Apostolic Palace

  • Apostolic Palace
  • Palazzo Apostolico  (Italian)
Apostolic Palace 2014.jpg
Apostolic Palace is located in Vatican City
Apostolic Palace
Location on a map of Vatican City
Alternative names
  • Palace of Sixtus V
  • Palace of the Vatican
  • Papal Palace
General information
TypeOfficial residence
CountryVatican City
Coordinates41°54′13″N 012°27′23″E / 41°54′13″N 012°27′23″E / 41.90361; 12.4563930 April 1589[1]
OwnerThe Pope

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.[2]

The Portone di Bronzo at the Vatican Apostolic Palace entrance.

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.[3] The Scala Regia (Regal Staircase) can be viewed from one end and used to enter the Scala Regia.[3] The Cappella Paolina, however, remains 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.[4]

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.[5] In 1447, Pope Nicholas V razed the ancient fortified palace of Eugene III to erect a new building, the current Apostolic Palace.[6]

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.[7]

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[1] 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.

Construction of the Papal Palace (also known as the Apostolic Palace or Vatican Palace) at the Vatican in Vatican City, took place mainly between 1471 and 1605. Covering 162,000 square metres (1,743,753 square feet), it contains the Papal Apartments, offices of the Roman Catholic Church and Holy See, chapels, Vatican Library, museums and art galleries.[8]

Other Languages
беларуская: Апостальскі палац
català: Palau Vaticà
Esperanto: Vatikana Palaco
한국어: 사도궁
Bahasa Indonesia: Istana Apostolik
Nederlands: Apostolisch Paleis
Simple English: Apostolic Palace
slovenčina: Apoštolský palác
slovenščina: Apostolska palača
српски / srpski: Апостолска палата
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Apostolska palača
Tiếng Việt: Điện Tông Tòa
中文: 宗座宮