It’s strange to think that one of the most important and powerful places in the modern world is only 0.44 square kilometers in size. Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. It is home to just under a thousand people and one pope. However, it is also home to some of the most important works of art in the world, including the Sistine Chapel.
The Vatican City is in the middle of Rome, west of the Tiber River, and is very easy to get to by public transportation (metro and buses).
What does the Vatican have to offer?
Since the Vatican is not very big, it is hard to miss any of the places there. The square and St. Peter’s Basilica are beautiful landmarks at the entrance to Vatican City. Saint Peter’s Basilica is the biggest and probably most important church in the world. It is where the saint who was the first person to call Jesus the Messiah is buried. Some of the most beautiful and important Renaissance works, like Michelangelo’s Pietà, are kept in the basilica.
The Vatican Museum is one of the biggest and most well-known museums in the world. It has less than 14,000 rooms where the most important historical works of art are shown. This incredible wealth means that you can’t see all of the rooms in one trip, so if you want to see specific works, you should make a plan ahead of time.
In the painting gallery, you can see paintings by great artists like Raphael, Da Vinci, Caravaggio, and more. In the Gregoriano Etruscan Museum, you can learn about ancient Rome, and in the Gregoriano Ajizio Museum, you can see ancient Egyptian works that are 5,000 years old. The most important place in the Vatican Museum is the Sistine Chapel, where Michelangelo and his students painted one of the most important religious works in the world, “The Creation of Man,” on the ceiling.
What should you know?
It takes a while to get into the Vatican, so you should be ready to wait in line for at least an hour. During times when there are a lot of tourists, the wait can be two hours or more. Get your museum ticket ahead of time to skip the line. Please keep in mind that the Rome Pass card, which gets you into some Rome attractions at once, is not valid at the Vatican. This is because the Vatican is in the heart of Rome, but it is not part of Rome.
It is suggested that you spend at least 4 hours at the Vatican (maybe a little less if you aren’t a big art fan) and that you bring a bottle of water and clothes and shoes that are easy to move around in. Men and women are asked to wear modest clothes to get into the Vatican (shirts and dresses with sleeves, skirts, and dresses below knee height). It is against the law to use a flash when taking pictures, and you can’t take pictures or bring cell phones into the Sistine Chapel at all.