Things to do at the Vatican

Are you going on holiday to Rome in Italy? Do you want to visit the Vatican City in Rome? Want to know what there is to see and do at the Vatican City in Rome? Our guide to the Vatican City in Rome gives you the facts & information you want.

Although the Vatican City lies in the heart of Rome, it is not technically part of Italy. The Vatican City in Rome is the smallest sovereign state in the World with a total land mass of about 1 square kilometre. The Vatican City is synonymous with the Catholic Church which has its headquarters here and is also the official residence of the Pope.  Despite its small size, The Vatican City is a virtual treasure trove of sightseeing experiences with a history as rich as anywhere else in Italy and architecture and art spanning more than a thousand years.

Independence of the Vatican City from Italy

While some may take the independence of the Vatican City as a cosmetic gesture without any real substance, it’s important to remember a few things about the Vatican City. The Vatican City has its own army of guards known primarily for their distinctive red and yellow uniforms. While they may look comical to some, these guards are highly trained professional soldiers picked only from among the Catholic community in Switzerland. This is a tradition of the Vatican that dates back hundreds of years. The Vatican City also has its own train station, stamps and currency, not to mention the Vatican newspaper and radio station.

Pope’s address at the Vatican City

The official residence of the Pope is the Vatican City and it is from here that he gives his weekly address. Every Wednesday at 11am the Pope addresses masses of faithful Catholics, many of whom have come from abroad, and talks about various spiritual and worldly issues. While you don’t have to be a catholic to attend the Pope’s address, you do have to obtain tickets. Tickets to hear the Pope’s address at the Vatican are free although you should bear in mind that capacity is limited and demand can often be quite high so the earlier in advance you book your tickets the better.

St Peter’s Square at the Vatican

The main square in the centre of the Vatican City is named after St Peter who is supposedly buried in the Vatican City. St Peter’s Square was constructed in the Vatican City during the 17th century and is in conformance with the Baroque style of architecture which prevailed in Italy at that time.  This is the starting point of any tour of the Vatican City from where you can approach the Vatican Museums, St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.

Architecture & Art at the Vatican

The Vatican City is home to some of the best artwork and architecture in Italy thanks not least to the patronage of the Popes during the renaissance who were able to attract some of the world’s best artists to work at the Vatican. However, the Vatican City far predates the renaissance and examples of other architectural and artistic styles can also be seen at the Vatican City today.

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