others, gathering and conversing. Raphael sneakily included depictions of himself and some of his artist friends among the bunch too. See if you can spot them!

The Borgia Apartments

The Borgia Apartments, consisting of six ornately decorated rooms, are in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the pope. Bernardino Pinturicchio was commissioned to decorate Pope Alexander VI’s (belonging to the infamous Borgia dynasty) private rooms in the late 15th century. These lavish and intricate rooms are a must-see – you’ll be transported in time.

The Sistine Chapel

No visit to the Vatican is complete without a stop at the Sistine Chapel, which features the most iconic painting in the world: The Creation of Adam. Don’t forget to check out the ceiling’s other incredible panels, and the fresco over the altar, The Last Judgment, another one of Michelangelo’s masterpieces. The Sistine Chapel is located at the end of the Vatican Museums and concludes your visit to this incredible place.

Did you know that: (3 Interesting Facts!) 

  • If you visit every single room in the Vatican Museums, you’d have to walk 9 miles (14.48km), and if you looked at every single painting for one minute, it would take you four years to see them all!
  • The Laocoon is the sculpture that started it all! Discovered in a vineyard, it was brought to the Vatican and became the very first piece of the collection.
  • Michelangelo and Raphael were working in the museums at the same time but were great rivals and only met once.


  • During the 15th century, various popes had chapels and rooms built and decorated in the complex that is now the Vatican Museums, as they were originally used as papal palaces.
  • However, it wasn’t until 1506 with Pope Julius II that the museums can be said to have originated when he purchased The Laocoon sculpture and put it on display.
  • Julius II was also the pope responsible for commissioning Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and Raphael to fresco the walls of the Raphael rooms.
  • Over the course of 500 years, various popes would leave their mark on this gigantic complex by adding to the collection and opening new museums, as well as commissioning the top artists of the time to decorate them.
  • Today, the Vatican Museums are the fourth most visited art museum in the world and are enjoyed by millions of visitors a year.


Are the Vatican Museums free?

No, entry to the Vatican Museums is not free. You will need to purchase a ticket to enter the museums as well as the Sistine Chapel. However, you can explore the Vatican City and St. Peter’s Square without charge.

Can you buy Vatican Museum tickets at the door?

Yes, you can purchase tickets for the Vatican Museums at the door however expect very long queues. We recommend purchasing a skip-the-line ticket so you can spend more time exploring and enjoying the museums.

Map & Directions (Location)

Address: Viale Vaticano, 00120 Vatican City, Italy

The entrance to the Vatican Museums is a ten-minute walk from St. Peter’s Square, which is to the north of the city center of Rome. You must go around the brown walls of the Vatican City. It’s also easily accessible by public transport.

Metro: Line A, stops ‘Ottaviano’, ‘Cipro’, or ‘Valle Aurelia’

Bus: 49 – stops in the square in front of the museums

32, 81, 982 – Piazza del Risorgimento

492, 990 – Via Leone IV / Via degli Scipioni

Tram: 19 – Piazza del Risorgimento

Train: San Pietro

Vatican Museums map

Address: Vatican Museums, , 00120 Vatican City, Vatican City · view larger map