|Our first stop is Vatican City ...|
Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. Ruled by the Pope it is a city state within Rome. It is fully independent. The size of the enclave is 108.7 acres. Within it, you will find the Sistine Chapel (click the link to view an interactive tour) where you will see the amazing frescos painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512.
As a tourist destination, Vatican City is one of the most culturally rich places in Europe and is an important stop on your tour of Italy even if you are not a Catholic. To see everything in Vatican City requires more than just a couple of hours. Spending a full day exploring the riches that it has to offer is ideal.
If you only have time to do one thing I recommend the Sistine Chapel as it is Vatican City's most beloved and breathtaking attraction. This is where you'll find the famous frescoes painted by Michelangelo.
St. Peter's Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world and is a pilgrimage destination for Catholics around the world. Inside the basilica you'll find beautiful sculptures and monuments by Bernini like the high altar that reaches ten stories tall! If you have the energy and the time, climb the stairs to Michelangelo's dome of the basilica and take in the 360-degree views of Rome.
Note: The Vatican has posted a series of virtual tours that you should make sure to view!
The Vatican Museums contain the artwork that the Catholic Church and its many Popes have collected over the centuries. Here you'll find Renaissance masterpieces, classical sculptures, and so much more. I recommend taking an official tour of the museums to learn as much as you can about the pieces on display.
If you have the time, spend a while hanging out in St. Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro) enjoying the architecture, fountains, Egyptian obelisk (which is over 25 meters high) and people watching opportunities. (Note: St. Peter was the Catholic Church's first Pope and that's why so many things in Vatican City are named after him.) Don't forget to dress accordingly! It is not allowed to visit Vatican City with your shoulders or knees exposed so tank tops, miniskirts and shorts are out. Hats are also not allowed. They sell plastic wraps that you can use to cover yourself if you forget or don't have time to stop back at your hotel for a change of clothing. Photography is allowed as long as it is for personal use (but not in the Sistine Chapel). Flash photography and tripods and professional equipment are not allowed.
Look carefully, you’ll notice that most of the columns on the ceiling are not actual columns — they’re painted. The narrative begins at the altar and is divided into three sections. In the first three paintings, Michelangelo tells the story of The Creation of the Heavens and Earth:
The subjects of the frescoes:
More Amazing Art is found here!The Vatican Museums display works from the immense collection amassed by Popes throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. The museums contain roughly 70,000 works, of which 20,000 are on display and currently employ 640 people who work in 40 different administrative, scholarly, and restoration departments.
Opening days and times:
From Monday to Saturday
9.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m. (final entry 4.00 p.m.)
Every last Sunday of the month
9.00 a.m. – 2.00 p.m. (final entry 12.30 p.m.)
+39 06 69884676
+39 06 69883145
Tips to visit Rome:April to June and late September to October are the best months for traveling. St. Peter's Square is beautiful at night, as the Colosseum the largest amphitheatre built during the Roman Empire:
Climb the Spanish Steps:
Steps with irregular butterfly-shaped design, built in 18th century.
More: Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti (Official name for the Spanish Steps).
Next: Make sure to visit the Trevi Fountain (at night and during the day).
And turn to this wonderful Rome Travel Guide by Google! (Which includes day plans: Example).