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Vatican City

Vatican City (Città del Vaticano in Italian) is an independent city state located in the heart of Rome, ruled by the Pope. It is the centre of authority over the Roman Catholic Church.

St Peter's Square at night
St Peter's Square at night

The Vatican is the smallest state in Europe. It has a total area of 0,44 km² and inside its wall live approximately 1000 people.

In this small state lives the Pope, in the Apostolic palace surrounded by beautiful gardens. The palace is open to the public, but visitors have to book in advance.

The Vatican City was declared independent from the rest of Italy on 11 February, 1929, with the signing of the Lateran Treaty between Pope Pius XI and Mussolini.

Top attraction in Vatican City

Within the Vatican there are numerous interesting attractions to visit, but the best are the following: St. Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro), St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums, where the Sistine chapel is located.

  • Plaza de San Pedro Piazza San Pietro, St Peter’s Square in English, is one of the most beautiful squares in the world and probably one of the most renowned. Designed by Bernini during the seventeenth century, it fits up to 300,000 people.
  • Basílica de San Pedro St Peter’s Basilica is one of the holiest sites in Christendom. The Pope celebrates his most important liturgies here and those that represent the Holy See will attend mass here.
  • Museos Vaticanos With over 6 million visitors a year, the Vatican Museums are one of the most visited museums in Rome. Visitors will find thousands of art works collected by the Roman Catholic Church for over five centuries.
  • Capilla Sixtina The Sistine Chapel is the chapel of the Pope’s residence, the Apostolic Palace. It is considered Michelangelo’s masterpiece and is a place worth visiting at least once in a life time.

How much time is needed to visit the Vatican?

To visit the Vatican City and see its top attractions, we recommend spending at least a whole morning.

If you’d like to learn about its history and surprising facts and figures, we recommend booking an English-speaking guided tour of the Vatican. You can also check out our Rome Combo tours

Location

In Rome, west of the River Tiber.

Transport

Metro station: Ottaviano, line A (Red)

Map

Vatican City, location map

Related activities

  • SKIP THE LINE

    Enjoy a guided tour of the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica with skip the line admission with a group that never exceeds 35 people!

    Idioma English Duración 3 hours Precio 61.5$
  • COMBO/SKIP THE LINE

    Combine two of the most-visited places in Rome on this full-day guided tour of the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica followed by the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.

    Idioma English Duración 6-6,5 hours Precio 118$ 95$ (-19%)