When in Rome, a visit to Vatican City, the world’s smallest state, is an absolute must. And this is especially the case if you and your group have any interest in the history of Western art.
That’s because the Vatican Museums house one of the finest collections of art in the world. Over 6 million people visited the Vatican Museums in 2017, which makes it the 4th most visited art museum in the world.
The collection holds a huge variety of pieces, including some that date back to ancient Greece.
In fact, the collection contains around 70,000 works of art, only 20,000 of which are currently on display.
The collection was amassed by the popes over the centuries, originally to preserve the treasures of ancient Rome, of which they believed themselves to be the successors. The museum itself originally founded by Pope Julius II in the early 16th century.
There are works by many of the world’s most famous artists, including da Vinci, Giotto, Raphael, Titian and Caravaggio.
But perhaps the most celebrated work is, in fact, a part of the building – the famous ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, adorned with Michelangelo’s sumptuous frescoes.
Another treasure of the High Renaissance in Rome is the Raphael Rooms. These rooms too are covered in wonderful frescoes, painted by Raphael.
And, of course, there are countless other wonderful treasures to discover in the 54 galleries of the Vatican Museums. There are ancient busts and theatre masks, the incredible Gallery of Maps and several early Christian sarcophagi.
There are a couple of things to remember if you do choose to visit the Vatican Museums on your school trip to Rome. The first thing to say is that it is a part of a religious institution and so your group should be made aware that they should dress modestly. Visitors of both sexes should avoid low cut or sleeveless clothing, shorts, miniskirts and hats.
You should also note that the Sistine Chapel, although considered a work of important art is also a sacred place and so visitors are asked to observe absolute silence here. While photography for personal use is permitted elsewhere, in the Sistine Chapel it is strictly forbidden, as is use of mobile phones.