The Vatican City in Rome: what to see in this unique state? In addition to the Vatican Museums, there is so much more: discover it with us!
Right in the center of Rome, there’s is a city within a city, a unique place in the world: the Vatican City. Right in the center of Rome, there’s is a city within a city, a unique place in the world: the Vatican City. For the most part, they are housed in the Vatican Museums, but that is not all: there are many other interesting things to see and do within the small state.
That’s why today we decided to take you on a walk around the place: discover with us what to see in the Vatican City.
Rome, Vatican: what to see? Let’s start with the museums
The first essential stop for visitors to the Vatican is, as we said, its Museums: the beautiful Belvedere Courtyard houses the display of one of the largest and most important art collections in the world. From the Laocoön statue to Giotto’s Stefaneschi Polyptych, from the Momo spiral staircase
to the Belvedere Torso and the richly endowed Art Gallery, every part of the tour reserves exciting surprises. The visit also includes some rooms of the papal apartments frescoed by Michelangelo and Raphael.
The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City
Alongside the museum itinerary, but actually separate from it, is the Sistine Chapel, perhaps the most famous and visited work of art in the world: although there can be some queuing, hundreds of tourists go there every day to be amazed by the magnificent frescoes of Michelangelo’s Creation and Last Judgment. We’re sure you’ll want to be among them!
The fact that the conclave and some of the most important Catholic rites take place right here adds solemnity and mystique to a place that is already spectacular in its own right.
In the Vatican City to see St. Peter’s…
Another must-see symbol of the Vatican City is, of course, St. Peter’s Basilica. You must have seen it on TV or admired it in person, viewing the square of the same name – but have you ever walked its aisles to discover its hidden treasures?
As soon as you enter, in the first chapel on the right, you find Michelangelo’s Pieta, further on Antonio Canova’s monument to Clement XIII, on the opposite side Pollaiolo’s tomb of Innocent VIII. Not to mention the imposing Chair of St. Peter in the background of the apse: a riot of angels and cherubs carved in gilded bronze.
Admission is free, so the basilica is certainly one of the main things to see in Rome – at no cost.
… and its Dome!
The symbol of Rome in the world is the imposing Dome that towers over the basilica and the city. Well, if seeing it from the outside is undoubtedly a beautiful experience, it’s even more exciting to climb to its top: an elevator takes you up to the terrace and then further up to the lantern, from which you can enjoy an unparalleled panoramic view of Rome.
From the terrace you can also climb a 330-step staircase that takes you up close to Cavalier d’Arpino’s 17th-century mosaics.
A walk in the Vatican Gardens
Perhaps forests, lush plants, and statues surrounded by vegetation are not the first image that comes to mind when you think of the Vatican, yet there is no shortage of green spaces here either: with their 23 hectares, the magnificent Vatican Gardens occupy much of the hillside of this tiny statelet.
Fun fact: There you can also find a spectacular fountain housing no less than a galleon, the so-called “Galea”.
Shopping in the Vatican City: what to buy?
Purchases made within the Vatican City are exempt from VAT: so it is not surprising that many choose to complete their visit with a stop in the stores. In addition to the many religious souvenirs, particularly low prices apply to stamps, perfumes, cosmetics, and cigarettes, but beware: you can only buy certain of these categories if you have a special card issued solely to residents.
To Rome with Italo
What is the most convenient way to get to the capital and dive into the heart of the Vatican? The train, of course, taking advantage of one of the many connections to Rome that Italo provides from all over Italy. Traveling by rail allows you to enjoy Rome even in one day without having to worry about queues, parking, or stress. Once you arrive at the station, countless itineraries are available for visiting the Eternal City – and speaking of places with a religious identity, have you ever been to Rome’s Jewish Ghetto?