10 largest cities in Italy
Vatican is an independent city state on the outskirts of Rome. It is ruled by theocratic government of the Roman Catholic Church. Vatican is the official residence of the Catholic pope.
Piazza San Pietro
Tel. 06- 6988 3731
Subway: Ottaviano S. Pietro
Bus: 23, 40, 49, 64, 81, 491
Open: 7am- 7pm Thu- Tue
1- 6pm Wed
Oct- March 7am- 6pm
Open: 8am- 6pm daily
Oct- March 8am- 5pm
Open: 9am- 6pm daily
Oct- March 9am- 5pm
Open: 9am- 6pm daily
Cathedral of Saint Peter stands in the center of Vatican, one of the
most sacred sights for Catholics around the World. According to a
Christian tradition current church sits on top of burial site of
Christ's apostle Saint Peter. A shrine was erected on top of his
tomb as early as second century. In the fourth century emperor
Constantine, first open Christian ruler of the Roman empire erected
the first basilica to honor the saint. Current magnificent
Renaissance cathedral was commissioned in 1506 during rule of Pope
Julius II. He managed to gather all workers of the time to construct
a magnificent church. It took over a century to complete Saint
Peter. However parts of the original basilica have been preserved in
various parts of the current Saint Peter's Cathedral.
The Dome of Saint Peter's Cathedral measures at 137 meters (448 feet). It was designated by great artist Michelangelo. However he didn't live long enough to see his creation completed in 1590. However Michelangelo did complete one of the most famous statues in the World known as Pieta. It was completed in 1499 when great artist was 25 years old. Today it stands behind a bullet proof glass after an attack of 1972.
Piazza San Pietro or Saint Peter's Square in front of a Saint Peter's Cathedral is most visited site in Vatican. It is surrounded by a colonnade designated by artist Bernini.
Castel Sant' Angelo (Vatican)
Lungotevere Castello 50
Tel. 06- 681 9111
Bus: 23, 34, 40, 280
Open: Tue- Sun
Closed: public holidays
Castel Sant' Angelo or Castle of Saint Angel is a massive cylindrical fortress named after Archangel Michael. Originally the castle was constructed in 139 AD by Emperor Hadrian as a mausoleum for himself. Later it was turned into a medieval citadel and a prison. In the 6th century Castel Sant' Angelo got its official name. According to a common believe pope Gregory the Great who lived in the 6th century had a vision during a plague that struck Vatican and Rome. In his dream Roman pope saw Archangel Michael lead a procession across a river to salvation at Castel Sant' Angelo. Amazingly Castel Sant' Angelo kept many of its original rooms in perfect condition. This includes prison cells that used to keep inmates as well as private apartments for Roman popes who used to hide here in the time of civil unrest.
Vatican Museums (Vatican)
Citta del Vaticano (entrance from Viale Vaticano)
Tel. 06- 6988 4947
Subway: Ottaviano S. Pietro, Cipro Musei Vaticani
Bus: 23, 49, 81, 492, 990
Open: 9am- 6pm (last admission to museum at 4pm) Mon- Sat
8:30am- 2:30pm (last admission to museum at 12:30pm) last Sunday of the month
Vatican Museum is one of the largest and most interesting museum of art in the World. During four centuries its collection was filled with the best examples of Classical and Renaissance art.
The Sistine Chapel (Vatican)
The Sistine Chapel was constructed in 1473 during reign of pope Sixtus IV. The chapel was also named after him. This religious building is most famous for beautiful frescoes of artist Michelangelo. Works like the Creation of the World, the Last Judgement, Fall of Man and many others are World famous. Additionally frescoes of Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Roselli, Signorelli and many others adore walls of the Sistine Chapel.