Founded in the early 16th century, the Vatican Museums are some of the best in the world. They contain treasures collected by the Roman Catholic Church throughout its history: from classical sculpture to Renaissance art, and the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo’s incomparable frescoes to papal carriages and cars. The piece that started the collection, ‘Laocoön and His Sons’ (c. 25BC), is a monumental marble sculpture depicting figures from Greek mythology that is known for its dynamism, and the art gallery houses gems such as Raphael’s landmark work ‘Madonna of Foligno’ (1511) and Caravaggio’s moving piece ‘The Entombment of Christ ‘(1602–03). However, the Vatican Museums contain such a wealth of objects it is hard to pick out the highlights – and to see them all in one visit. The museum complex is certainly worth more than trip and – if you can face a queue – is open to the public for free on the last Sunday of each month.
Address: Viale Vaticano, Vatican City, Rome.
Opening days and times
From Monday to Saturday
9.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. (final entry 4.00 p.m.)
Every last Sunday of the month
9.00 a.m. – 2.00 p.m. (final entry 12.30 p.m.)