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Vatican Museums: My Favorites

 Meeting Point of Around Rome Tours for Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

Meeting Point of Around Rome Tours for Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

Our tour to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel started with a bad mood. I booked and paid the tour in advance through the ‘Around Rome Tours’ website. However, on the designated place and time to meet, no one from the Around Rome Tours showed up. It was only my mother and me who were waiting (we arrived 30 minutes before the scheduled meeting time). I called their office but no one was answering the phone so we decided to visit their office in Rome. As we arrived, the management apologized and told us their guide was sick. We accepted their offer to join a similar tour from another travel agent.

We spent half a day arranging something that should not have happened at the first place. I had the feeling that we were the only customers on that morning’s tour so we were being “ignored”. I did not plan to write a negative review about ‘Around Rome Tours’ on my blog but my one star review did not show up in their website (based on my latest check 15 May 2015). I guess negative reviews will never appear on their website, but of course I can tell the world about this experience instead. Just be aware when booking their tour online.

Anyway, we lost half a day but we had a good tour in the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel from the other travel agent. The Vatican Museums are huge; it contains 54 art galleries. We did not visit all the galleries and I don’t think we could, even if we spent a whole day inside the museum. From the visit, I concluded three areas in the Vatican Museums are my favorites:

Sala Rotonda (Round Room)

It is a large hall in Pius Clementine Museum. The Round Room was built in 18th century. Michelangelo Simonetti designed the dome of the room inspired from the Pantheon’s dome.

I found the dome to be impressive and perfectly paired to the red colored circle room with colossal statues. A large monolithic porphyry basin was located in the center of the room. It was believed it was used by the ancient Roman’s Emperor Nero.

Room of the Segnatura

The room of the Segnatura was one of the Raphael Rooms. Raphael’s painting “The School of Athens” is displayed in the room and is impressive. It was painted between 1509 and 1511 during the Renaissance era. I just thought the whole concept of the painting was intriguing. I will return later on and share on Raphael Rooms in future post.

Momo Staircase

One of the reasons to visit the Vatican Museums was to see this impressive staircase myself. This staircase was in my bucket list of photography subjects to capture. The staircase was designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932. This iconic staircase, as mentioned by numerous articles,  has two separate helix, one leading up and the other leading down. They twist together in a double helix formation. The helix formation actually represents life, after the discovery of the double helix DNA in 1950-ish. Coincidence?

Have you been to Vatican Museums? Which areas do you like best?

Camera lenses for images in this post:

Fisheye Lens 8 mm ƒ/3.5 more on my photography gear, please visit: indahs photography gear

My Travel Monkey


  1. i love the look of those stairs. i personally had no idea the existence of a vatican museum, let alone it has 54 galleries! something to consider if i ever find myself in rome.

  2. Sorry you had a bad start to your tour – I think that we booked on the spot and the Guide was very helpful pointing out people likely to pickpocket. This is so amazing I feel that I need to go back and the stairs are to die for!!!! Great photos

  3. What a bummer that things started out so poorly. So so frustrating! It’s hard to get past that and enjoy something, but wow, those photos show such a spectacular place! It must have been amazing.

  4. I have just mental noted and added the Momo staircase in my bucketlist too! It reminds me of the nautilus shell which is a perfect shape. Amazing photos and sounds like an amazing trip. I also noted not to do a trip with that travel agency and thanks for letting us readers know. #MondayEscapes

    • Thank you Merlinda! The museums are amazing, I am sure you will enjoy it once you are there – but, be prepared physically, it was quite tiring walk 😀

  5. Oh I would have been pretty miffed too, if that had happened. Thank goodness it was eventually sorted in the end, but bad service all round. I never went to the Vatican museums as there just wasn’t time – so thank you for sharing your wondeful photos on #MondayEscapes

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