Raphael's Rooms (Stanze di Raffaello) are four interconnected halls inside the Vatican Museums, each decorated with sumptuous frescoes by painter Raphael (1483–1520). These High Renaissance masterpieces are second in fame and beauty only to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in the whole of the enormous Vatican collection.
The frescoes adorning Raphael’s Rooms were originally commissioned by Pope Julius II in the early 1500s; Pope Leo X continued the commission after Julius' death in 1513 and, when Raphael died just seven years later, artists from his studio completed the frescoes.
The Vatican Museums, home to the Raphael Rooms, are the most visited attraction in Rome, so booking a guided tour with skip-the-line access in advance is a must. Tickets to the Vatican Museums include entry to Raphael’s Rooms. A small-group tour offering early-morning access before the museums are open to the general public is an excellent way to enjoy Raphael's works in relative peace. Many Vatican tours include Raphael's Rooms, the Sistine Chapel, and other highlights of the Vatican Museums—along with St. Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Vatican Museums have notoriously long lines; it is imperative that you book tickets in advance. Tickets to the Vatican Museums include entry to Raphael’s Rooms.
- Attire covering shoulders and knees are required to enter certain areas of the Vatican, including the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica.
- There is a security check to enter the museums, and pocket knives, corkscrews, and umbrellas are banned.
- You can check large backpacks, umbrellas, and luggage in the free cloakroom.
- The Vatican Museums and Raphael’s Rooms are wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
The Vatican Museums complex is in Vatican City. The nearest metro station is Ottaviano along line A, about a 5-minute walk away.
When to Get There
The Vatican is busiest in summer, when skip-the-line tickets or a private tour guide are recommended. Though the museums are less crowded during winter, they can still fill up around midday, so join a private tour in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds. The museum’s opening hours apply to Raphael’s Rooms.
Raphael’s Rooms by Name
The Room of the Segnatura (Stanza della Segnatura) was the first to be decorated and contains Raphael's most famous painting, The School of Athens. The other rooms, also decorated with scenes inspired by both religious and political history, are known as The Room of Constantine (Stanza di Costantino), Heliodorus (Stanza di Eliodoro), and Fire in the Borgo (Stanza dell'Incendio del Borgo).