The Vatican Museums and Gardens aim to reopen on 3 May

Vista di San Pietro dai Musei Vaticani. Foto: © Governatorato SCV - Direzione dei Musei

From 3 May 2021, the Vatican Museums reopen to the public

The Vatican Museums and gardens are expected to reopen to the public from Monday 3 May. In addition to the attentive sanitization of the museums and its works of art, the Vatican has changed its entry system allowing visitors to enter the museums under a reservation-only policy. In this period booking will be free of charge (usual tariff of 4 euros, not applied). Access will be restricted, and phased at 30-minute intervals. At the moment of booking, it will be necessary to choose your preferredentry time among those available.

Additional measures include wearing face masks, practicing social distancing and taking each visitor’s temperature at the entrance. But these are just some of the new rules dictated by the Direzione dei Musei Vaticani that regulate the access to the Vatican Museums and gardens but that, at the same time, offer a unique opportunity for visitors to experience the museums without the crowds, in complete safety and tranquility, and to fully enjoy the splendour of the many masterpieces.

Barbara Jatta, Director of the Vatican Museums, explains:

Despite the difficulties of these last few months, the Vatican Museums reopen with the desire to always go forward and to share with everyone the message of Beauty and Faith of which they are spokesmen in the world. The Vatican Museums are to be declined in the plural as they are a complex of different collections, all extraordinarily important.

The Vatican Museums, from antiquity to contemporaneity. A collection of Museums where all visitors can find their roots.


The Vatican Museums, founded in 1506 by Pope Julius II (1503-1513) in Vatican City, are one of the most important museum complexes worldwide, with an average of 6.5 million visitors each year. The museum complex comprises a set of Museums, with the rich collections of archeology, ethno-anthropology and ancient, medieval, Renaissance and contemporary art collected by the various Popes throughout the centuries. Some examples include the Vatican Pinacoteca, with artworks by Giotto, Leonardo, Raffaello and Caravaggio, and some of the most exclusive areas of the Palazzi Vaticani like the Gallery of Tapestries, the Sistine Chapel, the Raphael Rooms and the Borgia apartment.

To present, preserve and share that extraordinary legacy of culture, history, and beauty that the Roman Pontiffs have collected and preserved for centuries: this is the mission of the Vatican Museums today.

claims Barbara Jatta, Director of the Vatican Museums.

The Vatican Museums: two important news dedicated to Raphael

Sala di Costantino - Battaglia di Ponte Milvio, dopo il restauro
Sala di Costantino – Battaglia di Ponte Milvio, dopo il restauro. Foto: © Governatorato SCV – Direzione dei Musei

The Room of Constantine and Room VIII

The Vatican Museums pay tribute to the great artist Raffaello Sanzio (Urbino 1483 – Roma 1520), in the year of the celebration of 500 years since his death, with the completion of the restoration works of the Room of Constantine and Room VIII. Universal masterpieces that deserve a visit simply to be able to appreciate, in person, the beauty and magnificence of these artworks brought back to their original splendour.

The Room of Constantine

Sala di Costantino - COMITAS, dopo il restauro
Sala di Costantino – COMITAS, dopo il restauro. Foto: © Governatorato SCV – Direzione dei Musei
Sala di Costantino – IUSTITIA, dopo il restauro. Foto: © Governatorato SCV – Direzione dei Musei

Raphael’s last masterpiece has been brought back to its original splendour

In occasion of the reopening of the Vatican Museums and after five years of careful works, the restoration of the three walls of the Room of Constantine has been completed. The fourth and last of the Raphael Rooms, commissioned in 1519 by Pope Leo X (1513-1512) and finished by the pupil Giulio Romani and other collaborators on the basis of Raphael’s designs, disappeared prematurely in 1520. Intended for official receptions and ceremonies, the Room gets its name from Constantine (306-337d.C.), the first Roman emperor to officially recognize the Christian religion and granting the freedom to worship it.

In fact, in the central panel of the vaulted ceiling, the Triumph of the Christian religion is depicted over paganism while on the vertical walls four episodes of the life of Constantine are depicted, and the figures of great Popes lined by allegorical images of Virtue. Of these last ones, after a careful examination of the style and technique mixed with the narration of the historical sources and results of the scientific analysis, Raphael was attributed the authorship of the two allegoric figures of Iustitia and Comitas. Thanks to the delicate and careful restoration of the walls related to the first three episodes of Constantine’s life cycle (Vision of the Cross, Battle of Ponte Milvio, Baptism of Constantine), every visitor can once again perceive the overall view of the room by noticing new details of the whole pictorial cycle and enjoying the beautiful colors of the frescoes brought back to their original splendour.

