Vatican Museum Online – Virtual Travel to The Best Museum In The World

Vatican Museum ceiling

We can’t travel yet, but we can take many fascinating virtual tours from home. Even if you don’t generally like museums, you will find the art in the Vatican Museum impressive. A free virtual tour of the Vatican Museum, one of the most enchanting and best museums in the world, will give you hours of entertainment and cultural enlightenment. Experience our favorite museum in the world from the comfort of your own home with a Vatican Museum online tour.  

Travelers love to visit museums when traveling. They show you a slice of history and life. Even though we can’t travel at the moment, virtual travel to museums has put fun, adventure, and exploration back into many traveler’s lives.

In the last year, we became somewhat obsessed with finding the best virtual museum experience. This post was initially about our ten favorite virtual museums we have visited this past year. However, you will need to wait for that post as, without a doubt, our favorite is the Vatican Museum online tour. 

Forget the queues, the security checks, the clothing and bag restrictions, the food and drink prohibitions, and make yourself at home with a Vatican Museum online tour.

Vatican Museum art

Visiting the Vatican Museum

The Vatican Museum is home to art and archaeological pieces collected by popes over the centuries. Throughout the years, popes chose rooms as their official residence and commissioned artists to decorate their apartments with frescoes and decorations. The original ones are the Niccoline Chapel and the Borgia Apartment in the Apostolic Palace. The Sistine Chapel, also in the Apostolic Palace, is one of the world’s most famous chapels.

We visited the Vatican Museum a few years ago. Some installations throughout the museum were hard to see as there was a crowd of twenty people blocking our view. Besides the masses, the intense heat and the drone of people talking dulled the incredible experience. 

Some museum areas have limited air-conditioning to protect the art, so it gets sweltering in the summer months. The height of Summer in Italy was not a good time to visit the world-famous museum. 

We rushed through many of the rooms as we tried to avoid the crowds and heat. There was magic on the walls, the floors, and the ceilings. We loved the Vatican museum collection, but we felt like we missed out on a lot of the art in the Vatican. 

Vatican Museum

Visiting the Vatican Museum Online

Flash forward 2020, and we discover the Vatican Museum online! Wow, we could not believe that the Vatican Museum had a virtual museum experience, and we could see the art in the Vatican online. 

We put on our favorite music and mirrored the phone to the TV. With wine in one hand and cheese and crackers in the other, we perused some of the most famous artworks in history – Dali, Van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, etc. 

The best thing about the virtual travel experience of the Vatican Museum online is there are no crowds and no noise.

Besides loving the lack of crowds and the better atmosphere, we saw the architecture’s grandeur coming to life. We had a remarkable view of the art and the Vatican Museum collection. The zoom function lets you zoom right into art in the Vatican, unlike when you are there. You can inspect every detail on an artwork without interruption and at your leisure. 

You can see almost everything you would see if you traveled there in person. We saw more in one hour touring the Vatican Museum online than we did in four hours when we were there.

The website offers Italian, English, Spanish, German, and French.

Now, I don’t blame you if you go ahead right now and begin your own virtual travel adventure of the Vatican Museum. However, read on for our highlights, favorite installations, and art in the Vatican you should not miss.

Visiting the Vatican Museum VaticanCity
Braving the heat and crowds at the Vatican Museum, 2016.

Love virtual tours? Read our post 73 In-home Staycation Ideas During Lockdown to find out which other virtual tours we recommend.

Favorite Vatican Tours Online

Over a dozen 360-degree tours are available of the rooms, wings, halls, chapels, galleries, and museums within the Vatican Museum, including the Sistine Chapel.

The Sistine Chapel is our favorite. We longed to see it for many years, and it was the sole reason we traveled to the Vatican. It didn’t disappoint in person, but we love the virtual tour so much more. Without the crowds, you can zoom in and inspect the whole ceiling. To us, it’s all about the phenomenal ceilings. The beautifully adorned ceilings are our highlight of all the art in the Vatican.

