It is, indeed, the Museum of the BelPaese with the most high influx of visitors each year (statistics not to underestimate) and in general among the most visited in the world in general, strong of its unique treasures which are kept therein. The Vatican Museums were founded by Pope Julius II in 1506, and opened to public in 1771 for the will of Pope Clement XIV. The origin of the Vatican Museums can be traced back in fact to a single marble sculpture, purchased 500 years ago. The sculpture in question is the one that represents Laocoon, the priest who, according to Greek mythology, attempted to convince the Trojans not to accept the wooden horse that the Greeks seemed to have given them, and it was found January 14, 1506 in a vineyard near the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.
To probe the significance of this finding, was sent by none other than Michelangelo Buonarroti, whom was then working at the Holy See, and it was on his advice that the Pope immediately bought the sculpture from the vineyard owner. A month later the immortal work was displayed to the public in the Vatican. By now, the Popes always gathered books, tapestries, works of art of any kind among the best of their times, initiating a process which over centuries has led to the Vatican some of the existing priceless treasures.
The Museum complex is composed by 25 different sectors, including a picture gallery which includes over 460 paintings, masterpieces of the greatest artists in the history of Italian painting from Giotto to Beato Angelico, from Perugino to Raffaello, from Leonardo to Tiziano.
If this short survey among the wonders of Italy’s Vatican made you want to travel for culture in the Eternal City, know that these are just a few of the priceless treasures found in the Vatican and exhibited in the more than 7 square kilometers of its Museums, where you can really see and breathe history, that’s studied on books and that has been kept between these massive walls for centuries. A priceless treasure, which condenses in its rooms over two millennia of history of art and civilization.