Best & Fun Things To Do + Places To Visit In Vatican City

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Excited to Explore: Things to Do in Vatican City

Are you planning a trip to Vatican City and wondering what to do there? Look no further! Vatican City is the smallest sovereign state in the world and the heart of Catholicism. It is home to numerous artistic marvels, historical landmarks, and unique experiences that are sure to leave you in awe. In this article, we will guide you through the top things to do in Vatican City.

The heart of Vatican City is St. Peter’s Basilica, a magnificent church that is the center of Catholicism. Visitors can marvel at the stunning architecture, intricate artwork, and religious relics on display. The basilica also offers breathtaking views of the city from its dome. Another must-see attraction is the Sistine Chapel, famous for its ceiling painted by Michelangelo. Visitors can also explore the Vatican Museums, which house an extensive collection of art and historical artifacts.

Beyond the artistic marvels, Vatican City also offers outdoor attractions like the Vatican Gardens and Castel Sant’Angelo. The gardens are a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, while Castel Sant’Angelo offers stunning views of the Tiber River. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or just looking for a unique experience, Vatican City has something for everyone.

Key Takeaways

  • Vatican City is the heart of Catholicism and home to numerous artistic marvels and historical landmarks.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums are must-see attractions.
  • Outdoor attractions like the Vatican Gardens and Castel Sant’Angelo offer peaceful respites from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The Heart of Catholicism

As the smallest country in the world, Vatican City is home to some of the most significant sites in the Catholic religion. It is the center of the Roman Catholic Church, and it is here that you can explore the heart of Catholicism.

St. Peter’s Basilica

One of the most famous Catholic churches in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica is a must-visit when in Vatican City. It is a stunning example of Renaissance architecture and is considered one of the holiest Catholic shrines. The basilica is said to be built on the site where St. Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, was buried.

Inside the basilica, you can find numerous works of art, including Michelangelo’s Pieta, a sculpture depicting the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the crucifixion. You can also climb to the top of the dome for breathtaking views of Vatican City and Rome.

The Pope

As the head of the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope plays a significant role in Vatican City. You can attend a papal audience, where the Pope speaks to the public, or visit the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope.

The Pope is also responsible for appointing cardinals, who are the highest-ranking officials in the Catholic Church after the Pope. The cardinals are responsible for electing a new Pope when the current Pope dies or resigns.

Visiting Vatican City is an opportunity to immerse yourself in the Catholic religion and learn more about its history and traditions. Whether you are a devout Catholic or simply interested in exploring the world’s smallest country, Vatican City has something for everyone.

Artistic Marvels

Vatican City is a treasure trove of artistic marvels that will leave you in awe. From the grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica to the breathtaking Sistine Chapel, you will be immersed in the fusion of religion and art.

Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is undoubtedly one of the most famous attractions in Vatican City. This masterpiece of Renaissance art is adorned with frescoes by Michelangelo, depicting scenes from the Book of Genesis. The ceiling of the chapel is a wonder to behold, with its intricate design and vivid colors. You will be amazed by the level of detail in each painting and the skill of the artist who created them.

Raphael Rooms

The Raphael Rooms are a series of four rooms adorned with frescoes by the famous Renaissance artist Raphael. The rooms were originally intended as the private apartments of Pope Julius II, but they are now open to the public. The frescoes in these rooms are a testament to Raphael’s skill as an artist, with each painting depicting a different scene from the Bible.

Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums are a must-visit destination for art lovers. The museums house a vast collection of artwork, including sculptures, paintings, and other treasures from ancient times to the modern era. The collection includes works by Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and Perugino, among others. You will be amazed by the sheer scale of the collection and the beauty of the works on display.

The Gallery of Maps is another must-see attraction in Vatican City. This gallery is home to a series of maps of Italy, painted on the walls of the gallery. The maps were created in the 16th century and are a testament to the skill of the artists who created them. The maps are incredibly detailed and provide a fascinating insight into the Italy of the past.

In conclusion, Vatican City is a paradise for art lovers. The Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, Vatican Museums, and Gallery of Maps are just a few of the many attractions that will leave you in awe. Whether you are interested in Renaissance art, sculptures, or modern art, you will find something to marvel at in Vatican City.

Outdoor Attractions

If you’re looking for some fresh air and greenery, Vatican City has plenty of outdoor attractions to offer. From the lush Vatican Gardens to the grand Saint Peter’s Square, there’s something for everyone.

Vatican Gardens

The Vatican Gardens are a true oasis in the heart of the city. Covering more than half of Vatican City’s total area, these beautifully manicured gardens are home to a stunning array of plants, fountains, and sculptures. With over 50 acres to explore, you could easily spend an entire day wandering through the various paths and taking in the breathtaking views.

