Entrance to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel 2024 and 2025
New access modes to the Vatican Museums for a better cultural experience
The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel are about to introduce significant changes to their visiting schedule to optimize the use of their collections and provide a more inclusive experience for visitors, leading up to the Jubilee of 2025 in Rome. These changes will take effect on January 1st, 2024.
New Visit Policies at the Vatican Museums
To improve the quality and safety of visits, daily opening hours will be extended, allowing access to the Museums from 8:00am to 7:00pm. During high tourist season, starting in March, opening hours will be further extended on Fridays, Saturdays, and other special days, until 8:00pm.
Named tickets accompanied by strict identity checks will also be introduced. Furthermore, a major project to gradually air condition the exhibition spaces has been announced, prioritizing visitor comfort and safety.
All of these changes are part of a larger and more complex restructuring of management and visitor policies at the Vatican Museums aimed at balancing the conservation needs of the art works with the accessibility needs of the general public, for an enriched cultural experience that is accessible to all.
The Vatican Museums: A Five-Century-Long History
The Vatican Museums, a collection of museums and galleries, are some of the most important museum complexes in the world, with a collection ranging from ancient to modern art, archaeology to anthropology. Their history is long and complex and dates back to the 16th century, when Pope Julius II (1503-1513) began collecting works of art and archaeological artifacts.
The first works of art collected by Julius II were mainly classical statues, such as the “Laocoön and His Sons,” discovered in 1506. The Pope also commissioned the decoration of the Raphael Rooms, which today are among the most famous works of art in the world.
The modern nucleus of the Vatican Museums collection was formed under the pontificates of Pope Clement XIV (1769-1774) and Pope Pius VI (1775-1799). Clement XIV opened the Pio-Clementino Museum to the public, which today houses the most important collection of classical statues in the world. Pius VI, on the other hand, acquired numerous works of art.
Over the centuries, successive popes have continued to expand and enrich the Vatican Museums collection, with highlights including Michelangelo’s “Sistine Chapel” and Raphael’s “School of Athens.”
Today, the Vatican Museums are a must-visit attraction for tourists from around the world. The collection includes over 70,000 works of art, displayed in 1,400 rooms, chapels, and galleries.
What to visit inside the Vatican Museums
Museums and visiting environments
The Vatican Pinacoteca was originally located in the Borgia Apartment, but following the decree of Pope Pius XI, a palace was built specifically for it. The architect responsible for this project was Luca Beltrami. The Pinacoteca Vatican collection includes works of art by masters such as Giotto, Leonardo, Raphael, and Caravaggio.
The Museum of Modern Religious Art Collection houses works by famous artists such as Francis Bacon, Carlo Carrà, Marc Chagall, Salvador Dalì, Giorgio de Chirico, Paul Gauguin, Wassily Kandinsky, Henri Matisse, and Vincent van Gogh.
The Pio-Clementino Museum was founded by Pope Clement XIV in 1771 and initially dedicated to the collection of ancient and Renaissance art. Later, the museum and its collection were expanded by Pope Pius VI. Currently, the museum houses ancient Greek and Roman sculptures.
The Missionary-Ethnological Museum, established by Pope Pius XI in 1926, collects works, mainly of a religious nature, from around the world, consisting mainly of gifts offered to the Pope.
The Gregorian Egyptian Museum, founded by Pope Gregory XVI, houses a vast collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts, including papyri, mummies, the Book of the Dead, and the Grassi collection.
The Gregorian Etruscan Museum, founded by Pope Gregory XVI in 1836, has eight galleries and houses important Etruscan artifacts from archaeological excavations. These include vases, sarcophagi, bronzes, and the Guglielmi collection.
The Pio Christian Museum mainly houses works of early Christian art, while the Gregorian Profane Museum is dedicated to Roman art.
The Carriage Pavilion, an integral part of the Vatican Historical Museum, preserves some of the vehicles used by the popes in the past. The main seat of the Vatican Historical Museum is located in the Lateran Palace.
Other museums in Vatican City include the Philatelic and Numismatic Museum, the Museums of the Vatican Apostolic Library, and the Chiaramonti Museum.
The Chiaramonti Museum
The Chiaramonti Gallery is the largest museum of Roman sculptures in the world. It takes its name from Pope Pius VII Chiaramonti (1800-1823) and marks an important moment in the history of the Vatican collections.
In 1797, with the Treaty of Tolentino, Napoleon’s France occupied the Papal States and seized many of the Vatican’s works of art, including the masterpieces of the Pio Clementino Museum. After Napoleon’s defeat in 1815, the Congress of Vienna returned some of the works to the Vatican.
Pope Pius VII commissioned Antonio Canova to set up a new museum to house the recovered Roman sculptures. The museum was inaugurated in 1807 and was named after the pope as the Chiaramonti Gallery.
The Chiaramonti Gallery houses a vast collection of Roman sculptures, including portraits of emperors, deities, philosophers and poets.
A separate section of the Chiaramonti Museum is the Lapidary Gallery, which contains over 3,000 stone tablets and inscriptions, representing the largest collection of this type of artifact in the world. However, this part of the museum is only accessible by request and mainly for study purposes.
New Wing Gallery
Gallery of the Candelabra
Gallery of Maps
Chapel of Urban VIII
The rooms or halls:
Hall of the Chariot
Apartment of St. Pius V
Hall of the Immaculate Conception
Hall of the Chiaroscuro
Saletta of the Greek Originals
Vatican Necropolis and Archaeological Excavations
Archaeological excavations under the Basilica of St. Peter, including the alleged Tomb of St. Peter.
The Vatican Museums are an invaluable artistic and cultural heritage that testifies to the history and culture of humanity.
by Argiletum Tour Staff
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