Vatican Museums
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Vatican Museums tickets and tours

The treasures of the Vatican museums may be open to the general public, but there are areas that fewer people see. The Archivum Secretum Apostolicum V...

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The invaluable masterpieces of the Vatican Museums represent an unmissable treasure. Being one of the most famous and visited attractions in...

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The Vatican Museums are one of the largest and most visited museum complexes in the world. Discover the incredible Raphael's Rooms and Miche...

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This tour for small groups allows you to discover the best parts of the Vatican following the explanations and the routes traced by your exp...

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3 hours
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Benefit from skip-the-line access to some of the Vatican's top attractions. Discover the beautiful Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, a...

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2 hours 30 minutes
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Museums
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Get the most out of your visit and discover all the treasures of the Vatican! Skip the long lines and learn about the fascinating collection...

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2 hours 30 minutes
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Museums
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With this Skip-the-line private Vatican tour, you will have the time and flexibility to experience areas of the Vatican Museums, such as how...

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2 hours 30 minutes
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Museums
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Breeze past the long queues in St Peter’s square and go straight into the Vatican for a day of art appreciation. An assistant at the entranc...

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24 hours
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Discover the glory of Ancient Rome as you hit the streets of Rome and explore the Eternal City's most famous archaeological areas: the Colos...

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8 hours 30 minutes
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If you want to experience the Sistine Chapel – Michelangelo’s world-famous iconic masterpiece - before the crowds arrive, this tour is defin...

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1 hour
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This Extended Vatican Museums Tour is ideal for art-lovers interested in seeing more of what one of the world's most important collections h...

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4 hours 30 minutes
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Experience your Roman holiday with extra gear! Take the chance to truly discover all that this open-air museum has to offer and to disclose ...

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Discover the masterpieces of Rome on this tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. You won't have to worry abou...

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3 hours 30 minutes
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The inside story

The treasures of the Vatican museums may be open to the general public, but there are areas that fewer people see. The Archivum Secretum Apostolicum Vaticanum is an archive of important documents covering twelve centuries of church history . . . and perhaps a few secrets.

Here you’ll find Pope Leo X’s 1521 decree excommunicating Martin Luther, and a petition from English clergymen in 1530 asking Pope Clement VII to annul King Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. There’s also the official doctrine of the Immaculate Conception as defined by the Church in 1854, supporting the notion that Mary was conceived without original sin.

Though many people are fond of conspiracy theories (ancient evidence of extra-terrestrial life?), the archive has been open to scholars since 1881. Nevertheless, access is not easy. Journalists, students, and amateur historians should not apply, and even professional scholars must renew permissions every six months.

Browsing is not allowed and nor is photography. Researchers must ask for a specific document from supplied catalogues. But what secrets are not contained in the catalogues . . .?

Opening times

  • St Peter’s – daily 7.00am-7.00pm April to September, 7.00am-6.00pm October to March
  • St Peter’s Dome – daily 8.00am-6.00pm April to September, 8.00am-5.00pm October to March
  • The Treasury – daily 9.00am-6.15pm April to September, 9.00am-5.15pm October to March
  • Grottoes – daily 7.00am-6.00pm April to September, 7.00am-5.00pm October to March
  • Museums ­– Monday-Saturday 9.00am-6.00pm, last entrance: 4.00pm. Free entrance on the last Sunday of every month, admission 9.00am-12.30pm. Museums close at 2pm

Museum entrance closes 75 minutes before closing time

About the Vatican

The origins of the Vatican might be traced to 324AD when the Roman emperor Constantine started construction of a church with the tomb of St. Peter at its center. It would be a focus of the early Catholic Church, although the first popes lived at the Lateran Palace during the Middle Ages and actually moved to Avignon in France in the fourteenth century.

It wasn’t until the end of that century that the popes returned to Rome and again considered a monumental church. This was a time of great building projects, including the Sistine Chapel, the Belvedere Courtyard and a new St Peter’s. Nevertheless, the growing collection of ecclesiastical buildings was not known yet as the Vatican.

In fact, it wasn’t until 1929 that the Vatican was recognized as a sovereign state, later becoming recognized and protected under the Hague Convention as a cultural heritage site. In 1984, UNESCO recognized the Vatican as a World Heritage Site. Today, it has a population of around 800, its own TV channel, its own post office and telephone service. It is protected by the lavishly uniformed Swiss Guards and even has permission to have a navy, though no ships exist at the moment.

For the visitor, the attractions may be religious (audiences with the Pope draw thousands) or cultural. The museums and galleries are storehouses of great and famous art collections, the gardens are beautiful oases of calm, the architecture is stunning and – of course – there’s the colossal majesty of St Peter’s church to explore.

Getting there

  • By Metro
    • Line A stations: Ottaviano - S.Pietro-Musei Vaticani, Cipro
    • 49: stop in front of the museum entrance
    • 32, 81, 982: Piazza del Risorgimento
    • 492, 990: Via Leone IV / Via degli Scipioni
    • 19: Piazza del Risorgimento
    • Taxi stand: Viale Vaticano in front of the museum entrance
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How to get there

Vatican Museums Viale Vaticano Rome
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