HomeGreetings from the Director

Dear Visitors, firstly, a cordial welcome from the Director of the Vatican Museums. Second, you are entering into one of the most important sites for the history of human civilization. Here, in the Museums of the Popes of Rome, built-up and enriched over five centuries, you will resonate with the rich buzzing of great history and, almost, the breath of the Sacred. On entering into the Vatican Museums you will be immersed in the glory of Art and of Culture put in the service of Faith.
The greatest artists of all time will welcome you: Raphael in the Stanze, Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, Giotto, Leonardo, and Caravaggio in the Pinacoteca, van Gogh, Matisse and Moore in the area dedicated to Contemporary Art. You will encounter, through the Laocoön Group and the Apollo Belvedere, the greatest masterpieces of Classical Antiquity. You will encounter centuries and millennia as you enter the Etruscan and Egyptian Museums, along with non-European civilizations in the Ethnological Museum.

You will need time, a lot of time, to see everything, to understand and to recall. I hope that each time you return to visit the historical collections of the Pope will prove to be an unforgettable time of precious enrichment. While walking through the Vatican Museums the visitor will, even on the occasion of the first visit within the first hour, grasp their multiple, multifaced, iridescent and at the same time universal character.
If on leaving the Museums, which stand under the shadow of the dome of Saint Peter's, you have captured the historical interest, respect and regard that the Church of Rome has for Art of all times and in all its form, and for all that has been created by the hands of "homo faber", the sole figure that bears comparison with God the Creator, then the visit will be not have been in vain. You will have understood the essential: the Vatican Museums are namely the site in which the Catholic Church finds its identity. With their plural and universal character, they represent history and reveal destiny.
Therefore, dear guests, let me welcome you to a formative and unforgettable visit. I wish you a journey through the Vatican Museums that will be at the same time intellectual and spiritual, along the road Benedict XVI calls "via pulchritudinis", the Way of Beauty.

  • Biography
  • Official Nominations

Antonio Paolucci was born in Rimini in 1939 and studied history of art under Roberto Longhi. He is considered a specialist in the Italian Renaissance and he has written museum and exhibition catalogues, essays and monographic works on Piero della Francesca, Luca Signorelli, Antoniazzo Romano, Michelangelo, Filippo Lippi, Bronzino, Cellini and many others. He held the office of Director of the restoration laboratory of the Opificio delle Pietre Dure (Workshop of Semi-precious Stones and Laboratories of Restoration), Superintendent of the Department for the Preservation of the Historical Heritage of Venice, Verona and Mantua, Director of the Ufiizi Gallery, and for almost twenty years he was the Superintendent of the Polo Museale Fiorentino and Director General for Cultural Heritage in Tuscany. He is a Member of the Academy of the Lincei and a Member of the Superior Council for Cultural and Landscape Heritage of the Ministry for the Heritage and Cultural Activities of the Italian Republic. He taught at the University of Florence (Department of Literature and Philosophy and Institute for Art History) as well as at the University of Siena. Between 1995 and 1996 he was Italian Minister for Culture. Following the Umbria-Marche earthquake in 1997 he was appointed Special Commissioner by the Government to oversee the Restoration of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

In December 2007 he was nominated Director of the Vatican Museums by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

Among key offices held by Professor Paolucci are the posts of President of the Scientific Committee of the Equerries of the Quirinale Palace and of President of the Standing Committee for the Conservation of Historical and Artistic Monuments of the Holy See.

Official Nominations/Scientific Committees

  • Lincean Academician.
  • Academic Member of the Art and Design Academy of Florence.
  • Academician of San Luca.

  • Consultant for the Artistic Heritage of the Quirinale.
  • President of the Scientific Committee of the Equerries of the Quirinale Palace.
  • President of the Scientific Committee of the Museums of San Domenico in Forlì.
  • President of the Scientific Committee of the Civita Association.
  • President of the Scientific Committee for the Institutional Exhibition Dalle Italie alla Italia, Venaria Reale, Torino, on the occasion of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the Unity of Italy.
  • Scientific Committee Member of the Florence Art and Restoration Fair.