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Vatican City & St. Peter’s Basilica

Welcome to the smallest country in the world. Vatican City State is an enclave located inside the boundaries of Rome. While it might not take up a lot of physical space it punches well above its weight class when it comes to importance. Vatican City is more than just a city located inside of Italy or a country inside of a city. Despite its small size, there are a lot of incredible things to do inside of the city boundaries. This is where the pope lives and it is the spiritual home of the Catholic Church. There are several noteworthy attractions here, including St Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican City Museum, and the Sistine Chapel.

This tiny city-state is located along the banks of the Tiber River and surrounded by Rome on four sides. The Vatican City may be small in stature but it packs a lot into this tiny footprint. Because of it is independence, it is technically the smallest country in the world, both in size and population. There are 6 entrances into the Vatican city, 4 of which are open to the public. Many parts of the city are off-limits to the public, as this is where the Pope lives. The most notable building in the Vatican City boundaries is St Peter’s Basilica, which was originally constructed in the 4th Century and rebuilt in the 16th Century. It is the largest Catholic Cathedral in the world.

During your visit to the Holy City, you also must visit the Vatican Museum, which is home to countless priceless paintings and sculptures, including several frescos and murals adorned to the walls. This of course includes the Sistine Chapel, where The Last Judgement is painted onto the ceiling.

What makes Vatican City so amazing?

One of the best views in Italy can be found high above the church, as it is possible to climb the staircase to the top of the dome for incredible 360-degree views of Rome. Another can’t miss attraction is the Vatican Museums, home to some of the most incredible artwork in the world. While there are plenty of paintings and sculptures here to keep you entertained, the most impressive part of the museum is the frescos that have been painted onto the walls and ceilings.

Raphael Rooms inside the Vatican Museum. 2015.

First, you arrive in the Raphael Rooms, where the famous Renaissance artist has left his mark on four of the former rooms of the Vatican Palace. They are impressive, telling a story in four parts; the Hall of Constantine, Room of Heliodorus, Room of the Signatura, and the Room of the Fire in the Borgo. The star attraction of the Vatican Museum is the Sistine Chapel, the final stop on the tour.

While the chapel has frescoes from other Renaissance masters – such as  Botticelli – depicting the Life of Moses and the Life of Christ, the main attraction is located above. This is where Michaelangelo painted The Last Judgement, one of the most memorable paintings found anywhere in the world. There is no photography allowed inside, so fortunately you have to see it for yourself.

Where is Vatican City and how do you get there?

As mentioned above, Vatican City is an independent city-state located inside the borders of Rome. It is both the smallest city in the world by land size at .5 sq kilometers (.2 sq Miles) as well as population (825). It’s pretty small. To visit Vatican City you just have to take a trip to Rome and find a subway station or catch a taxi. You could walk around the borders of the city in hours, not days, and could probably visit most of the important sites during a half-day trip.

St. Peter’s Square from above. 2015.

There are many ways to enjoy the city. Maybe you’re a religious person on a pilgrimage or even just someone who appreciates art and architecture, Vatican City will have something for you. It’s hard to not wander around St Peters courtyard without your jaw dropping a little bit. Inside of St Peter’s Basilica is one of the grandest structures you’ve ever seen, with sculptures and paintings ready to inspire awesomeness.

We’re not sure if you’re still looking for reasons to add this to your itinerary for your trip to Rome. The grand architecture of the church and the frescoes inside the Sistine Chapel should be more than enough. The crowds suggest that this attraction has been discovered for quite some time. It’s easy to see why. This was one of the most incredible things to do in Italy and should be the target of all travelers to Rome. I hope the following photos help to inspire your next vacation to the Holy City.

St Paul’s Cathedral & Vatican City

Lining up to enter St. Peter’s Cathedral. 2015.
St. Peter’s Cathedral from above. 2015.
St. Peter’s Square from above. 2015.
The Tiber River from above. 2015.
Inside St Peter’s Basilica. Vatican City. 2015
St. Peter’s Cathedral. 2015.
St. Peter’s Cathedral. 2015
Raphael Rooms inside the Vatican Museum. 2015.
Looking into the Vatican City. 2015.
St Peter’s Square from above. 2015.
St. Peter’s Square. 2015.
Walking at sunset. 2015.
Sculpture above St. Peter’s Square. 2015.
Raphael Rooms inside the Vatican Museum. 2015.
Spiral Staircase inside Vatican Museum. 2015.
The inside of St Peter’s Basilica from above. 2015.
Chairs in St. Peter’s Square. 2015.
Looking out at Rome. 2015.
Michelangelo’s The Pietà. St. Peter’s Cathedral. 2015.
St. Peter’s Cathedral. 2015.
Sistine Chapel and Vatican museum from above. 2015.
Sculpture above St. Peter’s Cathedral. 2015.
Raphael Rooms inside the Vatican Museum. 2015.
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The Vatican Museum. 2015
St. Peter’s Cathedral. 2015.
St Peters Square. 2015
View of Rome from the Vatican City Museum. 2015.
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Vatican Museum. 2015
St. Peter’s Square. 2015.
Van Gogh painting inside the Vatican Museum. 2015.
Looking down towards Vatican City green space. 2015.
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Michelangelo’s The Pietà. St. Peter’s Cathedral. 2015.
Vatican Museum. 2015.
Vatican Museum Courtyard. 2015.
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Vatican Museum. 2015.

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