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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Vatican Museums skip-the-line tickets with optional Saint Peter’s Basilica
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Vatican Museums skip-the-line tickets with optional Saint Peter’s Basilica

Book an exclusive skip-the-line entrance and assistance of a Musement representative and access the Museums in the quickest way possible!

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Skip-the-line tickets for the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica with audio guide
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Skip-the-line tickets for the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica with audio guide

Avoid the long lines at the Vatican Museums' entrance with skip-the-line tickets and learn more about the sites you'll visit thanks to your audio guide.

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Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel small-group tour with a local guide
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Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel small-group tour with a local guide

Don't miss the chance to experience a fascinating guided tour of the Vatican Museums, St. Peter's and the Sistine Chapel with a skip-the-line ticket and an expert guide!

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Skip-the-line guided tour of Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
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Skip-the-line guided tour of Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

Benefit from skip-the-line access to admire the beautiful Vatican Museums and visit the greatest attractions in Rome, the Sistine Chapel.

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Essential Vatican guided tour: Museums and Sistine Chapel
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Essential Vatican guided tour: Museums and Sistine Chapel

Book your guided tour including Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Less time in line, more time on art!

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Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel tickets with skip-the-line private tour
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Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel tickets with skip-the-line private tour

Get all the best information for Private Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel tour with skip the line. Book your tickets now!

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Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine tour with Vatican Museums upgrade
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Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine tour with Vatican Museums upgrade

Visit the Vatican and the Colosseum in this day tour of Rome. Discover the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica as well as the Roman forum.

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Exclusive first entry: Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums tour
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Exclusive first entry: Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums tour

Book this combo offer including Exclusive First Entry Tickets: Sistine Chapel & Vatican Museums!

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Vatican Museums tour with Bramante Staircase and St Peter's Basilica
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Vatican Museums tour with Bramante Staircase and St Peter's Basilica

Get your extended Vatican Museums tour, see the Bramante Staircase, the Pinacoteca, the Raphael Rooms and the world-famous St Peter's Basilica.

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Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel: Tickets and Private Tour with Wheelchair Access
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Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel: Tickets and Private Tour with Wheelchair Access

Get all the best information for your Vatican Tour with Wheelchair Access. Book your tickets, skipping the line, at official rates. Get informed, plan and book your tour in Rome, Italy.

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Vatican Museums private tour with a local guide
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Vatican Museums private tour with a local guide

Don't miss the chance to discover the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel with a private guide dedicated only to you and your friends and family!

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Semi-private early access to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Tour
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Semi-private early access to the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Tour

Avoid the queues and enjoy the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter's Basilica one hour before the opening hour!

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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 center. 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 recognized as a sovereign state, later becoming recognized and protected under the Hague Convention as a cultural heritage site. In 1984, UNESCO recognized 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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