The Vatican is classified as a city-state and Rome surrounds it. It’s the base of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope resides within the Vatican City and it’s also a treasure trove of architecture and art.
According to a 2012 census, the population of the Vatican City is just 451. Its currency is the Euro and it has four official languages, which are French, Latin, German and Italian.
Vatican City Art is Exquisite
If you visit the city-state’s impressive museums, you’ll see a host of sculptures which are Roman and ancient. For example, the famous sculpture known as Laocoon and His Sons, which is crafted from white marble, is displayed at the Vatican Museums . Also, there are an array of frescoes which date back to the Renaissance on display within the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms.
In particular, the Sistine Chapel is a popular attraction as it features a ceiling which was painted by Michelangelo. This chapel is located within the Apostolic Palace. The Apostolic Palace is the Pope’s official residence. Initially, the Sistine Chapel was named, Capella Magna. Later, it was renamed for a Pope (Sixtus IV), who oversaw the chapel’s restoration between 1477 and 1480.
Can You Visit the Vatican City?
If you’re interested in traveling to Rome in order to explore this fabled and mysterious city-state, which is steeped in history and religious significance, you should know that the Vatican City is only accessible to tourists via its Vatican Museums. Our best advice is to visit the official Vatican City Museums website, where you may book entrance to the museums ahead of time. If you don’t do so, you may risk disappointment!
Tourists flock to the Vatican City while they are spending time in Rome. Many are interested in viewing the art and seeing the home of the current Pope, Francis, who is the 266th Pope to reside with the Vatican City.
More Tips for Visitors
The stunning museums of the Vatican are not open on Sunday, except on the final Sunday of each month. If you choose to visit the Vatican Museums during the last Sunday of a month, you’ll be admitted free of charge. Otherwise, you will have to pay for your museum experience.
If you want to see Pope Francis during your visit, as so many people do, you should know that he performs a papal audience within St. Peter’s Square on Wednesdays. The papal audiences usually happen between noon and one in the afternoon. However, Pope Francis usually goes on vacation at the end of July and stays away for the month of August, so keep this in mind when you’re planning your travel dates.
In our expert opinion, the cold-weather months are preferable if you want to beat the crowds and enjoy a more serene Vatican City tour. So, consider visiting in December, or exploring the museums and other attractions during January or February.
Naturally, it’s nice to visit during the summer, when the weather is more likely to be pleasant. However, if you do, you may expect big crowds.