Vatican City Facts:
The Holy See is the seat of the Catholic religion and home of the Pope since 1378. The pope lives in the papal apartments in the Vatican and the church of the Pope, St. Peter's Basilica, is in Vatican City.
Vatican City Location:
Where to Stay By Vatican CityIf you plan to spend much time visiting the attractions in Vatican City, it might be convenient to stay in a hotel or bed and breakfast near the Vatican. Here are Top Places to Stay by Vatican City.
Visiting the Vatican Museum:
At the Vatican Museums you choose from 4 different itineraries all ending with the Sistine Chapel. Because of the vastness of the museum it's wise to take a guided tour. Visitors with guided tour reservations or who book tickets in advance enter without waiting in line. The museums are closed Sundays and holidays except the last Sunday of the month when they're free. Here is Vatican Museums Visiting and Ticket Booking Information. Select Italy also sells Vatican Museums tickets that you can buy in the US.
Saint Peter's Square and Basilica:
Saint Peter's Basilica sits on Saint Peter's Square, a top religious and tourist destination. Many important art works, including Michelangelo's famous Pieta, are in the church. You can also visit the Pope's tombs.
Vatican City Transportation and Tourist Information:
The closest Metro stop to the museum entrance is Cipro-Musei Vaticani near Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie, where there is also a parking garage. Bus 49 stops near the entrance and tram 19 also stops nearby. A number of buses go close to Vatican City (see links below).
The Swiss Guard:
Castel Sant Angelo:
Special Visits and Useful Links:
- The Pope: The Pope holds Wednesday General Audiences with the Holy Father at 10:30 but you must have a ticket to attend (see link below) or you can reserve tickets for the Papal Audience through Select Italy. On Sundays at noon, the Pope delivers a blessing from his window for people gathered in St. Peter's Square except during summer when he's at his summer residence. The Pope also presides over special services and masses.
- Vatican Gardens: 23 hectares of beautiful gardens with a small villa and medieval fortifications seperate the Vatican from Rome on the north and west sides. Guided tours of the gardens are available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays by sending a request to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Underground Vatican: You can visit the Tomb of St. Peter and the Vatican excavations on a guided visit by reservation only. See link below for details.
- St. Peter's Dome: St. Peter's spectacular dome can be visited for a fee, 8AM-5:45 (4:45, October-March). Entrance is from the right side of the Basilica's porch.
- Guided Tours: Although I'm not a big fan of guided tours, I was very happy to have one at the Vatican. The Vatican Museum is huge and crowded so having someone knowledgeable to direct me and tell me interesting information about the Museum and its displays, the Sistine Chapel, and Saint Peter's Basilica was very useful and made my visit more enjoyable. I took a tour with Miles&Miles. Select Italy offers a Raphael and Michelangelo Tour that includes the Museums, Sistine Chapel, and Raphael Rooms of Pope Julius II. Here are more Vatican Museums guided tours that can be arranged before you go.
Useful Links for Visiting Vatican City: