Vatican Gallery of maps

Vatican Gallery of Maps Ceiling & All about Map Room Vatican

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This stunning room is perhaps even more beautiful than the exhibits in it! Scratch that. Everything is stunning!

If you are in the Vatican Museums and on the way to the Sistine Chapel DO NOT treat the Gallery of Maps like a corridor! It is a whole experience in itself!

The Short History of the Gallery of maps in Vatican

The gallery is located within the Belvedere Courtyard. It is not only notable for its collection of maps but also the stunning ceiling, which dominates the room.

The maps were created by Ignazio Danti in the 16th century. He was instructed by Pope Gregory XIII to paint these exhibits to be displayed in the Vatican. The maps were painted as frescos onto the wall panels.

The hall of Maps Vatican is a great representation of the view of the Italian region in the 16th century, especially since Italy did not exist as a country at the time.

What is the meaning behind the Hall of Maps in the Vatican Museum?

Hall of maps in Vatican

The gallery of maps is more than a bunch of boring maps. They provide an amazing perspective of the Italian states.

Pope Gregory wanted to see “the boot” without having to travel, and it is interesting to see the land through the eyes of a 16th century artist.

During the painting, the 40 frescoes were laid out to be a view from Rome. As a result, you will notice that the names of towns to the south of Rome are actually upside down!

3 Stunning facts that surprise every visitors

  • if you stretched the maps out, they would cover the length of a football pitch
  • Italy didn’t actually exist at the time of the paintings
  • Until a $2.3million restoration of the Gallery in the 21st century, many visitors simply ignored this great hall, as they understood the maps to be too damaged to be of interest.

All the details about the Vatican Museum Gallery of Maps Ceiling

Vatican Gallery of maps ceiling

Of perhaps even more interest to many visitors will be the amazing ceiling within the gallery. It is simply jaw dropping! Famous artists – amongst them Cesare Nebbia and Girolamo Muziano – contributed their paintings.

Here, you can see some amazing scenes that depict the history of the Italian states. In fact, the view is said to be so spectacular that some mistake it as the Sistine Chapel!

The Restoration of Map room in Vatican Museum

Map room in museum

Standing for 500 years, the Hall of Maps began to take a bit of a beating.

In recent years, annual visitors to the Sistine Chapel – which is the goal of many walking through the Galleria Delle Carte Geografiche – reached 6 million. The constant movement within the hall over time began to erode the plaster on the walls.

In addition, many “touch ups” over the years were not doing the room justice. Over $2.3m USD – mainly made up of donations from art patrons worldwide – went towards the restoration.

Get Vatican Gallery of Maps Prints

Loving the sights in the Gallery of Maps?

Then why not pick yourself a print to remind you of your visit! If you have fallen in love with the hall and ceiling itself, pick one that is a view of the entire room, such as this one here.

Alternatively, get yourself a replica print of one of the maps like this beauty here. You could also get a Vatican Gallery of Maps book, so you can keep all the pictures close to your heart!

Vatican Gallery of Maps Booking Tickets

Hall maps Vatican

You will need a ticket (online here) to view the Gallery of Maps in the Vatican Museum. In addition, you need to visit the hall as part of the whole experience! We have an extensive guide on how to get your Vatican Museum tickets.

For the Hall of Maps and all the other great attractions, we would recommend a skip the line ticket, which is usually around €20.

Check out the full guide to visit Vatican Museums and get tickets.

The location of the Gallery of Maps in the Vatican Museum

The gallery is to be found on the western side of the Belvedere Courtyard. Check out this Vatican Museums floors plan below to get your bearings.

map room vatican

How to get there

The best way to get to the Vatican Gallery of Maps is to take Metro Line A and alight at either Lepanto or Ottaviano. We recommend Lepanto, as you will get the chance to walk through Cola di Rienzo shopping street on the way.


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Where is the Vatican Gallery of maps located?

The gallery is to be found on the western side of the Belvedere Courtyard. Check out this interactive map of the Vatican Museums to get your bearings.

Can I take a photograph in the Gallery of maps in the Vatican Museum?

You can take a photograph for sure, but bear in mind there are no flashes allowed, due to the age of the artworks. Do not forget the Vatican Gallery of Maps Ceiling too!

How long is the Vatican Hall of Maps?

The gallery is 120 metres long and features 40 panels of stunning frescos detailing the geography of Italy.

How can I take the Hall of Maps without any people on my picture?

That is a tricky one. Millions of people a year flood through the Gallery of Maps on their way to the Sistine Chapel. But we have a tip – book a ticket on this very exclusive tour to get into the Vatican Museums at 6am before the crowds!


The Gallery of Maps is one of my favourite things to see in the Vatican Museums! Even if geography never interested you it is amazing to see how they viewed the world. The accuracy of the maps is amazing considering they had no planes! Make a day of it and book a tour to the Vatican City. For further resources, check out our top attractions at the Vatican City here.

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