While visiting Rome, the Vatican City can to some people just seem to be another ”district” in the city. But when you enter, you have left Italy and went to another country!
The Vatican City has a population of 1000 and is one of the smallest countries in the world.
You don’t need a visa, and you can see a WHOLE country in just hours – that’s pretty cool!
Since this is a holy city, it’s super important for you to dress properly. Shoulders and knees must be covered and no hats indoors. There are also security checks, so make sure not to bring any sharp items!
Here is the list of the Top 7 Things to Do in Vatican City!
Enter St. Peter’s Basilica
One of the world’s largest and most famous churches, the St. Peter’s Basilica takes its visitors with storm. Built between the 16th and 18th century, replacing the church that began its structures in 326 on what they think St. Peter is buried.
As soon as you step inside the basilica, you will be able to see work of famous artists. An equestrian statue of Constantine by Bernini, fragments of a mosaic by Giotto and Michelangelo’s famous Pietà.
This church is an amazing piece of art and must be visited at least once during your life!
Visit the Vatican Museums
I’m almost positive that you have heard about the famous Vatican Museums. These are the museums that house some of the most famous and classic pieces of art in the world.
The Vatican Museum offers various sections of Palaces and the Sistine Chapel where you can admire the amazing art from famous artists such as Michelangelo.
The Vatican Museums is no doubt one of the best things to do in Vatican City if you’re interested in art. Just make sure to dress appropriately, whisper and remember not to take photos in the Sistine Chapel.
Try to avoid Saturdays, Mondays, the last Sunday of the month, when it rains, during the summer months and also around holidays to avoid the big tourist crowds!
Go on a Scavi Tour
One of the top things to do in Vatican City is to go on a Scavi Tour. During the Scavi Tour, you get the chance to visit necropolis, also known as ”Scavi,” that lies underneath St. Peters Basilica. It’s here where St. Peter is said to be buried.
To go on this tour, you need to have a special permission granted from time to time by the “Fabbrica di San Pietro”.
Only 250 people can go on this tour per day, visitors much be over 15 years old, cameras are not permitted, and the tour lasts about one and a half hour.
If you’re claustrophobic or have difficulties with stairs, then this is nothing for you.
To be able to go on this tour you have to request a reservation. Make sure to make this reservation long before you travel to Vatican City.
If you want to make a reservation or know more about this tour, visit www.scavi.va
See the Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel is a rectangular hall that’s the Pope’s domestic chapel, used for services and special occasions. When the Pope dies, this is the place where they elect his successor.
The frescoes by Michelangelo covers the walls and ceiling. The side walls are covered with large frescoes of Biblical scenes against the background of Umbrian and Tuscan landscapes. These were painted for Sixtus IV by some of the most celebrated painters through time – Perugino, Botticelli, Rosselli, Pinturicchio, Signorelli, and Ghirlandaio.
When walking inside the Sistine Chapel, do not expect to be allowed to bring your camera, since its total prohibition to take photos.
Visit the Pinacoteca
Although Napoleon robbed this place of some of its most valuable treasures, the Pinacoteca still contains 16 rooms full of fantastic art from the middle ages. Since the paintings are arranged in chronological order, it gives a complete overview of the development of the art.
Stroll Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter’s Square)
The big square in front of the St. Peter’s Basilica was made by Bernini to provide a place where the faithful from all over the world could gather. Today, it stills serves the same purpose and is filled with people during Easter and other important holidays and occasions that take place each year.
This square is 375 meters long and is surrounded by semicircular colonnades with a total number of 140 statues of famous saints.
From this square people come to listen to the Pope preach every Wednesdays, Sundays, on special occasions, and when they name a new Pope.
See the Pope preach
Every Wednesday from 10.30 and on Sundays from 12.00 you can see the pope preach. On Wednesday he speaks for about two hours, and on Sundays only around 15-20 minutes. If you’re planning on seeing the Pope on a Wednesday, make sure to get a FREE ticket beforehand, since this is a big thing in the Vatican City and Rome. To get a good seat, make sure to be there around 2-3 hours early. On Sundays, you don’t have to get a ticket.
This is no doubt one of the best things to do in Vatican City!
To see the current schedule, visit www.vatican.va for more information.