Vatican Museums Opening Hours: Best Time to Visit

Museum is the best place to explore the culture, history, art, architecture, and everything else of the country. They display history in its true and raw form with a good portion of information. Italy has a history as an epic center of the renaissance, Roman Empire and Catholicism. It has a rich heritage in art, religion, cuisine, and fashion with its cultural legacies influencing even the Western world. Its museum’s exhibits display history through art, sculptures, paintings, and ancient artifacts. Vatican museums are one such place to explore in Italy. With around 7 Kilometers of an art gallery and the famous Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums tours can suit any busy tourist’s schedule. Here we have discussed best time to visit and Vatican Museums opening hours.

Vatican Museums Main Attractions

Made up of 54 museums with around 70,000 artworks, Vatican museums host masterpieces of antiquity from Egypt to Greece to Rome. These artifacts are spread over 1400 rooms, chapels, and galleries accessed through long corridors and wings of the museum.

Pope’s residence:

Founded in the 16th century by pope Julius II, Vatican museums house the official residence of the reigning pope in the Apolistic Palace. This palace is also known as a Papal place. Situated northeast of St. Peter’s Basilica, the palace comprises over 1000 rooms, a Vatican library, the catholic church’s government offices as well as numerous private and public chapels. Some of the rooms of this palace are open to tourists across the world where they get a peek into the life of the previous and current pope.

The Mesmerizing collection of art

Vatican museums consist of long corridors and exhibit art from the early Christian and medieval era to the Renaissance period and from the 17th century to contemporary forms. They display works from the huge collection by the Catholic church and papacy throughout the centuries.

The Famous Sistine Chapel

If you are an art lover, the Sistine Chapel must be on your bucket list always. Located on the third floor, it is world famous for what is called to be the most spectacular masterpiece in human history. With Two of its famous artworks by Michelangelo- one on the ceiling and the other his Giudizio Universale (last judgment)- the Sistine Chapel is the place everyone wants to see.

The spiral staircase

Vatican Museums have many picturesque locations, but the one location you just can’t miss is the Bramante Staircase. It consists of two staircases- the original stair built in 1505 and the modern one built in 1932. It is located in the Pio-Clementino Museum, at the exit of museum.

Vatican Museums Opening Hours: Best Time to Visit

Between April to October is the high visiting season and sees the maximum crowd. If here in these months, visit during afternoon hours to avoid crowds. Also, avoid visiting the place on Saturdays where the museums see large crowds.

Between November and February is the best time to avoid crowd at Vatican museums as these are low visiting seasons. You can expect easier access to prime locations and cold weather during this period. However, avoid visiting on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Also, the pope holds the audience at St. Peter’s Basilica every Wednesday of the month except July. To attend this, make your way to the museums first and then here.

Also, note that Vatican Museums stay closed on Sundays, except for the last Sunday of each month.  It is recommended to keep a minimum of 3 hours to take a complete tour of museums.

Vatican Museums Opening hours 2022

From Monday to Saturday  

9 am – 6 pm (last entry at 4 pm)

From 22 APRIL to 29 October

On Fridays and Saturdays open till 10:30 pm (last entry at 8:30 pm)

Every last Sunday of the month

9 am to 2 pm (last entry at 12:30 pm)     (free entry)

Closures 2022

  • Sundays (except the last Sunday of each month), easter Sunday
  • 1 & 6 January
  • 11 February
  • 19 March
  • 18 April
  • 29 June
  • 15 august
  • 1 November
  • 8 and 25, 26 December

To look at the opening and closing days for the full year, refer to

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