Friday, April 19, 2024

Make the most of your trip to the Vatican

If you are in Rome, then a tour around the Vatican is an absolute must. The city is small both by size and has a population of approximately 1000 people including the Pope himself. The city is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and its government.

The Vatican City holds beautiful domes, walls made of stone, beautiful gardens, historical buildings, and monuments. By booking the Vatican city tickets you can visit all the amazing attractions of this city.

Since the city is relatively small it will take a whole day to explore the top attractions. But if you want to relax and take the tour then it will be better to keep a couple of days in hand.

History of the Vatican City

The history of the Vatican began as the seat of the Catholic Church started to build a basilica over the grave of St. Peters back in the 4th century A.D. The space became well known as it was used as a pilgrimage site. But unfortunately, due to the movement of the Papal Court to France in 1309, the site was abandoned.

Then in 1377 when the church returned The famous landmarks known as the Sistine Chapel, Apostolic Palace, and St. Peters Basilica were built within the city. Right then the establishment of Vatican City began as a sovereign nation in its current form.

Many changes to the city occurred in 1503 right after Julius II became the Pope. Michelangelo was ordered by Julius to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in 1508. The museums of the Vatican started from the collection of sculptures of Julius II. The first gallery was opened by Pope Clement XIV back in 1773 for public viewing. 

Pre-book your Vatican City Tour online so you don’t miss out on seeing this amazing destination.

Top attractions in Vatican City

Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel

The Vatican Museum was built by Pope Julius II in the sixteenth century. The museums welcome more than an astonishing 6 million tourists every year. In fact, to enter the Sistine Chapel you have to go through the museums.

Some of the museums are:

  •  Pio- Clementino Museum: Done by Pope Clement XIV and Pope Pius VI. Displays the most important works done by Greeks in the Vatican
  • Gallery of the Chandeliers: Here you can find the collection of chandeliers from the second century A.D.
  • Gallery of Maps: The walls of the gallery have been decorated with paintings of maps in fresco.  This was done between 1580 and 1585. The maps show the Italian regions and churches.
  • Egyptian Museum: which consists of Egyptian sculptures and the famous sarcophagi. There are also replicas of Egyptian models which originate from the Villa Adriana.
  • Borgia Apartment: The apartments used to belong to Pope Alexander VI. Currently, they are used as exhibition rooms to keep the collection of Modern Religious Art.

The Sistine Chapel is a must-see if you visit Vatican City. The building since it is the temple where popes are selected and crowned.  It was constructed by Giovanni of Dolci between 1473 and 1481.

The main attraction is the design as there are endless frescoes that cover the ceilings and walls entirely. In fact, all the frescoes which cover the ceiling of the chapel were done by the artist Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. The image of the creation of Adam is situated in the middle of the vault. This represents the story from Genesis in which Adam is given life by God.

Vatican Gardens

The Vatican gardens bus tour takes you to the Vatican Hills, bearing up around 44.5 acres of land. They are an absolute beauty to admire, which can be done within a couple of hours.

There are a series of gardens which include: Italian, English, and French gardens. Along with the rock garden and Marian grottoes. You can also find a number of medieval monuments, landscapes of forests, sculptures, and floral extensions.

From the garden, you will get the perfect view of St. Peter’s dome from more or less every angle. 

Piazza San Pietro 

Also known as St Peter’s square is situated just outside St Peter’s Basilica.  Bernini and Pope Alexander built the world’s largest square between 1656 and 1667. The square was named after Saint Peter who was the first Catholic Pope and an apostle of Jesus.

 The dimensions of the square are 240 meters in width and 320 meters in length. It could hold up to 300000 people at a time.

At the center stands the obelisk which is a staggering 41 meters in height. Basically, the obelisk was built for the city’s perfect name Cornelius Gallus. There are also two fountains and 140 statues which you can see when visiting the square.

Vatican library

The Vatican library is known to be one of the biggest in the world. The library has around one million books and manuscripts combined together.  Vatican library is well known for holding the most ancient Bible manuscript, ‘Codex Vaticanus.’ Around 20,000 works of art and 3000,000 historical coins can be found inside the premises.

The library is currently located inside the Belvedere yard which is in the northern area of the Vatican mansion. It is beautifully decorated with frescoes, especially on the second floor where the world’s largest fresco,’ Salone Sistino, stands.

