Why You Should Visit The Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums are one of the world’s true marvels. Visiting the Vatican City is almost like a trip to one enormous gallery, and the reason for this is that the streets are lined with museums filled to the brim with some of the world’s most famous artworks. If you’re an art lover, it’s safe to say that there is no destination on earth more worth a visit than the Vatican City.

The Vatican Museums

The Beginning of the Vatican Museums

The birth of these museums was in the early 16th century. Pope Julius II founded them by purchasing the Vatican City’s very first piece of art. This was a marble sculpture, known as “Laocoön and His Sons” which depicts three immaculately detailed figures fighting off some writhing serpents. What makes this story all the more fascinating is the fact that this sculpture was found in a vineyard near the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore on the outskirts of Rome, and was just an installation in the vineyard. After some consultation from the Pope’s art ‘agents’, Julius II decided to make the first purchase and thus began the Vatican City’s enormous collection of artworks.

The Magnitude of the Vatican Museums

It truly is enormous, with over 70 000 artworks within the walls of the Vatican City, it is the largest collections in the world. However, not all of these are on display, only around 20 000 of these artworks are available to the public, while the other 50 000 remain in safe storage. To accommodate such an exceptional number of artworks, the Vatican City is home to 54 galleries, known as the Vatican Museums. These galleries are comprised of 1400 rooms and provide the ideal lighting and conditions to both preserve, and display each and every piece of art. Many of the museums also double as attractions of their own, such as the Sistine Chapel, which is famous for the works of Michelangelo on the ceiling, or St Peter’s Basilica, the largest Catholic church in the world.

Some of the world’s most important renaissance masterpieces are on display in the Vatican Museums, all of which have been collected by a series of Popes through the ages. This collection truly is a feast for the eyes, and draws over 6 million visitors each year to explore the beauty of museums like the Stanza di Rafaello. A trip to the Vatican City is a trip to the Vatican Museums, and should be at the top of your list of destinations in Italy.

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