Our second day in Rome was spent at the Vatican Museums. Now, this is one of the most popular attractions in Rome, or I should say, in Vatican City, for once you step foot onto the grounds, you are no longer in the city of Rome, but in the territory of the Vatican State. Most likely, you will not be alone. There will be crowds! Usually enormous lines of people can be found waiting, to get in to see the treasures stored inside of the museum. Because of this, it is important to buy your tickets ahead of time. Tickets are easy to buy online, but to avoid unnecessary fees, be certain to buy only from the official Vatican site: http://www.museivaticani.va/content/museivaticani/en.html
Your ticket will have an admission time on it. With this, you do not have to wait in the horrendous line. Instead, just walk up to the entrance of the museums, show the guard your ticket, and proceed through the security screening. Purchasing your tickets in advance is really the only way to see the museum, and have a halfway pleasurable time. Once you are inside, take your time, and see as much of the place as you can, knowing that you won’t be able to take it all in on one visit.
One of the first spaces you enter is the Cortile della Pigna, or the Courtyard of the Pine Cone. This outdoor space is a lovely way to start your tour. Enjoy the fresh air, and the open space, as after this courtyard, you will find yourself in much tighter quarters, along with hundreds of others.
The museum is full of treasures from antiquity. It is impossible to take in every single piece of art that is housed there. My advice is to walk through slowly, stopping to pay particular attention to whichever piece may capture your eye, and your imagination. One piece that captured my eye was the Statue of the Nile recumbent, which dates from the 1st century.
The Laocoön and His Sons, also known as the Laocoön Group, was discovered in Rome in 1506. It is considered one of the finest examples of the Hellenistic Baroque style in existence.
The Round Hall has, as its centerpiece, a huge red porphyry basin, which, at one point, would have decorated an outdoor space in ancient Rome. Large statues line the walls.
The dome of the Hall is a tribute to the ceiling of the famous Pantheon!
In the Raphael Rooms, you will find the famous School of Athens, as well as other masterpieces!
Your visit to the Vatican Museums will also include entrance to the Sistine Chapel. Photos are strictly prohibited, so we can’t show you anything from there, but let me just say that the Chapel alone is worth the price of the admission ticket. Take your time inside! Revel in the glorious art that is surrounding you! Stare up at Michelangelo’s powerful work until your neck aches, and then imagine what he must have felt like, when he was painting this wondrous ceiling! After the Sistine Chapel, there is still more to explore, before making your way to the exit.
Next up: A visit to Saint Peter’s Basilica!
Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations which may appear. If you have enjoyed this post, please, check out our archives for more posts from Rome, as well as other Italian destinations. Grazie!