Vatican Museums & St. Peter's Basilica, Rome

look at the Crepuscular rays from St. Peter's Basilica
Musei Vaticani is Italian for Vatican Museums, that is located within Vatican City. It is established in the year of 1506, north of St. Peter's Basilica.

This is my second visit, my first visit can be viewed in my post here

The Vatican Museums are Christian and art museums that 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 2017, they were visited by 6 million people, which combined makes it the 4th most visited art museum in the world.

There are 54 galleries /or sala (I call it chamber of display) in total, with the Sistine Chapel being the very last sala within the Museum. There is no doubt that Vatican Museum is one of the largest museums in the world.

 The Vatican Museums trace their origin to one marble sculpture, purchased in the 16th century: Laocoön and His Sons was discovered on 14 January 1506, in a vineyard near the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Pope Julius II sent Giuliano da Sangallo and Michelangelo Buonarroti, who were working at the Vatican, to examine the discovery. On their recommendation, the pope immediately purchased the sculpture from the vineyard owner. The pope put the sculpture, which depicts the Trojan priest Laocoön and his two sons being attacked by giant serpents, on public display at the Vatican exactly one month after its discovery.

Benedict XIV founded the Museum Christianum, and some of the Vatican collections formed the Lateran Museum, which Pius IX founded by decree in 1854.

On 1 January 2017, Barbara Jatta became the Director of the Vatican Museums, replacing Antonio Paolucci who had been director since 2007.

Modern art on the ground of the museum...

yes, you can turn it, our guide Xaverio did!

Antoninus Pius, he was Roman emperor from 138 to 161. He was one of the Five Good Emperors in the Nerva–Antonine dynasty and the Aurelii. Born into a senatorial family, Antoninus held various offices during the reign of emperor Hadrian, acquiring favor which saw him adopted as Hadrian's son and successor shortly before Hadrian's death. His reign is notable for the peaceful state of the Empire, with no major revolts or military incursions during this time, and for his governing without ever leaving Italy. A successful military campaign in southern Scotland early in his reign resulted in the construction of the Antonine Wall. Antoninus was an effective administrator, leaving his successors a large surplus in the treasury, expanding free access to drinking water throughout the Empire, encouraging legal conformity, and facilitating the enfranchisement of freed slaves. (source: wikipedia)

Museo Chiaramonti

The Apollo Belvedere or Apollo of the Belvedere—also called the Pythian Apollo—is a celebrated marble sculpture from Classical Antiquity. The Apollo is now thought to be a Roman copy of Hadrianic date (ca. 120-140) of a lost bronze original made between 350 and 325 BC by the Greek sculptor Leochares. It was rediscovered in central Italy in the late 15th century, during the Italian Renaissance, and in 1511 placed on semi-public display in the Vatican Palace, where it remains. From the mid-18th century it was considered the greatest ancient sculpture by ardent neoclassicists, and for centuries epitomized ideals of aesthetic perfection for Europeans and westernized parts of the world. It is now in the Cortile del Belvedere of the Pio-Clementine Museum of the Vatican Museums complex. (source: wikipedia)

River Tiber sculpture of a river god reclining with a jug on rocks near a stream, inside the jug is a lion's head.

 Laocoön and His Sons has been one of the most famous ancient sculptures ever since it was excavated in Rome in 1506 and placed on public display in the Museo Pio-Clementino (part of the Vatican Museums). This figures are near life-size and the group is a little over 2 meter in height, showing the Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus being attacked by sea serpents. 

The Belvedere Torso; it is a fragmentary marble statue of a nude male, known to be in Rome from the 1430s, and signed prominently on the front of the base by "Apollonios, son of Nestor, Athenian", who is unmentioned in ancient literature. It is now in the Museo Pio-Clementino of the Vatican Museums. The figure is portrayed seated, and was once believed to be a 1st-century BC original, but is now believed to be a copy from the 1st century BC or AD of an older statue, which probably dated to the early 2nd century BC. Michelangelo's admiration of the Torso was widely known and he used it as the inspiration for several of the figures in the Sistine Chapel, including the Sibyls and Prophets bordering the ceiling and the risen Christ in The Last Judgement. 

