Tour of the Vatican Museums
In the heart of the smallest state in the world is its jewel: the Vatican Museums are a veritable treasure trove of art, collected over the centuries by a succession of popes. Antique sculpture, early Christian relics, artefacts from Assyria, Egyptian and Etruscan museums, an art gallery with a collection of Old Masters (Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, etc.) and 19th and 20th century artists (Matisse, Van Gogh, Dali, Chagall, Kandinsky, etc.), a carriage and automobile collection of the popes and much more - a complete tour would not take one day or even a week. The wall paintings in the papal chambers, galleries and ceilings are worth a visit.
The tour itinerary will take you through the most famous parts of the Vatican Museums. You'll visit the Pinecone Court, the Pio-Clementino Museum with Apollo of Belvedere and Laocoon, walk through the Galleries of Tapestries, Candelabra and Geographic Maps, check out Raphael's Stantza and find yourself in the Sistine Chapel. Learn about the history of the Vatican State and enjoy the masterpieces of sculpture, architecture and painting.
The former chambers of Pope Julius II Della Rovere deserve special attention. Not wanting to occupy the rooms that once housed his rival and predecessor on the papacy - the notorious Pope Alessandro VI Borgia, Julius II settled in a new apartment, and to paint them invited to Rome yet unknown in wide circles, the young artist Raphael Santi. The result is the famous Stantzio by Raphael, which traces the evolution of his artistic style and a rivalry with Michelangelo, whose work is in the Sistine Chapel, located nearby.
Built during the reign of Pope Sixtus IV Della Rovere and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it can be considered the quintessence of Italian Renaissance painting. The most famous artists of fifteenth-century Florence were invited to paint the stories of Moses and Jesus Christ on its walls: Pietro Perugino, Sandro Botticelli, Cosimo Roselli, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Luca Signorelli.
The vault of the chapel and the altar wall contain world-famous works by Michelangelo in the technique of fresco painting, painted by him with a gap of almost 30 years.
Beginning to paint the vaults in 1508 at the age of 33 against his will at the request of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo worked almost single-handedly and within four years painted the ceiling of the chapel with Bible stories from the Old Testament.
Decades later, at the age of 61, Michelangelo returns to the chapel to replace the existing paintings on the altar wall at the request of Pope Paolo III Farnese. The result of his work - the fresco The Last Judgment - caused both a storm of admiration and terrible indignation.
The Sistine Chapel presents its visitors with a unique opportunity to see how the style of Michelangelo the painter, who never thought of himself as such, changed, preferring the sculptor's marble chisel to the artist's brush.
Are you visiting the Vatican Museums for the first time and want to get an overview of its collections, see the main attractions and masterpieces, visit the Sistine Chapel
You have already visited the Vatican Museums on your own, have read about its masterpieces and wish to systematise your knowledge and gain new ones