The Vatican Museums, located in Vatican City, is one of the most famous and extensive museums in the world, exhibiting an unparalleled collection of artwork and artifacts. Founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century, the museum’s collections have grown over time, and today it is home to some of the world’s most valuable masterpieces. In this article, we will take a
journey through the history of the Vatican Museums and explore some of its most significant collections.
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History of Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums’ history can be traced back to the 16th century when Pope Julius II founded the Belvedere Courtyard and the first collection of ancient sculpture.
Over the centuries, the Popes added to the collections, and in 1756 Pope Benedict XIV opened the museum to the public.
During the 19th century, the museums were expanded, and new galleries were added, including the Etruscan Museum and the Egyptian Museum.
In the 20th century, several popes further expanded the museums, and in 1973, the Sistine Chapel became a part of the Vatican Museums.
Collections at the Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums houses an extensive collection of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and artifacts from different periods and cultures.
One of the most famous collections is the Gallery of Maps, which displays a series of painted topographical maps of Italy, created in the late 16th century.
The Raphael Rooms, named after the famous Italian artist, houses several frescoes, including the School of Athens, which is considered one of the greatest works of art in Western culture.
And the Egyptian Museum has a vast collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts, including mummies, statues, and papyri.
The Ethnological Museum houses a collection of objects from different cultures around the world, including Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.
Highlights of the Vatican Museums
The Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel is undoubtedly the highlight of the Vatican Museums, decorated with frescoes by Michelangelo and other Renaissance artists, including The Last Judgment and The Creation of Adam.
And the Borgia Apartment, a suite of rooms once inhabited by Pope Alexander VI, is decorated with frescoes by Pinturicchio, depicting scenes from the life of Jesus and the history of the Church.
And the Pinacoteca Vaticana houses a collection of paintings by Italian and European artists, including Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, and Raphael.
The Vatican Library
The Vatican Library contains a vast collection of manuscripts and printed books, including several illuminated manuscripts from the Middle Ages.
Tips for Visiting the Vatican Museums
Book your Vatican Museum tickets in advance to avoid long queues, and consider taking a guided tour to learn more about the collections.
Wear comfortable shoes as the museum covers a vast area, and be prepared for a lot of walking.
Respect the dress code, which requires visitors to dress modestly, covering their shoulders and knees.
The Vatican Museums are a treasure trove of art and history, offering visitors a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the world. From ancient Egyptian artifacts to Renaissance masterpieces, the collections at the museum are unparalleled, making it a must-visit destination for art lovers and history buffs