Room VIII of the Vatican Pinacoteca.

Pinacoteca Vaticana, Sala VIII - RAFFAELLO
Pinacoteca Vaticana, Sala VIII – RAFFAELLO
Foto: © Governatorato SCV – Direzione dei Musei

Restoration and new lighting of the Three Pale of the Tapestries of Raffaello

After careful restoration works and the closure of the Vatican Museums of almost three months, visitors can now return to visit Room VIII, one of the most significant rooms of the Vatican Pinacoteca dedicated to Raffaello Sanzio. Thanks to a new lighting project, the masterpieces of the great artist have now been put under the spotlight like never before. A warm and dimmed light that’s direct at the same time, highlights the beauty, the colors and the materials of each of the masterpieces on display, creating an intimate and welcoming setting where each visitor is invited to stop, in silence, to meditate.

On the wall in front of the main entrance of the room we find the three altarpieces made in tempera on a table by the urbinate master, and of which recently, in one of the deposits of the Vatican Museums, the original frames made by Raphael were “found” : on the left the Madonna di Foligno (1511-1512), in the center the Transfiguration (1516-1520) and on the right the Coronation of the Virgin, also called Pala Oddi (1502-1504).

While on the side walls, after a careful restoration, you can admire the Tapestries of the Acts of the Apostles once again, prepared on cartons designed by Raphael and made with the sophisticated weaving in Brussels, in the workshop of the famous tapestry maker Pieter van Aelst, between 1515 and 1521. All ten tapestries, five meters long and four meters high, had been commissioned to Raphael by Pope Leo X (1513-1521) to decorate the Sistine Chapel, where before the pandemic they were exhibited for a week on the occasion of the celebrations dedicated to Raphael in the Vatican.

The Vatican Gardens.

I giardini Vaticani
Città del Vaticano e Giardini.
Foto: © Governatorato SCV – Direzione dei Musei

An oasis of peace where art and architecture mix harmoniously with nature.

Along with the Vatican Museums, the Vatican Gardens have also reopened, with the exclusive opportunity to visit them with direct access, without having to go through the entry to the Museums. In addition to the usual walking visits, the Direzione dei Musei Vaticani is offering visits on panoramic and ecological minibuses for up to 12 people, to safeguard the health and security of all visitors.

Never like in this historic moment, thanks to the reduced turnout of visitors, there is the unique and exclusive opportunity to understand and contemplate, in every detail, the beauty and uniqueness of the Vatican Gardens. A peaceful green oasis inside Vatican City that was requested by Pope Niccolò III (1277-1280) and meant as a place to rest and meditate. The gardens were expanded over the centuries and currently extend from South to North-West of Vatican City, occupying a surface area of approximately 23 hectares. The gardens are divided into different areas (Italian style garden, English style garden, the Pope’s vegetable garden) and also host some of the most important Papal offices like the Governor’s Palace and the Tribunal. The Renaissance was the garden’s greatest development period, where fountains, statues and temples were built, some even by architects and artists like Donato Bramante and Pirro Ligorio.

The secrets of the Sistine Chapel

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Viale Vaticano

Opening times

Monday – Thursday: from 8.30am to 6.30pm, with last entry at 4.30pm

Friday – Saturday: from 8.30am to 8pm, with last entry at 6pm

The extraordinary openings on the last Sunday of the month have been suspended. We remind you that, in addition to Sundays, the Vatican Museums are closed to the public on the following dates: June 11, June 29, August 14 – 15, December 8, 25, 26

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Entry guidelines

Mandatory online reservations on the official website

Entries are divided into time slots, with entry to the museums every 30 minutes.

On the day of your visit, you must respect the precise time written on your reservation voucher.

To access the Vatican Museums and Gardens, it’s mandatory to wear your face mask. The face mask must be worn throughout the whole duration of your visit.

Entry to the Vatican will be denied to anyone who has a temperature equal to or higher than 37.5°C

Guided visits and groups

Group visits are possible for groups up to 20 people (plus the guide).

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