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Vatican

Forget the Louvre, the Met or the Hermitage, some of the world’s greatest collections of art can be found in the Vatican Museums.

Perhaps the greatest collection of exhibits in the entire world, the jaw-dropping Vatican Museums combine sublime Renaissance masterpieces with time-honored Roman relics.

The Vatican Museums collection was created by Pope Julius II in 1506 — the same year the foundation stone was laid for St. Peter’s Basilica — to display the masterpieces acquired by the Catholic Church over the previous centuries. These works, which include paintings, sculpture and historical artifacts, now attract more than 5 million visitors each year.

There are many smaller collections that make up the Vatican Museums collection, with each boasting spectacular works of art, but there are a few particular highlights visitors should prioritize. The Pinacoteca Vaticana art gallery contains renowned paintings and altarpieces by Old Masters including Giotto, Raphael and da Vinci as well as Caravaggio's signature work The Entombment of Christ. The Museo Pio-Clementino is home to examples of Greek and Roman sculpture. There are also sprawling collections of Ancient Egyptian artifacts, contemporary religious art and decorative Italian maps through the ages.

Most notably, there are a series of rooms dedicated to the Renaissance master Raphael. Originally intended as a suite of apartments for Pope Julius II, but now existing as a shrine to the great artist. The four rooms here have some of Raphael’s greatest surviving frescoes and other works, including The School of Athens, Adam and Eve and The Parnassus.

However, perhaps the most famous room isn’t actually in the museum’s collection, but en route to it. The Sistine Chapel was designed and painted by the finest group of interior decorators ever assembled. The walls are covered in stunning frescoes by Pietro Perugino, Sandro Botticelli, Cosimo Rosselli and other great Renaissance artists, while the ceiling has what is considered Michelangelo’s greatest work, The Creation of Adam and Eve.

The Vatican Museum is in central Rome and is open Monday to Saturday, and is also open the last Sunday of each month when entry is free. It is closed for several holidays throughout the year. Check the museum’s website for details.

You can walk there from the city center; the most direct route is to cross the Tiber and walk straight up Via della Conciliazione. The Metro train station Ottaviano is a short walk away along Via Ottaviano.


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Hotel Quirinale £164
Hotel Quirinale

Hotel Quirinale

Via Nazionale 7, Rome, RM
     
    4.0 out of 5.0

    Located in Repubblica, this family-friendly Rome hotel is steps away from Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Via Nazionale and Via XX Settembre. Via Veneto and Piazza della Repubblica are also within 10 minutes. Repubblica - Opera House Station is only a 3-minute walk and Barberini Station is 8 minutes.

    Best Western Plus Hotel Spring House £175
    Best Western Plus Hotel Spring House

    Best Western Plus Hotel Spring House

    Via Mocenigo 7, Rome, RM
       
      4.0 out of 5.0

      Located in the centre of Rome, this family-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Via Cola di Rienzo, St. Peter's Square and Monte Mario. St. Peter's Basilica and Castel Sant'Angelo are also within 1 mile (2 km). Cipro Station is 6 minutes by foot and Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 8 minutes.

      Gran Meliá Rome Villa Agrippina -The Leading Hotels of the World £427
      Gran Meliá Rome Villa Agrippina -The Leading Hotels of the World

      Gran Meliá Rome Villa Agrippina -The Leading Hotels of the World

      Via del Gianicolo 3, Rome, RM
         
        5.0 out of 5.0

        This family-friendly Rome hotel is located on the riverwalk, within a 10-minute walk of Passeggiata del Gianicolo and Castel Sant'Angelo. Villa Farnesina and St. Peter's Square are also within 15 minutes. Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 19 minutes by foot and Rome S. Pietro Station is 15 minutes.

        Grand Hotel Olympic £214
        Grand Hotel Olympic

        Grand Hotel Olympic

        Via Properzio 2/a, Rome, RM
           
          4.0 out of 5.0

          Located in Vatican, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Via Cola di Rienzo, Castel Sant'Angelo and St. Peter's Square. St. Peter's Basilica and Piazza del Popolo are also within 1 mile (2 km). Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 7 minutes by foot and Lepanto Station is 13 minutes.

          Hotel Nazionale £161
          Hotel Nazionale

          Hotel Nazionale

          Piazza Montecitorio, 131, Rome, RM
             
            4.0 out of 5.0

            Located in Navona, this hotel is steps away from Palazzo Montecitorio and Via del Corso. Pantheon and Trevi Fountain are also within 10 minutes. Barberini Station is 13 minutes by foot and Spagna Station is 13 minutes.

            Hotel Alimandi Vaticano £158
            Hotel Alimandi Vaticano

            Hotel Alimandi Vaticano

            Viale Vaticano, 99, Rome, RM
               
              4.0 out of 5.0

              Located in Vatican, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Via Cola di Rienzo, St. Peter's Square and Monte Mario. St. Peter's Basilica and Castel Sant'Angelo are also within 1 mile (2 km). Cipro Station is 7 minutes by foot and Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 7 minutes.

              Hotel Museum £71
              Hotel Museum

              Hotel Museum

              Via Tunisi 8, Rome
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0

                Located in Vatican, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Via Cola di Rienzo and Monte Mario. St. Peter's Square and St. Peter's Basilica are also within 1 mile (2 km). Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 6 minutes by foot and Cipro Station is 8 minutes.

                Difronte ai Musei Vaticani £55
                Difronte ai Musei Vaticani

                Difronte ai Musei Vaticani

                Viale Vaticano 84, Rome, RM
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0

                  This family-friendly Rome bed & breakfast is located in Vatican, within 1 mi (2 km) of Via Cola di Rienzo, St. Peter's Square and St. Peter's Basilica. Castel Sant'Angelo and Sistine Chapel are also within 1 mile (2 km). Cipro Station is 6 minutes by foot and Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 8 minutes.