With almost 6 million visitors per year, the complex of the Vatican museums in Rome affirms itself as the third most visited museum in the world after the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The most visited parts of the Vatican Museums are:
1) The Sistine Chapel, decorated with one of the most famous masterpieces of art in western civilisation by Michelangelo Buonarroti. The artist’s breath-taking frescos cover the vault (1508-1512) and the back wall (The Last Judgment) above the altar (1535-1541).
2) Raphael’s Rooms which used to be part of Pope Julius II’s private apartments, who commissioned Raphael with the making of the frescos. The painter worked at it from 1508 to 1520, the latter being the year of his death. Afterwards, his apprentices carried on with the work until 1524.
3) The Art Gallery that boasts over 460 paintings including worldwide famous masterpieces of artists like Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Pietro Perugino, and Caravaggio.
4) The Gallery of Maps, one of the most bright and fascinating environment of the Vatican Museums. The gallery is named after the topographic maps that Ignazio Danti painted on the walls for Pope Gregory XIII. Italy is represented as divided in two parts by the Apennines: on one side lie the regions lapped by the Ligurian and Tirrenian seas and on the other side lie those lapped by the Adriatic Sea.