You’ll never guess this spectacular way to visit the Vatican Museums

2 mins read
Vatican Museums
Tourists visit the Vatican Museums in Rome, Italy. Shutterstock

The Vatican Museums — which house some of the world’s most renowned art — are welcoming visitors in the evenings this summer.

The Vatican Museums by Night “has now become a custom strongly appreciated by those who wish to [experience a visit] immersed in the quiet and evocative nocturnal atmosphere,” the Vatican Museums told Our Sunday Visitor in a statement.

From April 14 until October 28, art lovers can stroll through the museums in the evenings on the weekend. The museums promise to keep their doors open Fridays and Saturdays until 10:30 p.m., with the last entry at 8:30 p.m. Beginning May 6, on Saturdays, the museums will close earlier at 8 p.m., with the last entry at 6 p.m.

Vatican Museums
People visit the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Museums in 2020. (CNS photo/Guglielmo Mangiapane, Reuters)

Located in Vatican City, the Vatican Museums house a vast collection of art gathered by the popes and the Catholic Church over the centuries. The museums conserve an estimated 70,000 works, including 20,000 on display, with world-famous treasures such as Michelanglo’s Sistine Chapel.

According to the Vatican Museums, their effort to extend hours into the evening on Friday and Saturday attracts two groups in particular: young people and families.

“In past editions, the data collected on public participation have shown that evening openings are a particularly welcome initiative for young people and families,” they said.

An on-going tradition

These summer evening openings have taken place for 12 years.

“The Vatican Museums by Night were born, in fact, from the desire to transform museum spaces for a few hours into places where you can be amazed, learn while having fun, listen to music, discover beauty away from the frenzy of daily commitments and activities,” the museums told Our Sunday Visitor.

Online, the museums’ website explains that a “rich musical and concert programme will accompany the cultural attractions, making the time spent in the Pope’s Museums even more memorable.”

“The Museums by Night appointment has by now become a custom that is greatly appreciated by all those pilgrims and tourists who wish to experience a more relaxed visit, immersed in the quiet and evocative atmosphere of the night,” the website reads. “All is enlivened by the inviting Happy Hour served in the enchanting setting of the Courtyard of the Pinecone” which is available on request while booking tickets online.

A program lists the dates for the evening concerts held on certain Fridays from April 14 until October 20. The 60-minute performances, included in the cost of the entry ticket, begin at 8 p.m.

Introducing the program

In a note introducing the program, the director of the Vatican Museums revealed her enthusiasm for the initiative.

“I am convinced that there is nothing more astonishing than to immerse oneself in the beauty of the Vatican collections illuminated by the moonlight behind the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica,” Barbara Jatta said in an email. “And the thrill is even greater as you move to the notes of the most famous melodies, among the courtyards and places that over the centuries have been traversed by pontiffs and history’s greatest artists.”

“It is a great remedy to the scorching heat of the Roman summer to stroll from the banks of the Nile to Ancient Greece, from Raphael’s delicate and perfect colors in the Stanze to Michelangelo’s mighty frescoes in the Sistine Chapel,” she said, referencing some of the museums’ masterpieces.

“A synergy of visual arts and music, the universality of creative languages in dialogue with each other,” Jatta described the experience on the website. “The doors open to the hearts and eyes of those who find themselves in the Eternal City, for an unforgettable experience.”

Katie Yoder is a contributing editor for Our Sunday Visitor.

Katie Yoder

Katie Yoder is a contributing editor for Our Sunday Visitor.