Vatican Museums
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Vatican Museums tickets and tours

The treasures of the Vatican museums may be open to the general public, but there are areas that fewer people see. The Archivum Secretum Apostolicum V...

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The awe-inspiring Vatican Museums represent one of the largest and most visited museum complexes in the world. Discover the incredible Rapha...

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4 hours
Available in: English
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£ 23
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The invaluable masterpieces of the Vatican Museums represent an unmissable treasure. Being one of the most famous and visited attractions in...

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Available in: English
£ 28
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The best time to see the Vatican is before the crowds descend. This express, early-morning ticket gives you access 15 minutes before any oth...

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1 day
Available in: English
Tour with audio guide
£ 45
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This tour for small groups (maximum 15 people) allows you to discover the best parts of the Vatican following the explanations and the route...

Duration
3 hours
Available in: English
Entrance Tickets
£ 36
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Benefit from skip-the-line access to some of the Vatican's top attractions on this 2.5-hour guided tour. Admire the beautiful Vatican Museum...

Duration
2 hours, 30 minutes
Available in: English
Guided Tour
£ 46
Museums
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The Vatican has so many treasures and can be overwhelming. We want you to experience it in the best way so you can get the most out of your ...

Duration
3 hours
Available in: English
Guided Tour
£ 53
Museums
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Breeze past the long queues in St Peter’s square and go straight into the Vatican for a day of art appreciation. An assistant at the entranc...

Duration
1 day
Available in: English
Entrance Tickets
£ 36
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The OMNIA Rome card is your key to the Eternal City, providing access to its greatest attractions and transport between them. You’ll jump qu...

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3 days
Available in: English
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£ 95
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Enter the Sistine Chapel before it opens to the general public and enjoy Michelangelo’s masterpieces in peace, before embarking on a thoroug...

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3 hours, 45 minutes
Available in: English
Guided Tour
£ 75
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Enjoy a professional guided tour of the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. With this tour, you'll have priority a...

Duration
3 hours
Available in: English
£ 79
Must see
Museums
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This is the tour for people who want to see everything and get the total Vatican experience. With an expert guide, you’ll spend three hours ...

Duration
3 hours, 30 minutes
Available in: English
Guided Tour
£ 52
Museums
(530)

The Vatican can be bewildering to the first-time visitor. That’s why this tour offers you an expert guide who’ll introduce you to the major ...

Duration
3 hours
Available in: English
Guided Tour
£ 34

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Good to know

It's among the top ten most-visited museums in the world, so expect huge queues especially from mid-March to early November. Book your tickets in advance.
Allow for more time than you think and wear comfortable shoes. This is one of the biggest museums in the world with 54 galleries and around 7km of art.
The collection is said to have started from one marble sculpture, ‘Laocoön and His Sons', acquired by Pope Julius II in 1506. Since then Popes have spent centuries collecting some of the most impressive art works in the world.
It's closed every Sunday except the last one of the month when it's free (9am to 2pm). But don't get too excited, because this is also when it's at its busiest.
It has a secret papal escape route that goes from the Vatican City to the Castel Sant'Angelo. Dating back to 850 it's been used by two popes escaping invading troops.
Dress appropriately if you want to get in. This means covering shoulders, midriff, chest and legs down to the knees.
Save time by not carrying any large objects (backpacks, umbrellas, tripods etc) that will have to be checked in.

The inside story

The treasures of the Vatican museums may be open to the general public, but there are areas that fewer people see. The Archivum Secretum Apostolicum Vaticanum is an archive of important documents covering twelve centuries of church history . . . and perhaps a few secrets.

Here you’ll find Pope Leo X’s 1521 decree excommunicating Martin Luther, and a petition from English clergymen in 1530 asking Pope Clement VII to annul King Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. There’s also the official doctrine of the Immaculate Conception as defined by the Church in 1854, supporting the notion that Mary was conceived without original sin.

Though many people are fond of conspiracy theories (ancient evidence of extra-terrestrial life?), the archive has been open to scholars since 1881. Nevertheless, access is not easy. Journalists, students, and amateur historians should not apply, and even professional scholars must renew permissions every six months.

Browsing is not allowed and nor is photography. Researchers must ask for a specific document from supplied catalogues. But what secrets are not contained in the catalogues . . .?

Opening times

  • St Peter’s – daily 7.00am-7.00pm April to September, 7.00am-6.00pm October to March
  • St Peter’s Dome – daily 8.00am-6.00pm April to September, 8.00am-5.00pm October to March
  • The Treasury – daily 9.00am-6.15pm April to September, 9.00am-5.15pm October to March
  • Grottoes – daily 7.00am-6.00pm April to September, 7.00am-5.00pm October to March
  • Museums ­– Monday-Saturday 9.00am-6.00pm, last entrance: 4.00pm. Free entrance on the last Sunday of every month, admission 9.00am-12.30pm. Museums close at 2pm

Museum entrance closes 75 minutes before closing time

About the Vatican

The origins of the Vatican might be traced to 324AD when the Roman emperor Constantine started construction of a church with the tomb of St Peter at its centre. It would be a focus of the early Catholic Church, although the first popes lived at the Lateran Palace during the Middle Ages and actually moved to Avignon in France in the fourteenth century.

It wasn’t until the end of that century that the popes returned to Rome and again considered a monumental church. This was a time of great building projects, including the Sistine Chapel, the Belvedere Courtyard and a new St Peter’s. Nevertheless, the growing collection of ecclesiastical buildings was not known yet as the Vatican.

In fact, it wasn’t until 1929 that the Vatican was recognised as a sovereign state, later becoming recognised and protected under the Hague Convention as a cultural heritage site. In 1984, UNESCO recognised the Vatican as a World Heritage Site. Today, it has a population of around 800, its own TV channel, its own post office and telephone service. It is protected by the lavishly uniformed Swiss Guards and even has permission to have a navy, though no ships exist at the moment.

For the visitor, the attractions may be religious (audiences with the Pope draw thousands) or cultural. The museums and galleries are storehouses of great and famous art collections, the gardens are beautiful oases of calm, the architecture is stunning and – of course – there’s the colossal majesty of St Peter’s church to explore.

Getting there

  • By Metro
    • Line A stations: Ottaviano - S.Pietro-Musei Vaticani, Cipro
    • 49: stop in front of the museum entrance
    • 32, 81, 982: Piazza del Risorgimento
    • 492, 990: Via Leone IV / Via degli Scipioni
    • 19: Piazza del Risorgimento
    • Taxi stand: Viale Vaticano in front of the museum entrance
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How to get there

Vatican Museums Viale Vaticano Rome

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