Saturday, April 6, 2019

Vatican Museums & Picture Gallery

where: Viale Vaticano
getting there: bus 49 stops in front of the Vatican Museums
open: Monday to Saturday 9:00-18:00, closed Sunday
cost: €17 (Skip the Line recommended + €4 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

It is hard to explain visiting the immense and overwhelming collections that are in the Vatican Museums. The Vatican Palace holds one of the largest art and archaeological collections gathered by Popes over the centuries.
It was 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).
Visiting the museums takes many hours, so make a day of it and enjoy a lunch and a wine in the cafeteria or one of the more expensive restaurants, especially as you will be walking about 7 km during your stay.
The museums house Egyptian mummies, Etruscan sarcophagi and pottery, 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 Vatican Picture Gallery holds a huge collection of priceless artworks by Caravaggio, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael.
Access to the Sistine Chapel is through the museums at the end of the tour.
Highlights include a visit to 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.

Artists in the Pinacoteca Vaticana

Beato 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