How To Take A Stroll Through Raphael’s Rooms

The Vatican City is known across the globe as having some of the most priceless art pieces on earth. While many of them are framed and hung in one of the numerous Vatican Museums, there are others that are a little more permanent. Much like the iconic scene on the roof of the Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s Rooms have drawn in millions of annual visitors to view these sensational works of art.

Raphael’s Rooms

Raphael’s Rooms are made up of four separate rooms in the Palace of the Vatican. But while the artworks may not all be in the same room, their staggering beauty remains a constant. Named after the master Raphael, these rooms were designed by Raphael himself. While a large number of the artworks were done by Raphael, many of them needed to be completed by the students of the School of Raphael, due to the artists unexpected death before the completion of the Rooms. The inner walls and ceilings are a symphony of exquisite artworks, each alluding to a significant aspect of the Christian faith.

The Room of Constantine

The Room of Constantine was designed to be used for receptions and official ceremonies. The artwork in this room was done almost entirely by the School of Raphael, basing the pieces on drawings by Raphael. The name was given after the first Christian Emperor to recognize the Christian faith, Constantine, who granted freedom of worship. Though this room is breathtaking to behold, few sights are as incredible as those inside the Room of Segnatura. Containing some of the most famous works by Raphael, this room marks the artist’s very first involvement in the Vatican. The artworks reflect this ‘new beginning’ theme by indicating the beginning of the renaissance. The room got its name from the Segnatura Gratiae et Lustitiae, which was once the highest court of the Holy See and was headed up by the Pope. Though today it welcomes hundreds of daily visitors, it was originally used as the private office and library of Pope Julius II.

The Room of Helidorus

Having completed his work on the Room of Segnatura, Raphael immediately began painting the Room of Heliodorus. Originally used but the Pope for his own private audiences, the artworks depict a more political angle. The murals tell the story of the protection that God provided humans with the churches on earth, as well as relaying Pope Julius II’s fight to free Italy from the French. Though the four pieces on the roof were all Raphael’s work, the surrounding murals can be traced back to the hands of Luca Signorelli, Bramantino, Lorenzo Lotto and Cesare de Sesto. Finally, the Room of Fire in the Borgo is a worthwhile visit. Raphael actually left a lot to his students, having designed each of the murals beforehand. While the Room of Segnatura was named after the court of the Holy See, the Room of Fire in the Borgo was, in fact, their meeting place.

Raphael’s Rooms are undoubtedly some of the most significant attractions of the Vatican City, and a trip here would be incomplete without a chance to marvel at these spectacular murals.

Explore the Raphael’s Rooms on our Vatican Museums and Gardens Tour.

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