What to Visit in Vatican City
Updated: Jul 24
Vatican City, officially known as the Vatican City State, is an independent city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. It is located entirely within the city of Rome and is surrounded by high walls.By covering an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), Vatican City is the smallest internationally recognised independent state in the world both by area and population (800 people only). The city-state is the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and isruled by the Pope, whois the leader of the Catholic Church.
The Vatican Museums house a vastcollection of artworks, including masterpieces such as Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms. For these reasons, Vatican City is a major tourist destination, drawing visitors from around the world who come to explore its religious and cultural offerings. Did I catch you attention? Let’s stay with us and find out more about this timeless place and What to Visit in Vatican City !
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What to Visit in Vatican City
What not to miss?
St. Peter’s Square
St. Peter's Square, known as Piazza San Pietro in Italian, is a large plaza named after Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and considered the first pope. Designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter's Square has the intention to make the visitor feel warm and welcomed since visually it reminds the shape of a hug. St. Peter's Square serves as a gathering place for significant events and ceremonies within the Catholic Church. The most notable event held in the square is the papal audience, where visitors from around the world gather to receive the Pope's blessings and hear his teachings. This event is held every Sunday, try not to miss it and you will not regret it!
St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica is one of the most renowned and significant Christian sites in the world. It is built on the site where Saint Peter is believed to be buried. The Basilica was built over a span of more than a century, designed by renowned architects such as Michelangelo and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Inside St. Peter's Basilica, you can marvel at its stunning interior and s numerous chapels. One of the most famous sculptures housed within the Basilica is Michelangelo's Pietà that depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion (it is considered one of Michelangelo's masterpieces!).This is a place that you cannot miss if you are planning to go there.
The Vatican Museums are a collection of art galleries and museums located within Vatican City. The Vatican Museums trace their origins back to the 16th century when Pope Julius II displayed a collection of ancient sculptures.One of the highlights of the Vatican Museums is the Sistine Chapel, which is famous for its stunning frescoes, including Michelangelo's iconic ceiling frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible. This chapel serves as the venue for the election of each new pope. The Vatican Museums are extremely popular, and during peak tourist seasons, they can be quite crowded. So don’t get there off guard and book tickets in advance or consider guided tours to bypass long queues and make the most of your visit.
What else to visit?
The Vatican Gardens are a private urban garden that serve as a peaceful retreat for the Pope and a place for contemplation and reflection. The Gardens are known for their lush greenery, colorful flowerbeds, fountains, well-manicured lawns and they are home to numerous plant species, including exotic plants, flowers, and centuries-old trees. Access to the Vatican Gardens is limited to guided tours and you can explore only a small portion of the extensive grounds. The tours offer a unique opportunity to appreciate the natural beauty and historical significance of the gardens while learning about their symbolism and the papal traditions associated with them.
How to travel there?
Vatican City is the perfect pit stop you have to inculde to your trip if you are willing to visit Rome, since it is integral part of the city. In this paragraph will be explained how to get there.
If you are traveling internationally, you can book a flight to Rome, Italy, as there are no airports directly in Vatican City. Rome's Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO) and Ciampino Airport (CIA) are the closest airports to Vatican City.
If you are already in Italy or Europe, you can consider taking a train to Rome. The main railway station in Rome is Roma Termini.
It is highly unlikely that you will ever drive with you own car inside the Vatican, since the only way the public can drive in the there is if you’re there on officila business and enter a via parking lot near St. Ann’s.
So, once you arrive in Rome, you have several options to reach Vatican City:
You can take a taxi directly from the airport or the train station to Vatican City. Taxis are readily available, and the journey takes around 30 minutes, depending on traffic.
By Public Transportation
Rome has an extensive public transportation system. You can take a combination of metro and bus to reach Vatican City. From Roma Termini, take Line A of the metro towards Battistini and get off at Ottaviano-S. Pietro station, which is near Vatican City. Buses also connect various parts of the city to Vatican City.
When to travel there?
Vatican City is a popular tourist destination and has visitors throughout the year. The best time to travel to Vatican City largely depends on your preferences and what you hope to experience during your visit. Here are some factors to consider:
The climate in Vatican City is Mediterranean, with hot summers and mild winters. The summer months (June to August) can be quite hot and crowded, but they offer longer daylight hours. Spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) generally have pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds, making them popular times to visit. Winter (November to February) can be cold, but it's a quieter period with shorter queues for attractions.
If you're interested in attending religious events or ceremonies, it's worth considering the liturgical calendar. Key dates include Easter (which varies each year), Christmas, and other significant Christian holidays.
The Vatican Museums, including the Sistine Chapel, are major attractions within Vatican City. They can be crowded throughout the year, but visiting during weekdays or arriving early in the morning can help you avoid some of the queues.
Ultimately, the best time to travel to Vatican City depends on your personal preferences for weather, crowds, and the specific experiences you wish to have during your visit. Consider these factors when planning your trip, and also check for any travel advisories or restrictions that may be in place at the time of your intended visit.
Since Vatican City is an independent city-state, it is not typically regarded as a tourist destination for overnight stays, as it primarily serves as a religious and administrative center. Therefore, it's challenging to provide an average cost for staying in Vatican City, as there are no hotels or accommodations specifically within its borders. Most visitors to Vatican City choose to stay in nearby hotels in Rome and travel to Vatican City for sightseeing. In addition to accommodation, other expenses in Vatican City may include admission fees to attractions such as St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums (the Vatican Museums' admission fee was around €17 for adults and €8 for children).
Where to eat?
Dining options in Vatican City are limited due to its small size and primarily religious nature. However, there are a few places where you can find food within Vatican City.
Located near the Vatican Museums, this self-service cafeteria offers a variety of snacks, sandwiches, and beverages. It's a convenient option if you're looking for a quick bite during your visit.
Casina Pio IV
This restaurant is located within the Vatican Gardens and offers a refined dining experience. It is primarily reserved for official events and functions, but it may be open to the public on occasion. Reservations are required, so it's advisable to check availability in advance.
Despite these are the only two physically present structure inside Vatican City to arrange a meal, just remember that you are surrounded by the city of Rome where you'll find numerous dining options just outside its borders. The Prati neighborhood, located near the Vatican, has several restaurants offering Italian and international cuisine.
We've reached the end of the article What to visit in Vatican City. This city has a fantastic atmosphere, and we believe you will love it as much as we did! In the meantime, you can read other articles on our website. Remember to follow us@thewalkingparrot to be continuously updated on the new releases. We will be back soon with a new article!