The Vatican Museums (Italian: "Musei Vaticani") are Christian and art museums located within the city boundaries of the Vatican City. They display works from the immense collection amassed by Popes throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. The museums contain roughly 70,000 works, of which 20,000 are on display, and currently employ 640 people who work in 40 different administrative, scholarly, and restoration departments.
Pope Julius II founded the museums in the early 16th century. The Sistine Chapel, with its ceiling decorated by Michelangelo and the Stanze di Raffaello decorated by Raphael, are on the visitor route through the Vatican Museums. In 2013, they were visited by 6 million people, which combined makes it the 6th most visited art museum in the world. This figure is three times the number of visitors of 30 years ago.
Some of the artwork on display includes Greek and Roman sculptures and works from daVinci, Raphael, Bellini, Titian, Caravaggio, and of course, Michelangelo.
When we went, we saw a huge line of people waiting to get in. By planning ahead, we were able to purchase tickets directly from the Vatican's website, reserve a date and entry time, and skip past all the people waiting in line.
Read more about the Vatican Museums (link opens in a new window).