Other “secrets” of the Vatican

If you ask us to think of any place where we can find one of the most incredible collection of maps in the world, we would probably think of many museums around the world. However, to think of the Vatican as one of those places may not be among our first options. There’s nothing further from the truth. When art and cartography are combined, it can lead to works as impressive as the one in the Patio del Belvedere.

In 1580 Pope Gregory XIII putted the geographer Ignazio Danti in chargue of decorate part of the Vatican, and so it was. Three years later the Galleria delle carte geografiche was inaugurated. A series of 40 topographic maps of each of the regions of Italy, arranged from North to South or, which is the same, from the Lombardy area to the southern region of Calabria or Apulla. All this by completing the 120 meters of gallery that has as its culmination the arrival in the Sistine Chapel.

This tour, as recognized by the author, pursued the objective of simulating our journey through the mountain chain that links the Italian peninsula: The Apennines. In this way, on one side of the wall are the regions facing the Tyrrhenian and Ligurian Sea and, on the other, the ones facing the Adriatic Sea.

However, if at any time you intend to visit the works of art in the Vatican, I encourage you that, even if the Sistine Chapel produces a great emotion, remember that just before arriving, you can enjoy 40 cartographic works without comparison.


Italian Ways. (08/10/2018). Bellezza e nobiltà dell’Italia nella Galleria delle Carte Geografiche dei Musei Vaticani. Recovery in:

La Cartoteca. (30/12/2008). La Galería de Mapas del Vaticano. [Message Blog]. Recovery in:

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