Vast complex of the Vatican Museums in Rome stands at the pinnacle of the art of the world. The infinite enfilades of priceless art collections, have been amassed from the sixteenth century onward and have the power to literally blow every tourist's mind. Obviously, visiting the Vatican Museums means admission to the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms and Chapel of Beato Angelico, which can't be just an ordinary museum to pop in and forget about. You need time to absorb it and though one day will seem insufficient, at least you have this fantastic chance to breath in the artistic wonders of the Vatican City State and fall in love with its atmosphere of eternity.
The Vatican Museums hides inside luxurious halls and the galleries of Palazzo Apostolico Vaticano. The Vatican Museums consist of two main palaces: Palazzo Vaticano, which is near the St. Peter's Basilica, and Palazzetto di Belvedere. The two are connected with two long galleries. In the center of the Museums there are three courts, where you can get only after you enter the Museums from the main entrance in Viale Vaticano: Cortile della Pigna, Cortile della Biblioteca and Cortile del Belvedere. The Vatican Museums are big and it is impossible to see everything in one day, therefore it's worth to be either with a guided tour, or if you go on your own, at least don't forget to get acquainted with the map of the place so not to get lost and have the idea of what exactly you must absolutely see.
For many people the heart of this legendary place is Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. Before reaching it you will go up the famous steps and then pass through long corridors surrounded with the greatest masterpieces of art. You will see phenomenal works such as Raphael’s “The School of Athens”, Caravaggio’s “The Entombment of Christ”, Leonardo da Vinci’s “St. Jerome in the Wilderness”, Bernini’s “Ecstasy of Saint Theresa” and hundreds of other stunning artworks.
A small tip. When you arrive to the Pinacoteca gallery do not miss the last painting of Raphael "The Transfiguration" (1517-1520). Not many are aware of this precious work being on the walls of the Vatican Museums.
Like in the Louvre, there are also rooms with Greek, Etruscan, Egyptian, Roman art and many more. Don’t forget to go up the steps of the St. Peter’s Basilica afterwards and picture the breathtaking view on the nearby domes, St. Peter’s Square, and the picturesque territories of Rome that sorround the Vatican City.
In order to get to the Vatican Museums on your own, take the metro and get out either at Cipro or Ottaviano station. Cipro is the closest station, but the route from it to the Vatican is a bit curvy. Ottaviano route takes almost as much time (slightly more), but you would need to go straight along a big road and then turn right, which makes it harder to get lost in case if you are prone to it.
There is only one entrance into the Vatican Museums, and it is located in Viale Vaticano. It’s also a usual spot for meeting with tour guides.
You can also reach the Vatican by bus: № 32, 81, 982, 492, 990.
In order to reach the Sistine Chapel you need to enter the Vatican Museums first and then go a pretty long way through luxurious art galleries. You are going to have many signs directing you, so people normally don't miss it. For your help there are also a lot of museum workers who can be asked on the way.
The Vatican Museums are open from 9 am till 4 pm with a mandatory exit at 6 pm. The lines to the Vatican Museums are phenomenal and in summer due to the heatwaves and enormous amounts of people it can be a very difficult quest to overcome. You might want to order tickets or a guided tour online to skip the lines.
Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace is his usual summer residence from July to September. In winter, he resides at the Apostolic Palace, which is his official residence located in Vatican City.
There are two possible ways to do it during the summer season. The first one is to go 25 miles from Rome to Pope’s residence at Castel Gandolfo. You can see him at noon on Sundays from afar. The second option is the more formal appearance on Wednesdays, when the Pope blesses crowds from a balcony.
In winter, he gives a speech in the Aula Paola VI Auditorium next to the St. Peter’s Square in Vatican. You can see him from a distance or get a free ticket a day before.
No one needs their passport on the way to the Vatican City, because there is no customs area or passport checks that mark the line between Rome and the Vatican. For a person who is not intending to reach any particular place in Rome the Vatican would seem just another Roman district.
However, you cannot enter the Vatican from many entries. In order to so, you will to arrive to the door in Viale Vaticano. This place is usually marked with a very long queue, so you won't miss it.
Any time is just good in its own way! But quite predictably, you will meet more people there in summer rather than in winter, because summers are tourists' most favorite season in general.
Also, remember that the Vatican Museums don’t work on Sundays, which makes Mondays and Saturdays busier than other days of the week, so try to avoid them.
Keep in mind that at the Vatican Museums there are both day and night tours. The latter is not known to everyone, but it's a great option to consider. Day tours are amazing, but it's more of a must-see. Night tours are more mystical and give you a different idea about this place. Both tours are warmly recommended, you can't come to the Vatican Museums and stay calm, it is a completely outstanding experience. Also, good news for those who intend to take a night tour, too. There are far less people in the Vatican Museums at night, whereas day tours are always predictably crowded.