The Vatican is unique. It's not only the smallest sovereign country in the world, it's also completed surrounded by a city — Rome. It's so small that it only contains St Peter's Basilica, the buildings housing the Vatican Museums, and Catholic church headquarters. Interestingly, there is only one entrance to the Vatican, through the gates of St Peter's Square.
For such a small state, it contains one of the world's greatest collections of art and architecture, particularly Renaissance architecture. Because it's owned by the Catholic church, there are rules that don't apply to the rest of Rome — like a definite dress code. Our Vatican guides tell you what you need know to plan your visit and also include insider's tips on how to avoid the looong lines!
With so many art treasures attracting so many people, there are always long lines at the Vatican Museums . Our advice remains the same — avoid the lines by signing up for a VIP skip-the-line tour.
Walk past the lineups as your expert guide leads you to most famous works of art in the museum. We also recommend another activity that combines two walking tours in one day. There are private tours and, our favourite, a visit that includes lunch at the Vatican. Be sure to read our recommendations.
It's an important religious centre, but St Peter's also contains some of the best Italian Renaissance statues and paintings. In addition, the basilica itself is an important work of art, designed by Michelangelo, Bernini, and Raphael.
We're keen on a particular skip-the-line tour that also gets you to the top of the dome. We'll also tell you about ten highlights of St Peter's. Want to find the spot where Charlemagne was crowned?
An awful lot of people visit the Vatican, and it's hard to feel like an insider. But that didn't stop us.
We've collected tours that treat you like a VIP, let you skip the long lineups, visit the Sistine Chapel without the crowds, and get you behind the scenes into secret room not open to the public. But they're open to you!
The Vatican is a small place. It's the tiniest country on Earth — it's even smaller than some of Rome's parks! But, still, it's always good to have a map.
So, we thought we'd share with you our favourite maps of Vatican City, both online and portable. We might even share a few map secrets!
We like to go deep, and at the Vatican that means discovering the secrets, statistics, and scandals that you won't learn by looking at paintings.
Did you know that in the 19th century the popes did not leave the Vatican for a period of fifty years? Or that the current St Peter's Basilica replaced a church that was built by Constantine? Or that two stories beneath the Vatican lies an ancient Roman mausoleum? Didn't think so.