For a visit to Vatican City, plan at least a full morning or afternoon. Not only because of its often endless queues, more importantly, there is plenty to see in the autonomous city state. For example the Basilica di San Pietro, Musei Vaticani and the Cappella Sistina. Travelling by metro? Get off at Ottaviano (line A).
Images from the St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City have become famous all across the globe. Each year for Easter, the Pope gives his blessing to the city and the world with his ‘urbi et orbi’ address. Tens of thousands of believers, pilgrims and tourists fill the square to listen to the Pope’s speech.When on the St. Peter’s Square, the St. Peter’s Basilica is hard to miss. In the Catholic faith, this holy structure remains the most important church and is supposedly built on Peter’s grave. The basilica, embellished with Michelangelo’s works, is free to enter. Entering the dome costs a couple of euros.
Musea Vaticani, a series of museums and palaces adjacent to the St. Peter’s Basilica, where the Vatican houses its art collection. For example, the Sistine Chapel, boasting works of astonishing beauty, created by Michelangelo. From the basilica, the entrance to the museums is a 10 minute stroll. Some museums charge admission. Queues might form at the entrance. Must: Go for a saunter along Vatican City’s well-kept gardens, with monumental fountains and sculptures. Talking about sculptures, Museo Pio Clementio displays a bunch of them. For example, a bust of former emperor Julius Caesar. Book tickets ahead. For prices, opening times and tickets, check the website.
National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo
Castel Sant’Angelo on the west bank of the Tiber is also part of Vatican City. Known as Castle of the Holy Angel, as angels guard the castle on both sides of the bridge. The monumental building dates back to as far as the 2nd century. Castel Sant’Angelo houses the National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo.