Vatican Museum, Rome
Vatican Museum, Rome
The Vatican Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome. The art collections are both beautiful and extensive—in fact, many recommend allotting several hours, if not days, to exploring the complex in order to do the experience justice.
The museum has its roots in the 1503, when Pope Julius II had several sculptures placed in the “Cortile Ottagono.” He was one of the first leaders who shared their collections to the public—and several other popes followed suit.
The collection grew significantly when the Church became one of the most active patrons of the art. Popes Clement XIV (1769-1774) and Pius VI (1775-1799) also played very important roles in the development of the Vatican collection by establishing the curatorial section. Pope Pius VII (1800-1823) later invested heavily on the collections from the Classical Antiquities, the Epigraphic Collection, and many pieces that are now displayed in the Chiaromonti Museum and the “Braccio Nuovo” gallery.
Not to be outdone, Gregory XVI (1831-1846) established the Etruscan Museum, whoch houses several archaeological discoveries. He was also the man behind the establishing the Egyptian Museum and the Lateran Profane Museum (1844).
Pius IX commissioned even more statues, bas-relief sculptures and mosaics of the Roman era, and was responsible for establishing the Pio Christian Museum. Saint Pius X founded the Hebrew Lapidary.
Aside from these, guests will be awed by the Gallery of Tapestries (some of the pieces date back to the 16th century) and the Gallery of Maps. Other must-see are the Chapel of Nicholas V which was painted by Fra Angelic and the Sistine Chapel.
The Vatican collection continues to grow. In 1973, Pope Paul VI unveiled the Collection of Modern and Contemporary Religious Art. In the same year, the Vatican Historical Museum (which includes portraits of the popes and other ceremonial objects) was opened to the public. Other of the more recent exhibits are the The Carriage and Automobile Museum.
Visitors of the Vatican Musuem will also be pleased by the customer service and care. Not only has a large entrance made the area more accessible, but guests can also request for tourist information.