In the heart of Rome, Vatican City primarily serves as the seat of the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope.
Inside, you’ll find St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Gardens. But there is much more to explore. Below are some of the most beautiful and interesting places you must see on a trip to Vatican City.
Why visit this enigmatic city-state?
Vatican City is a sovereign nation-state with a population of approximately 453 people. In 1929 it became an independent state, making it the smallest independent country in the world. However, numbers aside, it is a place steeped in mystery and a place everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. According to Vatican tour operators at https://vatican-tickets.tours/, it is also home to a vast array of unique works of art that have been lovingly created by artisans dating back hundreds of centuries. Visiting the mysterious city-state is a great way to delve into the history of Christianity and learn fascinating insights into how it works. However, Vatican City is not just for religious pilgrims; this article will highlight some of its most fascinating attractions.
Saint Peter’s basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most important churches in the world. It also happens to be where the pope delivers the most important sermons, usually the Christmas mass. However, in addition to its religious aspect (admittedly important), it bears witness to human creativity and art. From the moment you lay eyes on her sleek exterior to her impressive interior, you will be completely amazed. You can easily spend an entire day exploring the estate and have experienced only a fraction of what it has to offer.
The chapel was built over five years from 1478 to 1481 by Pope Sixtus IV, and it is one of the most famous examples of Renaissance architecture. Visiting the Chapel requires a guided tour, which can be booked online or at the ticket office. Tours are conducted in different languages, so you can get all the information you need to enjoy your trip. The chapel is also known for its many paintings including the famous “Last Judgment” painting on the ceiling. Additionally, it is home to arguably one of the most famous works of art in history outside of the Mona Lisa; The creation of Adam.
Also known as the Picture Gallery, the Pinacoteca is filled with 16 rooms of glorious artworks by different artists of different ages. Although it was ransacked by Napoleon at the height of his expeditionary campaigns, there are still hundreds of paintings to be analyzed and enjoyed by the creatives among you. In many ways, you will be able to observe the evolution of Western art since the Middle Ages as you progress through each room. A guided tour is essential if you want to truly appreciate the many stories these masterpieces have to tell.
St. Peter’s Square
If you visit St. Peter’s Basilica, you will inevitably explore this huge square. Piazza San Pietro (AKA St. Peter’s Square) is the largest square in Vatican City and is located in the northwest corner of St. Peter’s Basilica. It is a large open space with two large fountains and a 25 meter Egyptian obelisk at its center. The obelisk has a fascinating history of its own. It was brought to Rome by Caligula in AD 39 from Heliopolis of ancient Egypt. Apart from the impressive central elements, it contains no less than 140 statues around and in front of the main oval area. It’s a sight to behold, and with such a legacy in every nook and cranny, it’s a history lover’s delight.
The Vatican Gardens are one of the most visited tourist attractions in all of Vatican City. Hundreds of species of plants make up this garden, as well as its unique architecture. It was developed over centuries, but its first parts were created for Pope Nicholas II over 800 years ago. Originally, it was intended as a place of peaceful contemplation, where popes and saints could go to reflect on their place in the world. Following centuries of growth, the small city-state’s landscaped gardens and green spaces now cover almost half of its territory. It’s quite a sight to behold, and you can also use your time there to reflect on life and your place in the world.
Vatican City is one of the most mysterious and fascinating places on the planet. You might think that such a small region won’t have much to offer, but you’d be wrong. With so much to see and do, you can go about your life without ever scratching the surface.