Vatican Museums, Vatican City National Museum

Dating back to the sixteenth century and founded at the behest of Pope Julius II, the Vatican Museums in Lazio are among the most visited in Italy: with more than 18 million visitors every year, consist of one of the largest art collections in the world and among the must-see attractions of the capital. Here are 10 must-see masterpieces.

Fonte: dal web

Inside, the Vatican Museums host more than 70 thousand exhibits in about 42 thousand square meters; that is why it is very important, when you decide to visit them, plan ahead and carve out the time needed not to miss even the smallest detail. 

10 things not to be missed at the Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums are so vast that it takes not only time, but also attention; if you choose to take a trip inside a visit to Rome, it may be useful to take note of at least 10 things not to be missed once you cross the entrance threshold:

Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel needs no great introduction, as its elegant appearance and majestic structure express its grandeur at first glance. Its name comes from Pope Sixtus IV della Rovere, who took care of the renovation of the ancient Cappella Magna entrusting the realization of the frescoes to Michelangelo Buonarroti; The latter has dedicated 10 years of his life to create one of the absolute masterpieces of art of all time, which includes (among many) the depictions of the Creation of Adam and the Last Judgment.

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Raphael’s Rooms

The Vatican Museums also house four rooms dedicated to Raphael and which were, at least initially, an area of the private apartment of Pope Julius II della Rovere. The pictorial decorations are the work of Raphael; the most famous room is undoubtedly the Stanza della Segnatura, destined to the private library of the Pontiff, which houses frescoes dedicated to the four disciplines of knowledge: the Disputation of the Sacrament (Theology), the School of Athens (Philosophy), the Parnassus (Poetry) and Virtue and Law (Law).

Fonte: dal web

Pio Clementino Museum

The Pio Clementino Museum, named after Clement XIV Ganganelli and Pius VI Braschi, is the original nucleus of the Vatican Museums, transformed only in the eighteenth century into a museum. Its interior is composed of 12 rooms, which contain important sculptures of Roman and Greek times; among these, the most important are the Roman copy of a Greek bronze statue, by Lysippus, and the Laocoön Group, located in the Octagon Courtyard. 

Fonte: dal web

Gregorian Egyptian Museum

Founded by Pope Gregory XVI in the nineteenth century, the Gregorian Egyptian Museum consists of 9 rooms and a large hemicycle leading to the land of the Nicchione della Pigna. The collection that can be admired inside is particularly linked to the territory: it is, in fact, rich in objects coming from Roman Egypt and Egyptian Rome.

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The Pinacoteca, however, is located in the building built by the architect Luca beltrami at the behest of Pope Pius XI. Its interior is divided into 18 rooms where, in chronological order, are exposed about 460 masterpieces made by the main artists of the history of Italian art, such as Beato Angelico, Giotto, Perugino, Melozzo da Forlì, Leonardo, Raffaello, Titian, Crespi, Caravaggio and Veronese.

Fonte: dal web

Collection of Contemporary Art

As a sign of dialogue between the Church and contemporary culture, the Collection of Contemporary Art was strongly supported by Pope Paul VI. The works on display were made between the late nineteenth and late twentieth centuries: these are over 8 thousand pieces including paintings, sculptures and graphics, distributed in 9 rooms and attributable to famous authors such as Bacon, Van Gogh, Chagall, de Chirico, Carrà, Capogrossi, Fontana, Manzù, Matisse and Burri.

Fonte: dal web

Ethnological Museum

The Ethnological Museum was founded following the Vatican Exposition proposed by Pope Pius IX at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is a very varied collection, involving about 80 thousand objects including historical finds from all over the world and dating back over 2 million years ago, productions of peoples originating in Africa, of Australia and Oceania and testimonies of Asian, pre-Columbian and Islamic religions.

Fonte: dal web

Chapel of Saint Peter Martyr

Built in the sixteenth century on the commission of Saint Pius V, the Chapel of Saint Peter Martyr houses its entire stucco and frescoes that not only decorate it but, at the same time, tell the story of the homonymous Saint thanks to the extreme mastery of Giorgio Vasari.

Fonte: dal web

Gallery of Geographical Maps

The Gallery of Maps was created by Pope Gregory XIII; it consists of 120 meters of frescoes representing 40 maps of the various regions of Italy, each with the mapping of the main cities. In the end, it is possible to admire the perspective views of Ancona, Venice, Civitavecchia and Genoa, that is city with the main Italian ports of the sixteenth century.

Fonte: dal web

Scala Elicoidale

Finally, here is the Spiral Staircase, a spectacular spiral structure (helical, in fact) double spiral. Designed in the thirties of the twentieth century by Giuseppe Momo, thanks to its characteristic shape allows those who descend to meet those who climb (and vice versa). Legend has it that the architect Frank Lloyd Wright was inspired by the Spiral Staircase to create the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

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