Masterpieces of the Vatican Museums Virtual Tour: Sculptures of the Pio-Clementino Gallery

Discover the ancient masterpieces of the Vatican Museums on our virtual tour

Masterpieces of the Vatican Museums Virtual Tour: Sculptures of the Pio-Clementino Gallery

duration 1.5 hours

Tour Overview

Join art historian Guia on a virtual stroll through the Vatican Museums' Pio-Clementino collection, and discover the extraordinary ancient sculptures that have shaped the story of art. Learn how the popes amassed one of the world’s greatest collections of classical art over the last 500 years as we wander through magnificent halls and courtyards lined with ancient sculptures and mosaics, portrait busts, sarcophagi and more. At the heart of our virtual tour will be the beautiful Octagonal Courtyard, Pope Julius II’s stunning Renaissance sculpture garden. Gaze on the terrible drama of the Laocoon, where a Trojan priest battles against divinely-sent sea snakes; learn why the Apollo Belvedere was considered to be the height of bodily perfection in antiquity, and how Michelangelo believed the fragmentary Belvedere Torso to be marble perfection. Thanks to high quality photos and Guia's spellbinding narration, our virtual tour will bring the masterpieces of the Vatican vividly to life. Join Guia today!

If the day of the week or start time of this group tour doesn't work for you, please email us at to arrange a suitable alternative date.

Tour includes:

  • Live broadcast from Rome with art historian Guia
  • In-depth exploration of the Vatican's Pio-Clementino Museum
  • High-resolution photos and a wealth of rare details brings the story of the Vatican collections vividly to life
  • Have your questions answered in interactive Q and A


  • The Octagonal Courtyard
  • The Laocoon
  • The Belvedere Torso
  • The Apollo Belvedere
  • The Hall of Muses

Tour Description

Meet your Guide: Guia

 Hi, I’m Guia! A native of Bologna in northern Italy, my love of art history led me to move to Rome way back in 1993, and I’ve been here ever since. I have a B.A. in History and Preservation of Cultural Heritage and a Master’s in Art History from ROMA3 University, where my studies focused on the development of public museums. I soon realised that my passion lay in sharing my enthusiasm for Rome’s extraordinary cultural heritage with visitors to the city, and became a licensed tour guide in 2010. Since 2015 I’ve been working with Through Eternity, and I love nothing more than spending my days guiding, teaching and learning in the Vatican Museums!

What Exactly is a Through Eternity Virtual Tour?  

The world of travel might be on hold right now, but just because we're all staying at home to help the world overcome a common enemy doesn't mean we have to put our wanderlust on the back burner. Frustrated with not being able to get our travel fix, we decided to transform our award-winning tours into immersive virtual experiences, meaning you can still explore Italy’s spectacular archaeological sites and jaw-dropping museums from the comfort of your own home.  

* Please note that the booking times are in US Eastern Standard Time and Rome, Italy CET is 6 hours ahead *

Fun and informative, our virtual tours take the form of online real-time presentations led by our expert guides. Combining videos, high-definition photos and more, our guides will be sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience with you on these interactive walkthroughs of Italy’s most fascinating sites. The live format of our virtual tours means you’ll be able to ask your guide anything you wish, just like on a normal tour. We really believe it's the next best thing to being here!

As a sign of our gratitude to those who are on the front line fighting the Coronavirus, we would be more than happy to invite all first responders, health workers and NHS workers to join our Virtual Tours for free. Please message our office staff directly!

Please note that the proceeds from our online tours go directly to our guides, providing them with a valuable lifeline in these tough times for the world of travel. Thank you for your support! 

Discover the Vatican’s incredible sculpture collection

The Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms might be the jewels in the Vatican crown, but there is far more to this treasure-trove than just Renaissance art. Many popes from the 16th-century onwards have been assiduous collectors of classical sculptures, and the ancient marbles that line the halls and fill the courtyards of the Vatican palace had a massive influence on Renaissance ideals of harmony and proportion. Learn the story of the fabulous collection with Guia.

Gaze on some of the ancient world’s most famous artworks in the Octagonal Courtyard 

The virtual highlight of our tour will be the so-called Octagonal Courtyard, a beautiful sculpture-garden founded by Pope Julius II in the first decade of the 1500s. When the idea of creating a museum in the Vatican first surfaced in the late 1700s, this was its centrepiece. Despite many changes made to the collection over the centuries, the major highlights of the Pio-Clementino museum remain in the same places they occupied in the courtyard when Julius installed them here 500 years ago.

The Laocoon, an incredibly dramatic Hellenistic sculpture depicting a battle between a Trojan priest and his sons against divinely sent sea-snakes during the Greek-Trojan war, is a masterpiece of psychological intensity that has amazed viewers ever since it was discovered in a vineyard at the start of the 16th-century. Here too is the Apollo Belvedere, considered to be the apogee of classical ideals of bodily perfection during the Renaissance and after. The melancholic Belvedere Hermes meanwhile might be a portrait of the emperor Hadrian’s youthful muse Antinous.

Take a virtual stroll through spectacular sculpture-lined halls

On our virtual tour we’ll also learn about the Belvedere Torso, a fragmentary seated male body whose amazing musculature and twisting form had a profound impact on the art of Michelangelo. According to legend Pope Julius asked Michelangelo to restore the blasted torso, but the sculptor declined, arguing that it was perfect as it was. 

Unmissable too is the Round Hall, constructed in the 18th-century by Michelangelo Simonetti with a hemispherical vault imitating the ceiling of the Pantheon in spectacular miniature. Dominating the hall is a massive Roman basin of precious red porphyry that probably originally came from an ancient bath (perhaps even Nero’s Golden House), and a giant bronze statue of a young Hercules draped in a lion’s skin and leaning on a club. The sculpture had been struck by lightning and ritually buried in the antique period following Roman custom, and was only rediscovered in 1864. 


Tour Reviews

4.9 (7 reviews)

What a warm up to an "in person" visit to the museum! When we visit museums, (in person or virtually) we are so busy looking at the art that we may forget about the centuries of history that have led to an exceptional collection. In this tour, Guia provided a detailed review of the Vatican Museums' Pio-Clementino collection, how it came to be, as well as detailed information about the stunning sculptures that are here today. It was incredible to hear details about some of the most magnificent sculptures I've ever seen, including Laocoon, and to hear from Guia about the myths and stories that led these gifted artists to create such masterpieces. To think that we are gazing at art that was created two thousand years ago - boggles the mind! As this museum will be a "must see" when we are lucky enough to get back to Italy - I highly recommend this great tour now - so you can be dreaming about what you will soon see for yourself.

Susan - Nov 14, 2020

I had no idea such wonderful artwork was there. You do a regular tour and you see very little, you get rushed through with thousands of other people and you miss so much! But Guia described so many interesting pieces. Plus she gave the history and the story behind them and the story of the gallery itself, both of which were fascinating. I highly recommend this tour.

John - Aug 29, 2020

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