Sala Rotonda, contains a number of colossal statues, including a gilded-bronze Ercole (Hercules), and an exquisite floor mosaic. The enormous basin in the centre of the room was found at Nero’s Domus Aurea and is made out of a single piece of red porphyry stone.

Sala Della Biga (Chariot room) is a late 18th century room contains a large marble Roman chariot drawn by two horses, dating from the 1st century A.D., but heavily restored in 1788. The copy of the famous Discobolus found in Villa Adriana at Tivoli, from a bronze Greek original by Myron (c. 460 B.C.) is also displayed here.

Galleria delle Carte Geografiche (Map Gallery)
The last of three galleries on the upper floor – the other two are the Galleria dei Candelabri (Gallery of the Candelabra) and Galleria degli Arazzi (Tapestry Gallery) – this 120m-long corridor is hung with 40 16th-century topographical maps of Italy.

Sistine Chapel, we have to sneak-took this picture!


St. Peter's Basilica is a Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome.

Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter's is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. While it is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, St. Peter's is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines. It has been described as "holding a unique position in the Christian world"and as "the greatest of all churches of Christendom".

Catholic tradition holds that the Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, chief among Jesus's Apostles and also the first Bishop of Rome. Saint Peter's tomb is supposedly directly below the high altar of the Basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St. Peter's since the Early Christian period, and there has been a church on this site since the time of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. Construction of the present basilica, which would replace Old St. Peter's Basilica from the 4th century AD, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626.

Bernini's first work at St. Peter's was to design the baldacchino, a pavilion-like structure 28.74 meters tall and claimed to be the largest piece of bronze in the world, which stands beneath the dome and above the altar. Its design is based on the ciborium, of which there are many in the churches of Rome, serving to create a sort of holy space above and around the table on which the Sacrament is laid for the Eucharist and emphasizing the significance of this ritual. These ciboria are generally of white marble, with inlaid colored stone. Bernini's concept was for something very different. He took his inspiration in part from the baldachin or canopy carried above the head of the pope in processions, and in part from eight ancient columns that had formed part of a screen in the old basilica. Their twisted barley-sugar shape had a special significance as they were modeled on those of the Temple of Jerusalem and donated by the Emperor Constantine. Based on these columns, Bernini created four huge columns of bronze, twisted and decorated with laurel leaves and bees, which were the emblem of Pope Urban.

The baldacchino is curved Baroque brackets supporting a draped canopy, like the brocade canopies carried in processions above precious iconic images.

Pontifical Swiss Guard is a small force maintained by the Holy See that is responsible for the safety of the Pope, including the security of the Apostolic Palace. The Swiss Guard serves as the de facto military of Vatican City. Established in 1506 under Pope Julius II, the Pontifical Swiss Guard is among the oldest military units in continuous operation. The dress uniform is of blue, red, orange and yellow with a distinctly Renaissance appearance. The modern guard has the role of bodyguard of the Pope. The Swiss Guard is equipped with traditional weapons, such as the halberd, as well as with modern firearms. Recruits to the guards must be unmarried Swiss Catholic males between 19 and 30 years of age who have completed basic training with the Swiss Armed Forces.

thank you all for stopping by and viewing the post...


  1. Great photos!

    Chloe x

    beautiful lovely post ))
    new post

  3. Wow, it looks amazing! I'm really looking forward to visiting.

    Kathrin | Polar Bear Style

  4. Rome is truly spectacular! I've always wanted to visit this city and it has been on my bucket list forever! I adore your photos. xx


  5. Would love to visit here! I think I will be in about a year and a half. Thanks for sharing these pics.


  6. thank you all for the lovely comments...