Although the Vatican is the smallest country, by both area and population, what it lacks in scale it certainly makes up for in unbridled opulence. Indeed, nothing exposes that opulence more than the exquisite works of art on display at the Vatican Museum. The elegant, bright sheen of ancient sculpted marble still gleans, sumptuous frescoes dazzle the senses from all sides, while the post modern works refresh and remind us of a changing world. As you meander the Vatican halls, you are literally walking the hallways of the progression of modern civilization.
The Vatican Museum sees six million visitors per year and is the fourth most visited art museum in the world. Its collection is exceptional, housing over 70,000 works of art, of which, 20,000 are on display for the public. Entering the Vatican Museum, you are mesmerized by both its beauty and power. With a range of art and artifacts from ancient Egypt (including an actual mummy) to pieces from modern artists such as Salvadore Dali, I was captivated not simply from the art, but in the mind-blowing scope and history behind these pieces.
I recommend taking your time in the museums. Wonder and wander. There is so much to see, stroll at your leisure and focus on what interests you. Part of the experience is simply being inside and awestruck.
My Top Five “Must-See”
- Laocoon and His Sons
- Gallery of Tapestries
- Bramante Staircase
- Raphael’s School of Athens
- Egyptian Museum
Visiting the Vatican is a pilgrimage that should not just be reserved for Catholics. It is a journey through civilization itself and is a trip anyone who with a remote interest in history, art or the progression of the modern human should take.