Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums, close to St. Peter’s Basilica, are one of the largest museum complex in the world.

Founded in 1506 by Pope Julius II, the collections are staggeringly diverse and are essentially the legacy of the Popes who were not only fabulously rich, but also great patrons of the Arts. Egyptian antiquities, classical statues, Etruscan relics and Byzantine paintings all have their place, but two areas that should not be missed are the Stanze di Raffaello (Raphael Rooms) and the Cappella Sistina (Sistine Chapel). Renowned equally for the crowds that line up to see it as it is for its breathtaking beauty, the Sistine Chapel was constructed between 1475 and 1480 as the chapel of the papal palace.

The painting of its ceiling was charged to a reluctant Michelangelo, whose subsequent depiction of the Creation of Adam ranks among the most famous painted images of all time and is considered to be one of the finest achievements of the Renaissance. The Last Judgement, also by Michelangelo, hangs behind the altar, while other famous Renaissance works by artists such as Botticelli and Ghirlandaio adorn the rest of the interior.

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