The Vatican City in Rome is the world’s center of Catholicism, Christian religion that traces its history from I century AD and embraces today more than 1.4 billion people all around the world.
The Vatican City State became an independent state in 1929. It was established as such with the Lateran Treaty. Vatican's influence, location and meaning to the world makes it a historical phenomenon, unique and unprecedented in many ways. By visiting this Catholic “kingdom” tourists not only visit the smallest country in the world that is also enclaved into a city of another country, but get in touch with a spiritual place full of art, beauty and centuries of history. It goes without saying that the Vatican City State with the St. Peter's Basilica is the heart of Catholicism and a place number one to visit for Catholics from all around the globe.
In addition, the Vatican City in Rome is not only a religious center. Together with the biggest Basilica in the world, the famous St. Peter's Square and the Vatican Museums it has become a colossal masterpiece in itself. With its long and diverse history Vatican has always been focused on art and today this place is a concentration of the biggest collections of the best works of art ever. All of this makes the Vatican City one of the first must-see landmarks to see on the long list of Roman attractions.
Infinite art galleries united under the roof of one museum are the Vatican Museums. They consist of long enfilades with art everywhere from the floor to the ceiling. The Vatican Museums contain also Michelangelo’s legendary masterpiece - the Sistine Chapel, which is a once-in-a-life-time-place-to-see for any tourist.
St. Peter’s Basilica - the biggest church in the world - is situated nearby the Vatican Museums. You will definitely want to enter it and enjoy the beauty inside. After that, you can’t miss going up the ladders that lead you to the roof of the St. Peter’s Church and give you a breathtaking panoramic view on Rome. Returning back from the Vatican’s “heaven” you can explore an amazing landmark - St. Peter’s Square.
Castel Sant’Angelo and Ponte Sant’Angelo (Aelius Bridge in Roman times) also belong to the Vatican. This place is about 2000 years old and extremely rich in historical twists and turns. It is only a 15-minutes walk from St. Peter’s Basilica and you absolutely can’t pass it by whether you are heading to visit the Vatican or exploring the city of Rome in the vicinity to it.
Take metro and go to either Cipro (Red Line A) or Ottaviano station. In fact, Cipro is the closest station, but the route from it to the Vatican is a bit curvy. Ottaviano route takes almost as much time (slightly more), but you would need to go straight along a big road and then turn right, which makes it harder to get lost in case if you are prone to it.
By bus: № 32, 81, 982, 492, 990
In order to reach the Sistine Chapel one needs to enter the Vatican Museums and go a pretty long way through gorgeous art enfilades to reach the Sistine Chapel.
No, because actually there is no customs area or passport checks that mark the line between Rome and the Vatican. For a person who is not intending to reach any particular place in Rome the Vatican would seem just another Roman district.
But when you want to enter the Vatican museums you will need to enter the door In Vaile Vaticano. This place is usually marked with a very long queue, so you can’t miss it.
Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace is his usual summer residence from July to September. In winter he resides at the Apostolic Palace, which is the official residence and is located in Vatican City.
There are 2 ways for summer. The first one is to go 25 miles from Rome to Pope’s residence at Castel Gandolfo. You can see him at noon on Sunday, just a show up. The second opportunity is visiting the more formal appearance on Wednesday, when the Pope blesses crowds from a balcony.
In winter he gives a speech in the Aula Paola VI Auditorium next to the square. It’s possible to see him from a distance or to take a free ticket a day before, i.e. on Tuesday.