Apostolic Palace

Vatican, Vatican City State

The Apostolic Palace is the official residence of the Pope. The building contains the Papal Apartments, various offices of the Catholic Church and the Holy See, private and public chapels, Vatican Museums, and the Vatican Library, including the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, and Borgia Apartment. The modern tourist can see these last and other parts of the palace, but other parts, such as the Sala Regia and Cappella Paolina, are closed to tourists.

In the fifth century, Pope Symmachus built a papal palace close to the Old St. Peter's Basilica which served an alternative residence to the Lateran Palace. The construction of a second fortified palace was sponsored by Pope Eugene III and extensively modified under Pope Innocent III in the twelfth century.

Upon returning to Rome in 1377 after the interlude of the Avignon Papacy, which saw Rome subject to civil unrest and the abandonment of several Christian monuments, the popes chose to reside first at Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere and then at Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. The Vatican Palace had fallen into disrepair from lack of upkeep and the Lateran Palace underwent two destructive fires, in 1307 and 1361, which did irreparable harm. In 1447, Pope Nicholas V razed the ancient fortified palace of Eugene III to erect a new building, the current Apostolic Palace.

In the 15th century, the Palace was placed under the authority of a prefect. This position of Apostolic Prefect lasted from the 15th century till the 1800s, when the Papal States fell into economic difficulties. In 1884, when this post was reviewed in light of saving money, Pope Leo XIII created a committee to administer the palace.

Construction of the Papal Palace at the Vatican in Vatican City, took place mainly between 1471 and 1605. The major additions and decorations of the palace are the work of the following popes for 150 years. Construction of the current version of the palace began on 30 April 1589 under Pope Sixtus V and its various intrinsic parts were completed by later successors, Pope Urban VII, Pope Innocent XI and Pope Clement VIII. In the 20th century, Pope Pius XI built a monumental art gallery and museum entrance.

Sistine Chapel

Perhaps the best known of the Palace chapels is the Sistine Chapel named in honor of Sixtus IV. It is famous for its decoration that was frescoed throughout by Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and others.

One of the primary functions of the chapel is as a venue for the election of each successive Pope in a conclave of the College of Cardinals. In this closed-door election, the cardinals choose a successor to the first pope, St. Peter, who has traditionally set up residence within the Apostolic Palace.

Raphael Rooms

This suite of rooms is famous for its frescos by a large team of artists working under Raphael. They were originally intended as a suite of apartments for Pope Julius II. He commissioned Raphael, then a relatively young artist from Urbino, and his studio in 1508 or 1509 to redecorate the existing interiors of the rooms entirely. It was possibly Julius' intent to outshine the apartments of his predecessor (and rival) Pope Alexander VI, as the Stanze are directly above Alexander's Borgia Apartments. They are on the third floor, overlooking the south side of the Belvedere Courtyard.

Borgia Apartments

The Borgia Apartments is a suite of rooms in the Palace adapted for personal use by Pope Alexander VI (Rodrígo de Borgia). He commissioned the Italian painter Pinturicchio to lavishly decorate the apartments with frescoes.

The paintings and frescoes, which were executed between 1492 and 1494, drew on a complex iconographic program that used themes from medieval encyclopedias, adding an eschatological layer of meaning and celebrating the supposedly divine origins of the Borgias.

Clementine Hall

The Clementine Hall was established in the 16th century by Pope Clement VIII in honor of Pope Clement I, the third pope. Like other chapels and apartments in the Palace, the hall is notable for its large collection of frescos and other art.

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Details

Founded: 1471-1605
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Vatican City State

More Information

vatican.com
en.wikipedia.org

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

S.H.A. (11 months ago)
I recently took a trip to Rome and I can honestly say it was one of the most amazing holidays I have ever been on! Rome is a city full of history, culture, and beauty. During my time there, I visited all the incredible landmarks, including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Vatican. Every moment was filled with wonder as I marveled at the architecture, art, and ancient history that surrounds you everywhere in the city. The food in Rome was absolutely delicious, from traditional Italian pasta dishes to mouth-watering pizza, along with a vast array of seafood options. The gelato was also a highlight for me, with so many flavors and combinations to choose from. The people of Rome were welcoming and friendly, always happy to offer advice and recommendations, making the trip even more enjoyable. Overall, my trip to Rome was an unforgettable experience that I'll cherish forever. I highly recommend this city to anyone looking for an adventure filled with history, food, and culture.
Ghasem Aloostany (11 months ago)
The Apostolic Palace (Latin: Palatium Apostolicum; Italian: Palazzo Apostolico) is the official residence of the pope, the head of the Catholic Church, located in Vatican City. It is also known as the Papal Palace, the Palace of the Vatican and the Vatican Palace. The Vatican itself refers to the building as the Palace of Sixtus V, in honor of Pope Sixtus V, who built most of the present form of the palace. The building contains the papal apartments, various offices of the Catholic Church and the Holy See, private and public chapels, Vatican Museums, and the Vatican Library, including the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, and Borgia Apartment. The modern tourist can see these last and other parts of the palace, but other parts, such as the Sala Regia (Regal Room) and Cappella Paolina, had long been closed to tourists, though the Sala Regia allowed occasional tourism by 2019. The Scala Regia (Regal Staircase) can be viewed from one end and used to enter the Sala Regia. The Cappella Paolina remains closed to tourists.
S.H.A. (12 months ago)
I recently took a trip to Rome and I can honestly say it was one of the most amazing holidays I have ever been on! Rome is a city full of history, culture, and beauty. During my time there, I visited all the incredible landmarks, including the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Vatican. Every moment was filled with wonder as I marveled at the architecture, art, and ancient history that surrounds you everywhere in the city. The food in Rome was absolutely delicious, from traditional Italian pasta dishes to mouth-watering pizza, along with a vast array of seafood options. The gelato was also a highlight for me, with so many flavors and combinations to choose from. The people of Rome were welcoming and friendly, always happy to offer advice and recommendations, making the trip even more enjoyable. Overall, my trip to Rome was an unforgettable experience that I'll cherish forever. I highly recommend this city to anyone looking for an adventure filled with history, food, and culture.
Vishesh Saxena (13 months ago)
Always wanted to visit the square and St Peter's basilica. The square is beautiful. You' ll get tiredof taking pictures but not run outof spots.
S. Mango (13 months ago)
39. It is most difficult, even for the very keenest theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the abundance of pardons and [the need of] true contrition. 40. True contrition seeks and loves penalties, but liberal pardons only relax penalties and cause them to be hated, or at least, furnish an occasion [for hating them]. 41. Apostolic pardons are to be preached with caution, lest the people may falsely think them preferable to other good works of love. 42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way to works of mercy. 43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons; 44. Because love grows by works of love, and man becomes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, only more free from penalty. 45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God. 46. Christians are to be taught that unless they have more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is necessary for their own families, and by no means to squander it on pardons. 47. Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment. 48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout prayer for him more than the money they bring. 49. Christians are to be taught that the pope's pardons are useful, if they do not put their trust in them; but altogether harmful, if through them they lose their fear of God
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