Unfortunately, the Vatican library is only open to those who have special permission to enter. But you can always visit the Vatican Library Museum as they hold manuscripts and a special collection of books from the library.

St. Peter’s Basilica

The construction of this particular church started in 1506 by Pope Julius II and was completed in 1615 by Paul V. St. Peter’s Basilica represents one of the finest works of Renaissance architecture and also has many notable Baroque elements.

In fact, the idea of building the church came from Pope Nicholas V. He was shocked by the condition when he saw the Old St. Peter’s Basila walls leaning out of proportion. Also that the frescoes were entirely covered with dust.

The design of the building consists of a Latin cross which is three-aisled including a dome at the crossing.  This is situated right above the altar which covers the shrine of the famous St. Peter the Apostle.

Currently, the inside of St.Peter’s is full of masterpieces. Which include Renaissance and Baroque art as well as the statue of St. Longinus and the tomb of Urban VIII.

Home of the Pope

The official residence of the Bishop of Rome lives in Vatican City in the Apostolic palace ( but is also called the Papal Palace, the Sacred Palace, and the Palace of the Vatican). It was built in the 16th century. This is the most significant place situated in Vatican City.

The palace is made up of many buildings which include government offices, Vatican Museums, Chapels, the Catholic Church, and the Papal Apartments. The palace is also known to serve different religious purposes. Also, the political, social, and economic functions of a sovereign state are all carried out here.

The palace is under the full control of the Pope. The Apostolic Palace is decorated and organized when a new Pope is appointed according to his wishes.

Tips for visiting The Vatican

  •  It is highly recommended to buy skip-the-line tickets. As there are bound to be long lines for people to enter the museums and other historical venues.
  •  Since the city is religious it is important to maintain a decent dress code. Men should avoid wearing hats, sleeveless t-shirts, and shorts. Whereas women need to avoid short skirts, tank tops, and shorts.
  •  It is best to visit museums before they open for the general public to access. So book the early morning Vatican tour to avoid crowds.
  •  If you want to see the Pope then you can see him at St Peter’s Square every Sunday at noon. Another option is on Wednesdays when the Pope holds a Papal audience at 10.30.
  •  Make sure that you have your mask when entering the buildings. Otherwise, you will not be allowed in. 

Places to stay in the Vatican

It is not difficult to find accommodations to stay in while on Vatican tours Rome. However, because this city is constantly crowded with tourists, we recommend making a reservation in advance. 

  • Hotel Alimandi Vaticano: Located opposite the Vatican Museum is a hotel that has 24 rooms. Since the hotel is in a prime location soundproof windows in the bedrooms help the noise of the traffic to fade away.
  • Hotel La Rovere: a hotel built in the 19th century near the Tiber River. It only takes seven minutes to walk from St. Peter’s Basilica. The hotel is made up of stone walls and vaulted ceilings. There are in total 27 rooms.
  •  Hotel Sant Anna Roma: only 650 feet away from St. Peter’s Basilica the hotel consists of 20 rooms.  The parquet flooring, murals on the walls, and ceilings all give a historic vibe to the rooms. 

Trivia

  •  It is also known to be one of the youngest countries in the world. Since it was born on the 11th of February 1929.
  • Vatican City has no hospitals or prisons. If people need medical aid then they simply go to Rome.
  • The Vatican only has one railway station which consists of two 300-meter tracks. Hence it is known to be the shortest rail network in the world.
  • Since 1984 the Vatican is the only country that is known entirely as a World  Heritage site.
  • The Vatican has a football team and the players are all the employees of the tiny country. The team colors are blue, white, and yellow.  

Lastly

When in Italy do not miss out on visiting the smallest city in the world known as the Vatican. It is filled with historical sites and monuments which you will not get tired of seeing. There are plenty of hotels which you can choose from according to your budget and stay comfortably.

Make sure you keep enough time in your hands to roam around in a relaxing mood to prevent yourself from getting too worn out. Do pack your bags accordingly as the dress code must be maintained when entering places that are religious. It is highly advised to purchase skip-the-line tickets so that you can avoid wasting time standing in long lines.

The blog covers some of the most well-known Vatican attractions that you should visit. Take a stroll through the gardens to see some of the most beautiful variety of landscapes. If you have more time, check into other locations, as they have a lot of history as well.

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