The Vatican City is the smallest independent state in the world and is walled enclaved in the City of Rome, capital of Italy. It is ruled by the Bishop of Rome, The Pope. The Pope is the leader of the Catholic Church. The current Pope is Pope Francis who suceeded Benedict XVI in March 2013. The colours of Rome are red and gold and the colours of the Vatican City are Yellow and White.
The historic city of Rome along with Vatican City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Have you ever visited any UNESCO World Heritage sites? Click here to see a map and a list of the World Heritage Sites.
The Independent state which came into creation in 1929 by the lateran treaty between the Holy see and the Kingdom of Italy and has military presence known as the Pontifical Swiss Guard. They are a small force maintained by Vatican City and responsible for the safety of the Pope. They don’t appear dangerous but these guards are highly trained and skilled in the art of combat.
The Main reason we visited Vatican City was to visit cultural sites such as St.Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. These buildings feature some of the World’s most famous paintings and sculptures from famous Renaissance artists like Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio.
To anybody visiting the area i would recommend paying for the Omni Pass which gets you free admission into St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. Simply arrive at the Omni ticket office which is situated in St Peter’s Square and then at an arranged time with a group you can jump the queues of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum. Also the Omni pass lets you hop on/hop off the Roma Cristiano bus which tours around Rome and the Vatican city and will also give free admission into some of the other historic sites. For further details on the Omni pass click here to take you to their website.
St Peter’s Basilica was designed by a number of architects, Donato Bramante, Michelangelo and Carlo Maderno. It is one of the largest churches in the world. St Peter was one of the twelve apostles and died a martyr, It is here where his burial site is. His tomb lies directly beneath Bernini’s Baldacchino. St Peter is recognised by the catholic church as the first Pope of Rome instructed by Jesus Christ. There are many other tombs of different popes from throughout the centuries lying below the Basilica.
If you ever visit Vatican City you must visit the Vatican Museums. It displays some of the most important masterpieces of Renaissance Art the world has seen. An impressive collection of sculptures and art collected by various popes throughout the centuries. The Museum was founded by Pope Julius II who also commissioned Michaelangelo’s decoration of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo originally refused to paint the ceiling of the Sistine chapel and at one stage offered it to one of his closest rivals Raphael but Pope Julius II insisted Michelangelo do it and he eventually agreed. Michelangelo who probably contorted his body and neck in order to paint the ceiling worked on it between the years of 1508 – 1512.
Raphael, also famous for his frescos painted a suite of reception rooms dedicated to the Vatican Palace, these are known as the Raphael Rooms. This was Raphael’s largest body of work during his career. At the age of 37 Raphael died but his assistants in his workshop finished the project.
There are dozens of galleries within the Vatican Museums. Artwork by famous painters such as Leonardo Di Vinci, Raphael, Caravaggio, Titian, Claude Monet, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Salvador Dali and much more. The main highlights are the Gallery of Maps, Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel. All are pretty amazing. It’s ridiculous how much art is presented to you.
Having finished touring the Vatican Museums back onto the streets of Vatican City we go. I would advise to give yourself a lot of time touring these sites so best come here in the morning. When hanging out in St Peter’s Square you’ll notice it’s busy with crowds of people, queues, taxis, some beggars and you’ll probably get hassled to buy a ‘selfie stick‘ which seems to be the latest craze in tourist hot spots in Italy.
After a day of feasting eyes on priceless art and architecture all relating to the world of catholicism, if you want you can pick up a gift from one of the many souvenir shops around St Peter’s Square promoting Vatican City, Rome or Italy. But for now I’m away for a cold Peroni beer and as they say in Italy, Arrivederci!
~ All photos taken by myself except those which are marked * taken by Lisa-Marie ~ February 2015