Explore the best pilgrimage or holy place to go in Vatican City and popular tourist attractions and sightseeing for unforgettable vacations in rome.
A visit to Vatican City is a must for any tourist in Rome and not without reason. There is no need to go into the rich history, art and architecture of this tiny country, suffice it to say it is a remarkable place to visit. The Vatican City State is situated on the Vatican hill, on the right bank of the Tiber River, within the city of Rome. The Vatican City State, sovereign and independent, is the survivor of the papal states that in 1859 comprised an area of some 17,000 sq mi (44,030 sq km). During the struggle for Italian unification, from 1860 to 1870, most of this area became part of Italy. By an Italian law of May 13, 1871, the temporal power of the pope was abrogated, and the territory of the papacy was confined to the Vatican and Lateran palaces and the villa of Castel Gandolfo. The popes consistently refused to recognize this arrangement. The Lateran Treaty of Feb. 11, 1929, between the Vatican and the kingdom of Italy, established the autonomy of the Holy See.
Vatican City State is the territory of the Holy See (Sancta Sedes), the episcopal jurisdiction and the central government of the Catholic Church. Although the Holy See is closely associated with the Vatican City, it is distinct from the Holy See. Usually referred to as a City State and often called “The Holy See”, Vatican City is home to about 800 residents. None of them are permanent. The population of this tiny area, which surrounds St. Peter’s Basilica, is made up of priests, nuns, guards, high-ranking dignitaries and, of course, the pope, and is constantly changing.
Saint Peter’s Square
You have seen it on the evening news but it will seem even grander when you explore it on your own. Designed by Bernini and completed in the 17th century, the square is dramatic and impressive. However, it is just the start of an unforgettable day of touring the Vatican. Elliptical in shape and designed so that its perspective leads to St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square is comprised of several outstanding elements. Bernini’s curved colonnades run along on each side of the Square and are comprised of equidistantly-spaced, four-column supports throughout its extent, producing a formal and majestic border for the Square. The colonnades are topped with 140 statues of saints, who were crafted by followers of Bernini, who were members of his school of artists.
St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica, the crowning glory of Vatican City, is the most important church in the world. The cornerstone of this church was laid more than five hundred years ago, in 1506. The magnificent altars and monuments inside the church are too numerous to mention, but even those who aren’t art aficionados will be wowed by what they’ll find inside this amazing basilica, including more works by the renowned sculptor/architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini and also Michelangelo’s Pietà. The enormous dome of St. Peter’s, another creation by Michelangelo, is accessed from an elevator to the roof. Once you’ve reached the top of the elevator, 323 additional steps take you to the best view of Rome from anywhere in the city.
If you are interested in attending a general Papal audience, they are held in St. Peter’s Square, the Paul VI Hall (Aula Nervi), or in Saint Peter’s Basilica. During the summer, general audiences may be held Castel Gondolfo, the pope’s summer residence (approximately thirty miles outside of Rome).
The Sistine Chapel is one of the most popular places to visit in the Vatican City. The chapel is known for its architecture, frescoes and paintings as well known Renaissance artists such as Michelangelo and Raphael Sanzio painted its inside walls. The exterior of the chapel, on the other hand is plain since during the time period, which it was built in, doorways outside didn’t hold much of significance and the chapel was supposed to be accessed from inside the Papal Palace.
The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is a huge work in terms of subject matter and size. The incredible amount of attention to detail in the work done is fascinating. Before Michelangelo was asked to repaint the area, the ceiling looked like a blue sky with dotted golden stars.
The Vatican Museums
Founded in the eighteenth century under the patronage of Pope Clement XIV and Pope Pius VI, this museum complex contains a great collection of many artworks. First time tourists wondering what to see in Vatican City can have an amazing time in this complex. The first building in this complex is called Pio-Clementine Museum, named after the two Popes who founded Vatican Museums