In addition to being the holy city for the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholic Christians, the Vatican is home to a vast collection of art in its basilicas, chapels, and of course the Vatican Museums.
The eyes of the world watched in 2013 as Pope Francis, formerly Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, was elected the 266th successor of St. Peter -- and thousands of pilgrims and other visitors fill the expanse of historic St. Peter’s Square throughout the year. Celebrating Easter in Rome draws hundreds of thousands to the Vatican each year - others enjoy spending Easter elsewhere in Italy to avoid the huge crowds.
Aside from the impressive grandeur of the St. Peter’s Square and Basilica (oh, to see the soaring glory of the magnificent cupola from inside!), the expansiveness of the Vatican Museums is not to be underestimated.There are 1400 rooms filled with art, sculpture, tapestries, and other treasures, earning the Vatican Museums its place as one of the world’s largest museums.
Be sure to follow our packing tips for your Italy trip so that you have appropriate clothing for churches and the Vatican. Men and women are expected to dress modestly to visit sacred space, meaning covered shoulders and knees and no bare midriffs.
Aside from artwork and artefacts related to the rich past of the Holy See, the Vatican Museums boast unique collections ranging from antiquities from Ancient Greece and Ancient Roman times to nine rooms of monuments from Ancient Egypt (including mummies) and more than 100,000 objects from all over the world in the Ethnological Museum.
You can preview some of the collections online at the official Vatican Museums website, which gives some valuable perspective on the sheer size and majesty of this priceless museum complex. To see and appreciate everything housed here could take a lifetime!
When you book a Vatican Tour with Avventure Bellissime you not only get to skip-the-line, but a guided tour with one of our amazing expert licensed Italy tour guides will take you efficiently through the countless rooms to ensure you see as many of the highlights as you can in a few hours.
Along the way you’ll enjoy colourful anecdotes and rich history interpreted by our friendly guides. Not only do they know the collections housed in the Vatican Museum very well, but they can also entertain you with the Secrets of the Sistine Chapel and the incredibly diverse talents of the artist Michelangelo.
Often visitors to the Vatican hope to see the Pope on a visit - but remember the pontiff frequently travels to visit other countries. When he is at the Vatican there is usually a general audience for the public on Wednesdays, which is often held in the Audience Hall in inclement weather or in St. Peter’s Square. Those wishing to attend must arrange for a free ticket in advance.
On Sundays when the Pope is in residence he traditionally gives a noon blessing from his office overlooking St. Peter’s Square. Free tickets for special celebrations such as Easter Mass or Christmas Mass need to be requested months in advance.
That said, Pope Francis has delighted people around the world for his informal visits to churches or poor areas in Rome or, recently, to buy new glasses at an optician’s shop. So you never know!
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