The popes were among the very first royalty to open their vast art collections to public viewing, and today visitors can view the Vatican's own incredible collection while touring the so-called Vatican Museums. This huge complex of galleries showcases paintings, sculptures, frescoes, tapestries and classical antiquities of Roman, Greek and Egyptian origin. There are, of course, also collections of religious art, papal portraits and, less obviously, carriages and automobiles.
These amazing works of art can all be viewed in the extensive Vatican Museums: the Sistine Chapel, Pinacoteca, Raphael's Rooms, the Egyptian Museum, the Etruscan Museum, the Pio-Christian Museum, the Gregorian Profane Museum, the Gallery of Tapestries, the Pius-Clementine Museum, the Missionary Ethnological Museum, the Immaculate Conception and Sobieksi rooms, Borgia Apartment, the Gallery of the Candelabra, the Chariot Room, the Apartment of Pius V, the Gallery of Maps, the Chiaramonti Museum-Braccio Nuovo Gallery, the Historical Museum-Carriage Pavilion and the Vatican Courtyards.
Of note are the famous Sistine Chapel and Raphael's Rooms. Leave plenty of time for winding your way through the museums and the narrow connecting corridors and staircases.
The Vatican stands at the heart of Vatican City, and the Vatican Museums are located at the heart of the Vatican (much of which is closed to the public for security reasons). Metro line A stops at Ottaviano-S.Pietro-Musei Vaticano or Cipro, while Tramway 19 can be taken to Piazza del Risorgimento. On foot, visitors can walk from the center of Rome across Ponte Sant'Angelo and through the Piazza San Pietro, then head right toward Via Vaticano.
Please note: Entry lines into the Vatican can be painfully long and sometimes wind around the block with two- to three-hour waits, especially in summer. We highly recommend pre-purchasing a skip-the-line ticket.