Visit the Vatican Museums in Rome: Opening Hours & Visitor Information

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Sebastian Erkens

The art collection of the Vatican Museums contains over 70,000 works. Divided among 15 different art museums, this is by far the world’s largest and most spectacular collection.

On a stretch of 7 kilometers, art lovers get their money’s worth in the Vatican City. Visting the museums is definitely one of the best things to do in Rome.

From oriental antiquities, classical antiquity with Roman and Greek art, Etruscan art, and early Christian and medieval art from the 3rd to 14th centuries to works from the Renaissance to the 19th century, you’ll get great insights into art history.

Vatican Museums Photo Inside Museum

The absolute highlight of the Vatican Museums is the world-famous Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s ceiling fresco and the Pio-Clementino Museum, which houses the most exciting classical statues in the world.

It’s no wonder that nearly 8 million visitors come to see the breathtaking art treasures a year! The Vatican Museums were founded in 1503 after Pope Julius II bequeathed his private art collection.

The Cortile Ottagono contained the first works of the display we know today. These include art treasures such as the Apollo of Belvedere, the Laocoon Group, the Venus Felix, and many others. Detailed information about Vatican Museums tickets can also be found on our site.

Visitor Information:

Città del Vaticano 51, 00120 Vatican City


Metro stop: Cipro-Musei Vaticani, line A

Opening hours:
Monday – Saturday: 9.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. (last admission: 4.00 p.m.)
Fridays open until 21.00 p.m.
Sunday: day off (except the last Sunday of each month)

January 1st & January 6th
February 2nd
April 10th
May 1st
June 29th
August 15th & 16th
November 1st
December 08th / 26th / 31st

St. Peter’s Basilica (0,5 km)
Castel Sant’ Angelo
(1,1 km)


The demand for tickets to the Vatican Museums is high. It happens that the regular tickets are sold out quickly during the peak season. Sometimes there are last minute tickets, but they are a few euros more expensive.

Vatican Museums Group of Sculptures
Vatican Museums guides tour in Rome

How long does it take to visit the Vatican Museums?

On average, most visitors spend about 3-4 hours in the more than 54 galleries of the Vatican Museums. The lowest volume of visitors is on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Wednesday mornings.

Mondays are exceptionally crowded, as this is when the museums in Rome are closed. For those who can spare enough time, the first Sunday of each month offers the opportunity to save on admission. Here, however, you need a correspondingly long thread of patience.


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How much is the entrance fee to the Vatican Museums?

Entrance to Vatican Museums
People waiting at Vatican Museums entrance in line

Admission to the Vatican Museums costs 17 euros for adults and 8 euros for schoolchildren (6-18 years) and students (18-25 years). Children (0-5 years) have free admission. If you book the entrance online in advance, an additional 4 euro service fee may apply.

We strongly recommend that you book your tickets in advance. The rush to the Vatican Museums is enormous. Depending on the season and the day, you can expect a wait of up to 3 hours. It is incredibly crowded during the high season and on weekends.

Our tip: Save money with a Rome City Pass!


The Highlights of the Vatican Museums

Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is the absolute highlight of the Vatican Museums. It was built in 1475 – 1483 under the direction of Pope Sixtus IV.

The incredible paintings and frescoes that adorn the chapel’s interior were created by some of the most famous artists of the Renaissance, including Michelangelo and Botticelli.

Sistine Chapel famous ceiling

The ceiling is decorated with scenes from Genesis, showing God’s world creation and its history until the Flood. The frescoes depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments.

These include Moses receiving the Ten Commandments, Jesus’ baptism by John, and his crucifixion and resurrection. The floor of the Sistine Chapel also consists of great mosaics.

Raphael's Rooms

Raphael’s Rooms can be found on the second floor of the Vatican Palace. This was the residence of Pope Julius II in the years 1503 – 1513, claimed for himself and years later was used by his successors. The papal apartments were decorated by Raphael and his pupils in the years 1508 – 1524.

The Vatican Pinacoteca

The Vatican Pinacoteca extends over a total of 18 rooms. You can discover impressive paintings from the Middle Ages to the 18th century here.

Among the masterpieces are works by Raphael, Titian, and Co! Among the most famous works of art in the Pinakothek are Raphael’s “Transfiguration” and Caravaggio’s “Deposition from the Cross.”

The Vatican Pinacoteca Sculptures Rome

Octagonal courtyard - Cortile Ottagono

The “Octagonal Court” was once called the Satuen Court and contains, among other things, the important sculpture collection of Julius II (Laocoon Group) and the Apollo of Belvedere.

The collection aimed to relive the imperial Rome of the popes. The works once formed the original core of the Papal Art Collection. You can find the “Octagonal Courtyard” in the Museo Pio Clementino.

Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Museum contains artifacts and other finds from Ancient Egypt and the Middle East. The artworks acquired by the popes are composed of countless Egyptian sculptures and impressive sarcophagi dating back to the 3rd century BC.

Egyptian Museum in the Vatican Museums Rome

The famous spiral staircase

Although the spiral staircase, designed by Guiseppe Momo in 1932, is not necessarily considered a classic work of art, it is still worth taking some great souvenir photos here. The spiral staircase is located at the museum’s exit, so it’s a great place to end your visit. 

Famous spiral staircase Vatican Museums

Where are the Vatican Museums located?

A great insider tip you should check out is the Vatican Gardens, which are just a stone’s throw away from here.

Editor: Sebastian Erkens
Hey and welcome to Rome-Tourist! My name is Sebastian and I travel regularly to Rome, Italy.
On our Rome blog you will get valuable travel tips. If you have any questions about specific tours or sights, feel free to leave us a comment.

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