One of the highlights of the Vatican Gardens is the stunning Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, a Baroque fountain that dates back to the 17th century. Other notable features include the Vatican Observatory and the Casina Pio IV, a Renaissance-era villa that now serves as the headquarters of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Saint Peter’s Square

No visit to Vatican City is complete without a trip to Saint Peter’s Square. This iconic piazza is surrounded by stunning Baroque architecture and is home to some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the Basilica di San Pietro and the Egyptian Obelisk.

Designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the 17th century, Saint Peter’s Square is a masterpiece of urban planning. The elliptical shape of the piazza is said to represent the embracing arms of the Catholic Church, while the colonnades that encircle it symbolize the Church’s embrace of all humanity.

Whether you’re admiring the stunning architecture or simply people-watching, Saint Peter’s Square is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Vatican City.

In conclusion, Vatican City is a treasure trove of outdoor attractions, from the verdant Vatican Gardens to the grandeur of Saint Peter’s Square. So why not take a break from the museums and galleries and spend some time exploring the great outdoors?

Historical Landmarks

If you’re a history enthusiast, Vatican City is the perfect destination for you. The city is home to several historical landmarks that are worth exploring. Here are some of the top historical landmarks you should check out during your visit:


Located beneath St. Peter’s Basilica, the Necropolis is an ancient Roman cemetery that dates back to the 1st century AD. It is believed to be the final resting place of St. Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. The Necropolis is accessible through guided tours, which provide visitors with an opportunity to explore the ancient tombs and learn about the history of the site.

Castel Sant’Angelo

Castel Sant’Angelo is a towering cylindrical building that was originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian. Over the years, it has served several purposes, including as a military fortress and a papal residence. Today, it is a museum that houses several collections of art and artifacts, including weapons, armor, and sculptures.

Passetto Di Borgo

The Passetto Di Borgo is a fortified wall that connects the Vatican City to Castel Sant’Angelo. It was built in the 14th century as a defensive structure to protect the Pope during times of war. Today, visitors can walk along the wall and enjoy stunning views of the city.

Other historical landmarks in Vatican City include the Cupola, which is the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Tomb of St. Peter, which is believed to be the burial site of St. Peter, and the Ponte Sant’Angelo, which is a bridge that spans the Tiber River.

Whether you’re interested in ancient cemeteries, military fortresses, or defensive walls, Vatican City has something for everyone. So, put on your walking shoes and get ready to explore the city’s rich history and culture.

Unique Experiences

If you are looking for unique experiences in Vatican City, you are in luck! There are plenty of options to choose from that will leave you with lasting memories. Here are two experiences that you won’t want to miss:

Guided Tours

One of the best ways to explore Vatican City is through a guided tour. Not only will you learn about the history and significance of the attractions, but you will also gain access to hidden areas that are not open to the public. Some of the most popular tours include visits to the Vatican Necropolis, the Vatican Mosaic Studio, and the Apostolic Palace.

Make sure to book in advance, as these tours tend to fill up quickly. You can also opt for a private tour if you prefer a more personalized experience. Your tour guide will be knowledgeable and passionate about Vatican City, and will make sure that you have an unforgettable experience.

Papal Audience

If you are a devout Catholic or simply interested in the Pope, attending a Papal Audience is a must-do activity. This is a unique opportunity to see the Pope in person and receive his blessing. The audience takes place every Wednesday at St. Peter’s Square, and is open to the public.

To attend the Papal Audience, you must book your tickets in advance through the Holy See’s website. Make sure to arrive early, as the square tends to fill up quickly. You will also want to dress appropriately, as this is a religious event. The Swiss Guard will be on hand to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

In conclusion, Vatican City offers a variety of unique experiences that cater to tourists of all interests. Whether you opt for a guided tour or attend a Papal Audience, you are sure to have a memorable time. So what are you waiting for? Book your trip to Città Del Vaticano today and start exploring the wonders of this holy city.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most famous sites to visit in Vatican City?

Vatican City is home to many famous sites, including St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums. These sites are must-sees for any visitor to Vatican City.

What is included in a Vatican City tour?

A Vatican City tour typically includes a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums. Some tours may also include a visit to the Vatican Gardens or a guided tour of the city.

How can I get Vatican Museum tickets?

You can purchase Vatican Museum tickets online through the official website or in person at the ticket office. It is recommended to purchase tickets in advance to avoid long lines.

What is the history of Vatican City?

Vatican City has a rich history as the center of the Roman Catholic Church. It was established as an independent city-state in 1929 and is home to the Pope, who is the head of the Catholic Church.

Are the Gardens of Vatican City open to the public?

The Gardens of Vatican City are open to the public, but only through guided tours. These tours must be booked in advance and are limited in availability.

Is it worth spending a full day exploring Vatican City?

Yes, it is definitely worth spending a full day exploring Vatican City. With so many famous sites to see, including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, you won’t want to rush through your visit. Plus, taking your time will allow you to fully appreciate the beauty and history of this unique city-state.

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