Musei Vaticani e Cappella Sistina
- Viale Vaticano
- +39 06 69884676
This collection of buildings (seven kilometres) houses one of the most impressive and visited art museums in the world. The Vatican Museums was founded by Julius II in the early 16th century following the discovery of the Laocoön. Today, the statue, along with the Apollo and Aphrodite of Knidos by Praxiteles, is the star of the Pio Clementino Museum, dedicated to ancient, Egyptian and Etruscan art. Another highlight, in addition to the Gallery of Geographical Maps, is the Pinacoteca, which conserves artworks ranging from the 11th to 19th centuries, including pieces by Leonardo, Giotto, Titian, Reni, Caravaggio and Raphael. The latter’s masterpiece, however, can be found in Julius II’s apartments, today known as the Raphael Rooms, where the artist worked from 1508 to his death in 1520, frescoing three of the four rooms: the Segnatura, with the School of Athens, Heliodorus and Fire in the Borgo. Near there is the Pauline Chapel, which conserves frescoes by Michelangelo, and the Sistine Chapel: 40 metres of masterpieces. The walls were frescoed by Botticelli, Perugino and Signorelli, while the ceiling is Michelangelo’s triumphant: nine episodes of Genesis, from Drunkenness of Noah to Flood, from Creation of Adam and Eve to Banishment from the Garden of Eden. On the wall behind the altar, Last Judgement.