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During our vacation in Italy, we had kept one full day for Vatican City tour. Vatican Museum, St Peters Square, and Cupola di San Pietro were on the top of list, and we made sure to cover them all.
Vatican Museums Tour
Since it becomes very crowded in day time, we opted for a full guided tour of Vatican Museum in morning time. We bought the tour from Viator, around 40 dollar per person, and started in morning at 8:30 AM. Our hotel was walking distance from Vatican and we reached the tour start point immediately after breakfast.
Entrance to Vatican Museum is free and hence there will always be a huge line for tourists to get inside. From the tour office we would have walked for 15 minutes to reach the entrance of Basilica. At the entrance of Vatican Museum again we met huge crowd as so many people were trying to get inside as quickly as they could. With help of our guides, we moved quickly inside and were at the registration hall with in next 10 minutes. Again we would have spent few more minutes there as we got the entry badges and rest of the formalities done.
Once inside the museum, you will be overwhelmed with the grandeur, and awe inspiring and beautiful paintings everywhere, from ceilings to the walls. Countless numbers of life size busts of prominent Roman figures and religious scriptures are seen across the galleries and rooms. There are multiple rooms and first time visitor like us will be totally lost with so much there to see. Inside the museum is Pinecone Courtyard, which gives you some fresh air and respite from all the crowd busy in taking pictures and selfies inside the museum.
Statues of Apollo Belvedere, Laocoon are some of the most prominent ones which you will definitely stop to take a second look at. Only point is you will always find lot of crowd around these statues taking pictures.
The Rotunda Room is another must see attraction. At the center of this round room you will see Red Porphyrin Basin, believed to be the bath tub used by Emperor Nero.
Gallery of Maps
Maps room or gallery of Maps is another most remarkable part of Vatican museum. This amazing gallery contains maps of ancient Italy from north to South. This gallery is about 120 meters long and you really need to spend time here to appreciate the minute details and colours used in utting all the maps together.
Sistine Chapel is the most important part of museum, that is where Michelangelo’s masterpieces are, like Creation of Adam Fresco, and Last Judgement. Sistine Chapel ceiling painted by Michelangelo itself is another attraction your will not forget.
Michelangelo’s Pieta is another most popular statue, and also one of its own.
Criss crossing from one room to another and one gallery to another, we did not even realised that we have spent almost 5 hours inside the Vatican museum. Walking through these galleries is such a moving experience, it will have few parallels.
If you take a tour of Cupola, you will get a complete view of dome and the circular structure of St Peter Square. But after spending almost six hours in Vatican museum we were very tired and wanted to come out as soon as possible. Also with the time, the crowd kept on getting bigger and we opted to leave.
Vatican museum gets close to 25 thousand tourists every day. It houses some of the most beautiful and known pieces of arts and culture across the world. You can spend whole day admiring those paintings and sculptures and still it may not be sufficient. The religious and cultural heritage of Vatican Museum is significant, and like all religious places, Vatican has its own unique and sacred identity.