They display works from the immense collection built up by the Popes throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world.
The Vatican Museums trace their origin to one marble sculpture, purchased 500 years ago: the sculpture of Laocoon and his Sons was discovered 14 January 1506, in a vineyard near the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.
The pope put the sculpture of Laocoon and his sons on public display at the Vatican exactly one month after its discovery.
The Museums celebrated their 500th anniversary in October 2006 by permanently opening the excavations of a Vatican Hill necropolis to the public.
There are 54 galleries, or salas, in total, with the Sistine Chapel , notably, being the very last sala within the Museum.