Museums can be quite overwhelming, especially when they have eras of artifacts on display. The Vatican Museum is one of the best in the world and filled with collections from various civilizations. Every wall, ceiling, nook, and corner of this place has something to tell and one can get quite dizzy with the plethora of exhibits here. Fortunately, the Vatican Museum is very well cataloged and a visitor-friendly place with good displays and a good audio tour. My first visit to the Vatican was absolutely mesmerizing and I found myself getting lost in the Roman and Greek history – recollecting the various stories that I have had. And if you are an ardent fan of the Angels and Demons, you will find yourself equating each space with the ones in the story.
1) Octagonal Courtyard at the Vatican Museum
Note the amazing muscular features and the anatomy captured in the sculpture. This piece was a part of the Greek history and was considered to be a symbol of the Greek victory. Once the Romans defeated the Greeks, this sculpture was taken by the Romans. The precision and the art of this statue is said to have inspired many other Renaissance artists like Michelangelo.
2) Round Room (Sala Rotunda) at Vatican Museum
3) Etruscan Section
4) Gallery of Tapestries at the Vatican Museum
Watch out for the Tapestry with the image of Jesus shown in the picture about. I could not capture the entire tapestry but let me explain why I have specified this particular picture. As you move along the tapestry, you will find that Jesus follows your movement. Stunning, right? And I actually freaked when I found that really happens! Difficult to capture the same on camera – but make sure you note that when you are here.
5) Gallery of Maps
6) Raphael Rooms
These are a series of 4 rooms that were decorated by Raphael and his pupils. The rooms were used by Pope Julius II and are quite ornate and colorful. The plethora of paintings can overwhelm you as well. However, let me point out to one that I remember and found interesting.
- Vatican City is located and surrounded by Rome. There are plenty of flights into Rome.
- From Rome, there are plenty of buses that take you to the Vatican City. Metro too, is a convenient option from Rome. And so is Tram. Here is a useful site on how to get around to Vatican from Rome. The site also, has some handy tips for a first-timer to Vatican.
- Here is the official website for the Vatican Museum
- Vatican museum is generally closed on Sundays and hence, avoid the same while planning your trip.
- There is a lot of walking here and hence, remember to wear comfortable footwear.
- It is advisable to take a guide here at the Vatican who can point out some interesting facts related to various exhibits. There are group walking tours also, available for the Vatican Museum. These are cost-effective but the caveat here would be that you will have to move with the pace of the group – which may not always be to your advantage.
- There are downloadable audio guides available for the Vatican Museum. You could consider the same if you want to do the tour by yourself.
- Here is a useful packing guide for Italy. This will act as a ready reckoner when you are headed here.