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Vatican Museum

10 Things You Didn’t Know about the Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums represent a collection that dates back about three centuries before the founding of the United States. And there’s great news! On April 24th this year, admission to the Vatican Museums is FREE!

Fabulous. Right? Pack up the family and get on over there!

Vatican Museum Staircase

Oh, wait. The Vatican Museums are in Europe. Aren’t they? No problem. There’s a Plan B. Check them out online. To whet your appetite for a tour, here are some things that might pique your interest:

  1. The Vatican Museums started with some sculptures collected by Pope Julius II. (About 300 years before the United States existed)
    Pope Julius II
  1. By opening Vatican art collections to the public, the popes were part of the forefront in encouraging the study of art history and culture.
  1. The Papal States were once forced to surrender major masterpieces to Napoleon Bonaparte. Once Napoleon’s day had passed, successful diplomacy brought most of those pieces back to Rome.
  1. While the Declaration of Independence was being signed, the Vatican Museums were being expanded—part of the great worldwide culture future generations would enjoy as Americans.
  1. In addition to being the site of papal conclaves, the Sistine Chapel is also part of the Vatican Museums.
  1. The Vatican’s collections represent the sixth most visited museum in the world.
  1. The museums’ Stanze of Raphael rooms were part of the residence of Pope Julius II.Vatican Museum Raphael Rooms
  1. The Vatican Museums include the Passetto di Borgo—an underground tunnel between the pope’s residence and Castel Sant’Angelo. In 1527, the Passeto saved the life of Pope Clement VII during a murderous rampage by soldiers of Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V.
    Passetto di Borgo
  1. We can’t say for certain, but if not for the damage done to the Sistine Chapel by a large ceiling crack and the process of repairing it, Michelangelo may never have had the chance to transform the chapel as he did.
  1. Over time, the Vatican Museums have grown to over 9 miles of pieces in 54 museums.
    Vatican Museums Exterior

 

Have you been to the Vatican Museums?

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Jim Moore

Jim Moore

Jim Moore is a freelance writer and the former managing editor of Envoy Magazine. His motto? “Don’t worry. Be Catholic.” You can reach him at jamestheleast@gmail.com.
Jim Moore
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