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  • Address: Musei Vaticani Viale Vaticano
  • Hours: The Vatican Museum: open Mon-Sat 9am - 6pm. Closed Sundays, except last Sunday of every month (Free entrance 9am - 12:30pm, unless it coincides with Easter Sunday). Closed most holidays.
  • Admission: Full 16 EUR, Reduced 8 EUR, Student 4 EUR

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La Pieta Tours

With all of the treasures contained in the Vatican Museums, it’s easy to forget that one of Michelangelo’s most beautiful sculptures, the Pieta,  is a short distance away in St. Peter’s Basilica - and it doesn’t even require an entry fee.

The term “pieta” is applied to any depiction of the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Jesus, after he has been pulled down from the cross. Michelangelo’s Pieta was carved in the late 1490s was originally part of a funerary monument to a French cardinal, but was moved in the 18th century to its current location just inside the entrance of St. Peter’s Basilica.

For many years, visitors could get very close to the Pieta, but in 1972 an insane man yelling “I am Jesus Christ” took a hammer to the sculpture. Some pieces of the sculpture were never recovered - including Mary’s nose, which was reconstructed from a piece of marble cut out of the back of the statue - and afterward the large bullet-proof glass was installed to keep the public at a safe distance from the masterpiece.

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