Another heavily adorned room painted and carved from ceiling to floor is the Room of the Chiaroscuri. We drool over this stunning room.

Okay, all the rooms are beautifully ornamented, including other favorites, the Alexandrine Hall, Salone Sistino, and Raphael’s Rooms. The artwork in Raphael’s Rooms is some of the most exquisite art in the world.

Discover the Masterpieces

Also, when visiting the Vatican online, make sure to visit the Discover the Masterpieces page. Masterpieces from the various collections and rooms have detailed information on their history and meaning. 

There are impressive statues such as the colossal statue of the Nile, Heracles with infant Telephos and the Statue of Osiris-Antinous. 

Then there is famous oil on canvas paintings Vincent van Gogh’s Pietà, James Ensor’s Procession des pénitents de Furnes, Caravaggio’s Deposition, and Salvador Dalì’s L’Annuncio.

Salvador Dalì's L'Annuncio
Salvador Dalì’s L’Annuncio.

Do Not Miss!

Besides the easy-to-find virtual tours on the first page, there are tours throughout the website. The navigation is not easy to find them all, so make sure not to miss out on the Necropolis of the Via Triumphalis. You would not get a better walk-through if you were there, having to stay behind the barriers!

Additionally, if you want to delve further into the Vatican museum collection, make sure to visit the Discover the Museums section. Information on the collections and their creation’s history includes considerable detail on each of the collections’ rooms.

Enjoy the spectacular journey of history, faith, and art in the Vatican Museum online.

Online Navigation Tips for Visiting the Vatican Online

With the left and right arrows, you can navigate around the room and into other rooms. There are up and down arrows that enable you to get a good look at the ceiling. You can also alter the angle to inspect artworks from different angles.

Also, there is a zoom feature (+, -) for zooming into the Vatican Museum collections. This feature is our favorite, as it allows you to zoom in and view the intricate details of an artwork. 

The double arrow at the end of the navigation panel takes you to the next room or feature within each room.

Vatican Museum store


And like all good travel experiences, there is shopping. The online store offers unique gift selections – books & DVDs about the Vatican Museum collection, posters, home decor, mugs, and religious articles.

We love the posters and Michelangelo’s motivational quotes on books, mugs, and clothing. They ship worldwide and make a unique gift for that someone who seems to have everything.


Additionally, check out the Vatican Museum’s YouTube, where you can view videos of the Vatican Gardens, documentaries, and tours of specific rooms.

If that is not enough, there is also an online catalog and photo library. Though if you are that dedicated to history and art, you probably already know this! If not, you’re welcome.

Enjoy your Vatican Museum Online tour!

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11 Replies to “Vatican Museum Online – Virtual Travel to The Best Museum In The World”

  1. This is one of our favourite museums in the world, Oli. Great post. I think Ellie’s posted a pic about it recently for some reason (possibly creation of Vatican as independent state anniversary or sth?). Your post contains a lot of very useful information and Ellie & I will definitely check this tour out.

  2. You know you might have hit the nail on the head here about the Vatican Museum. It’s so hard to visit and so overwhelming. Too many people as well and I went in January. I’ll be heading over to check out the online tour now. Sounds brill.

  3. Fantastic! I feel like I could visit the Vatican every time I am in Rome, if not for all the crowds! A perfect way to keep re-visiting, without the other tourists and in a socially distant fashion 🙂

  4. I visited the Vatican City years ago on a hot hot day. Like when you went, it was crowded and I couldn’t see as much as I wanted. The Sistine Chapel is a masterpiece though. Think I may have to take a look at this with our daughters.

  5. Very cool Oli! Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I just spend some time in the Sistine Chapel for the first time in 25 years 🙂

  6. Might have to pay the vatican a “visit” one evening this week. It’ll be a good substitute until I can see it in person 🙂

  7. Loved reading about this. I had no idea it was so good. I was brought up in the Catholic faith so have always wanted to visit Rome and Vatican City. I feel a wine and cheese afternoon coming on very soon 🙂

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