From the dome of St. Peter’s one can see every notable object in Rome… He can see a panorama that is varied, extensive, beautiful to the eye, and more illustrious in history than any other in Europe. -Mark Twain
Vatican City is the smallest country in the world. Within it, you will find the Sistine Chapel where you will see the amazing frescos painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512. Vatican City is one of the most unique places in the world thanks to the fact that it is the only nation state that is located within the boundaries of another nation – Italy. It is the main hub of the Roman Catholic Church and the home of the Pope. As a tourist destination, Vatican City is one of the most culturally rich places in Europe and is an important stop on your tour of Italy even if you are not a Catholic.
This Google Street View will take you from Rome to Vatican City:
Inside the basilica you’ll find beautiful sculptures and monuments by Bernini like the high altar that reaches ten stories tall! If you have the energy and the time, climb the stairs to Michelangelo’s dome of the basilica and take in the 360-degree views of Rome.
The Vatican has posted a series of virtual tours that you should make sure to view!
The Vatican Museums contain the artwork that the Catholic Church and its many Popes have collected over the centuries. Here you’ll find Renaissance masterpieces, classical sculptures, and so much more. I recommend taking an official tour of the museums to learn as much as you can about the pieces on display.
We read: "(…) The Vatican City is the only country in the world with an absolute theocratic elective monarchy that is guided by the principles of a Christian religious school of thought. The Pope is the supreme power in the country, and leads the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Vatican government. This is also perhaps the only monarchy in the world that is non-hereditary in nature. (…)" - Source.
The Vatican Museums display works from the immense collection amassed by Popes throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world.
The museums contain roughly 70,000 works, of which 20,000 are on display and currently employ 640 people who work in 40 different administrative, scholarly, and restoration departments.
If you have the time, spend a while hanging out in St. Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro) enjoying the architecture, fountains, Egyptian obelisk (which is over 25 meters high) and people watching opportunities. (Note: St. Peter was the Catholic Church’s first Pope and that’s why so many things in Vatican City are named after him).Don’t forget to dress accordingly!
It is not allowed to visit Vatican City with your shoulders or knees exposed so tank tops, miniskirts and shorts are out. Hats are also not allowed. They sell plastic wraps that you can use to cover yourself if you forget or don’t have time to stop back at your hotel for a change of clothing. Photography is allowed as long as it is for personal use (but not in Chapel). Flash photography and tripods and professional equipment are not allowed.
If you only have time to do one thing I recommend the Sistine Chapel as it is Vatican City’s most beloved and breathtaking attraction:
Click here to then zoom into the ceiling
The subjects of the frescoes:
About the frescoes.
- Skip the line and book online your open tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
The Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre built during the Roman Empire).
In 'Roma,' I wanted to get across the idea that underneath Rome today is ancient Rome. So close. I am always conscious of that, and it thrills me. Imagine being in a traffic jam at the Coliseum! Rome is the most wonderful movie set in the world... As was the case with many of my film ideas, it was inspired by a dream -Federico Fellini speaking about his movie Roma
The Spanish Steps
These steps have an irregular butterfly-shaped design. They were built in 18th century. See: Scalinata di Trinità (steps of the Trinita dei Monti church).
The Trevi Fountain
This is the site of Rome's ancient stadium for athletic contests (Stadium of Domitian). It is one of the best known landmarks of Italy and Europe.
Further information about Rome can be found via this outstanding Google Guide
User Note: You will see photo credits if you mouse over images
Next update to this page will add several more videos. Check back!