Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Vatican Museums & Pinacoteca

where: Viale Vaticano
getting there: bus 49 stops in front of the Vatican Museums
open: Monday to Thursday 8:30-18:30, Friday to Saturday 8:30-20:00, closed Sunday
cost: €20 at the ticket office or “Skip the Line”(€20 + 5 online booking fee)
information: wear appropriate clothing, no shorts/mini skirts/sleeveless tops
there is a security checkpoint
definitely NO photos in the Sistine Chapel
free cloakroom

It is said that the Vatican Museums are among the finest museums in Europe and it's hard to explain how exciting and overwhelming it is to visit, as the Vatican Palace holds one of the largest art and archaeological collections gathered by Popes over the centuries.

The Vatican Museums were founded in the 16th century by Pope Julius II after the discovery of the ancient sculptures of the Laocoön and the Belvedere Apollo. 
Pope Julius II commissioned the Sistine Chapel ceiling decoration by Michelangelo and the room frescoes by Raffaello Sanzio known as the Raphael Rooms.
The museums' vast collection includes Egyptian, Etruscan, early Greek and Roman sculpture (some from Hadrian's Villa), mosaics and glassware, early Christian inscriptions from the catacombs and ancient cemeteries of Ostia, Porto and Rome.


The highlights for me were the Art Gallery (Pinacoteca), the Borgia Apartments by Pinturicchio, the Apartments of Pius V by Giorgio Vasari, the Raphael Rooms by Raphael, the Hall of Maps and the Hall of Tapestries.

The collection takes many hours to see and I ended up walking about eight kilometres around the many, many halls and floors.

I'd recommend booking tickets for as early as possible as I booked my ticket for opening time, even then the crowds were huge and it got even more crowded as the morning went on into the early afternoon. 

Make the Sistine Chapel your last place to visit as there is no way to return to the museums once you've entered.

The Pinacoteca (Art Gallery) was opened in 1932. Eighteen rooms hold 460 paintings that are displayed in chronological order and school ranging from the 12th to the 19th century.
For me, the important artworks to see were Raphael's Transfiguration, Crowning of the Virgin and Madonna of Foligno in Room VIII, in Room IX Leonardo's Saint Gerome and in Room XII Caravaggio's Deposition, Guido Reni's Crucifixion of Saint Paul and artworks by Giotto, Perugino, il Baciccio, Tiziano, Fra Angelico and Carracci.





Artists in the Pinacoteca Vaticana
Fra Angelico
Pietro da Cortona
Filippo Lippi
Ludovico Carracci
Guido Reni
Orazio Gentileschi

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Helpful Hints

Getting Around

I found walking Rome was the best way to see everything.

The metro, trams and buses are also an easy and cheap option.

Buses and the metro can get crowded. Tickets must be bought before boarding and validated.

Beware of pickpockets.

Buses 40 (express) and 64 start at Termini and end near Saint Peter's, traveling past places of interest, returning the same way.

Some stops along the 64 route are:


Piazza Venezia

Via Nazionale

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Bus 75 takes you past the Colosseum to Trastevere

Bus 910 takes you to Villa Borghese

Ticket Options

€1.50 B.I.T (Biglietto Integrato a Tempo) is the standard ticket valid for one metro, unlimited tram or bus rides within 100 minutes.

€7.00 B.I.G ( Biglietto Integrato a Giornaliero) is a daily ticket valid for unlimited metro, tram, bus and train travel within Rome.

Purchasing Bus and Metro tickets.

Newsstands, train stations, metro stations, kiosks with the ATAC logo and tabacchi shops sell tickets for the metro, trams and buses.

Large fines apply to travelers not holding or validating their ticket. Tickets once validated start from the time they have been stamped.

These are a few of my favourite books about Rome

The Cardinal's Hat by Mary Hollingsworth
This book tells the story of one of the sons of Lucrezia Borgia who became a cardinal during the 16th century.

The Tigress of Forli by Elizabeth Lev
I love this book telling the story of Caterina Sforza who was fighting against the Borgia pope to retain the rights of her land and her freedom.

The Popes by John Julius Norwich
A detailed but easy and enjoyable book to read about the history of the papacy and the popes.

The Pope's Daughter by Caroline P Murphy
This book describes in beautiful detail, the life and times of Pope Julius II daughter, Felice della Rovere.

The Families Who Made Rome by Anthony Majanlahti
I love this Book! It explains the families who made Rome what it is as we see it today and also looks at their triumphs, scandals and failures.

Rome by Robert Hughes
This book explains Rome from its beginning and expands on the Renaissance and Baroque until present times.

The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr
Another of my favourite reads about a lost Caravaggio painting and the search for its provenance.

other sites I trust for information on Rome are:
Rome Art Lover
Churches of Rome wiki