In case you weren’t already aware, Vatican City is a country within a city within a country. Nestled within the city of Rome, Italy, is a tiny little country run by the Catholic church. It’s true. They even have their own flag.
If that sounds like some crazy form of inception to you. Well…it is.
I visited Vatican City in 2007 when my husband and I were on our honeymoon and touring Italy. One of the must-do things when visiting Rome is the check out the Vatican, so we did.
Nobody who has been to the Vatican can say that it isn’t impressive. The place is seriously massive and everything in it is elaborate and ornate. If you’re into classical art, you just hit the mother lode. The Vatican Museums are full of masterpieces of painting, sculpture, and other art forms that the popes have been collecting through the centuries. Not to mention, there is the Chapel of Beato Angelico, the Raphael Rooms, Loggia, and the Borgia Apartment. Then there’s the Sistine Chapel, the masterpiece of Michelangelo himself. No photo I’ve ever seen has done it credit. When I stepped into that room, my jaw dropped. It really is one of those things you have to see in person.
And then there’s St. Peter’s Basilica. If you’ve ever seen a large, elaborate church, this one will blow it out of the water in terms of the sheer scale of the thing. All I could think when I was in there was how much it must have cost to build.
I didn’t catch a glimpse of the Pope. I don’t think he was in town during my particular visit, which was OK because the crowds would have been much heavier if the Pope had been there and I’m never one for claustrophobia.
All in all, I was impressed with the Vatican and had a great day exploring the little city-state. If you’re in Rome, I highly recommend dedicating a day to exploring all the Vatican has to offer. Keep in mind that at certain times, namely when the Pope is making an appearance and also during heavy tourist season, the Vatican can get crowded. If you want to make sure you gain entrance into the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica, definitely check ahead of time to make sure you have all the necessary information. I recommend The Rome Toolkit for a good source of information. You can check out their information on visiting St. Peter’s Basilica here, and visiting the Vatican Museums here.