EA Tours Blogs - 2014 and Prior

Museum Monday: Vatican Museums.

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Hello educational travelers!

Welcome back to EA Tours’ educational student tour blog where we cover the best of all things travel! From travel tips and photos to destination spotlights and educational tour highlights, we cover all the bases so you’re sure to find everything you’re looking for.

On Friday, I shared with you a photo I took while inside the Vatican Museums on one of our student tours. In case you missed it, be sure to check out that post here and then come back over here when you’re ready to learn more. For those who’ve already read that, you’ll remember that I mentioned a visit to the Vatican Museums is extremely popular with our student groups and teachers. With four miles of rooms and corridors containing the finest art from Western civilization and culminating with the awe-inspiring Sistine Chapel it’s easy to see why it’s so well-liked.

The Vatican Museums see more sightseers than any other Italian museum making it the number one museum to stop into for a visit. Located within the walls of Vatican City, the Vatican Museums collections have gradually grown larger since the Renaissance. Since Pope Julius II, the popes have throughout history contributed to the collection in spite of wars, thefts, and destruction. Within the walls, students and teachers will find the Pinacoteca, Pio-Clementino Museum, Stanze, and Sistine chapel among many other wonderful rooms.

The Pinacoteca, or Picture Gallery, was completed in 1931. Pius XI (1922-1939) requested it be built to house a collection of paintings that belonged to various popes starting with Pius VI (1775-1799). The paintings cover the period ranging from the Middle Ages to 1800. They are hung in chronological order so that visitors can follow the stylistic development of Italian painting. Students and educators will find classic pieces by Caravaggio, da-Vinci, Giotto, Lippi, and Perugino. The Collection of Modern and Contemporary Religious Art was Pope John Paul II’s donation. There are art galleries galore, so I encourage you to seek out your favorite painting and share it with your classmates and teacher.

Continuing on the educational tour, students and teachers will come across the Pio-Clementino Museum that was commissioned by Clement XIV (1769-1774) and Pius VI (1775-1799) for the most important Greek and Roman pieces in the Vatican collections. The pieces range from animals, statues, busts, muses, and much more!

Another highlight of the museums are the “Vatican Stanze” which are the apartments of Julius II (1503-1513) who did not want to live in the rooms inhabited by his predecessor Alexander VI so he moved to the floor above. Affectionately known as the Raphael Rooms, Julius II gave him complete authority to remove the previous frescoes. The name Raphael should ring a bell for students as he was a noteworthy Italian Renaissance painter and architect. The museums hold numerous works by him which are all simply incredible! I’ve highlighted a few museums but that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface!

There’s the Egyptian Museum, Chiaramonti Museum, Braccio Nuovo, Etruscan Museum, Chariot Room, Candelabra Gallery, Pius V’s Apartments, Sobieski Room, Raphael’s Loggia, Borgia Apartments, the famed Sistine Chapel (more on that in a future blog post), Apostolic Library, Christian Museum, Gregorian Museum, Museum of Ethnology, and the Carriage Museum.


But wait, there’s more…

My two favorite galleries are the Tapestry Gallery and Gallery of Maps. Starting with the tapestries, they are some of the most detailed and beautiful tapestries in the world! The Flemish tapestries were woven in Brussels from drawings by Raphael’s followers. They first hung in the Sistine Chapel in 1531, but were later moved to the present gallery in 1838. The splendid Gallery of Maps is frescoed with forty maps showing lands belonging to the Catholic Church and Italy’s most important cities. Painted between 1580 and 1585 under the supervision of famed geographer, Ignazio Santi, the maps are the world’s largest pictorial study in geography. They represent topographical and historical maps of Italy through the centuries. Truly fascinating!

There are so many reasons I could give you on why you should visit the Vatican Museums on your educational tour but we could be here a good part of the day. Just trust me when I say you should not miss this magnificent complex! Whether you’re a history, art, or language student, the Vatican Museums have something for everybody. You’ll learn a wealth of information that you can digest as you enter the quiet of St. Peter’s Basilica and reflect on what you just saw.

Until next time,