A stunning collection of the world’s most famous and precious masterpieces are proudly displayed within Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums. The Vatican is one of Rome’s most beloved places to discover works of art by illustrious artists such as Michelangelo, Raphael, Caravaggio, and Da Vinci.
The Vatican City, established in the Lateran Treaty of February 11th, 1929, is the smallest state in the world, at a size of 49 hectares and a population of approximately 800. Over the centuries, Popes have collected unparalleled collections of artworks.
Saint Peter’s Basilica
Even for the non-religious, a trip to Rome would not be complete without a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, a well-known work of Renaissance architecture and one of the largest churches in the world. According to Catholic tradition, Saint Peter is buried beneath the high altar of the Basilica.
Awe-inspiring, the imposing Basilica, constructed in 1506, features a host of sculptures and paintings including Michelangelo’s famous ‘Pietà’ statue and works by Bernini.
Visitors can enjoy spectacular views into the Basilica from inside of the dome. For those feeling energetic, it is well worth the climb to the top of the dome to experience the views looking out over the Eternal City and across the Vatican Gardens.
Saint Peter’s Square
The Basilica towers over Saint Peter’s Square which is also famous for its size at an impressive 320m by 240m. Some events at St. Peter’s Square have held over 300,000 people.
Bernini designed the elliptical piazza outlined by a colonnade of four rows of 284 columns. Standing tall above the columns are 140 statues of saints, created in 1670.
In the center of the piazza is a 25m high obelisk that originated from Egypt. Two circular, matching fountains, one by Bernini in 1675 and the second by Maderno in 1614 stand on either side of the obelisk.
The Vatican Museums
Explore the many galleries, museums, and courtyards within the Vatican Museums. The Gallery of the Tapestries features elaborate Flemish tapestries draped across the walls.
Whilst the Gallery of the Maps features frescoed maps painted between 1580 and 1585, taking visitors on a journey of the 40 Italian regions and papal properties during the time of Pope Gregory XIII.
Visitors will discover a carefully curated selection of Greek and Roman statues in the Pio-Clementino Museum, proudly displayed for all to enjoy.
The Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel is breathtaking! Many visitors have passed through this most revered chapel to take in Michelangelo’s masterpieces that adorn the walls and ceiling. Michelangelo’s remarkable ‘Creation of Adam’ and ‘Last Judgement’ are superb works of art and have made the artist famous for creating the largest fresco ever painted by one man.
With so much to see, why not book one of our small group Vatican tours with our experienced and knowledgeable guides who will bring history to life, revealing secrets and stories behind some of the most impressive works of art you will ever have the pleasure to see. Check out all our Vatican tours here to find the best tour for you.