Vatican Museum
No doubt the Vatican museum is one of the major multidepartment museums in the world but if you stay only a few days in Rome is it worthwhile to line up for nearly two hours to get in and fight your way through the crowd inside?

A VT friend asked me why after visiting and commenting six Roman museums I kept silent about the Vatican museum (except showing the 2008 opening hours)?
Well, my wife and I visited this museum around 1995. We waited 45 minutes in the rain, were very happy to get inside where it was dry but when we came out both of us felt somewhat disappointed. We had expected more!

The crowd in the Sistine chapel had spoiled our pleasure and what we saw in the other parts was not extraordinary; we had seen similar works of art elsewhere under better conditions.
Let me give you some examples about parts of the Vatican museum of which similar art works can be seen elsewhere without losing your time in long lines:
1° Greek and Roman antiquities. You can see works of art as good in quality at the Museo Capitolino and Palazzo Massimo, Palazzo Altemps (without lines).
2° Pinacotheca. Religious subjects by great Italian painters are very common in Italy. No need to line up during two hours to see some.
3° Stanze (rooms) of Raphael. Yes this are great works of art. Now if your interest for frescoes is a general one, not specific to Raphael, there are many other frescoes to be seen in Rome. If you came for the frescoes of Raphael you have to line up.

The "masterpiece", "chef-d'oeuvre", "capolavoro" of the Vatican is the Sistine Chapel for which there is no substitute. Therefore, at least once in our life, we line up in the rain or in the sun for 1 - 2 hours or pay a lot of money for a group visit.
I would certainly visit again the chapel if some Monsignor would take me here on a private visit. As the probability for such favour is zero I read a good illustrated guide on the frescoes of Michelangelo. Something I would recommend to all visitors because the frescoes are at 20 m height, so that the details are not much visible.

  • Address: Entrance on Viale Vatican near Via Santamaura
  • Phone: 06 - 698 - 833 - 33
  • Directions: Vatican City, Metro stop Ottaviano Line A, walk or take a taxi




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