Vatican City (The Holy See) is a walled country within the city of Rome. It has an area of 110 acres and a population of an around 800 people. Thus, it is the smallest country in the world, both by area and population. Traditionally, the bishop of Rome, who happens to be the Pope, rules over the country.

Many tourists visit because of the religious status of the place, as well as the exquisite artwork that it boasts. The artwork which resides there is some of the most famous and valuable in the world. Furthermore, most of the renowned artists to have ever lived, like Raphael and Michelangelo, have worked on the interiors and exteriors of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. 

Things to Do In Vatican City

The entire state of Vatican City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the only state in the world, which deserved this honor. The reason is the plethora of magnificent artwork, which can be found here. For example, the frescos of the Sistine Chapel were created by Michelangelo and Botticelli.

You absolutely must see the Sistine Chapel Ceiling, if you travel to the Vatican. Keep in mind that every last Sunday of the month Vatican Museums (along with the Sistine Chapel) are free to enter. However, you should come early in the morning, to get inside before they close. Even during the slow season, a lot of tourists eagerly gather to visit on Sundays.

When to Go

The best time to visit Vatican City is late spring and early autumn. It is sunny and warm, but not as crowded as during the summer.

What to Wear

It depends on the season. It’s hot in summer, warm during spring and autumn. However, the winter can be rather chilly.

Language

The official languages of Vatican City are Italian and Latin. However, since it is a popular tourist destination, English is also spoken freely.

Currency

The official currency is the Euro. If you have U.S. Dollars or any other currency, exchange it in Rome, before coming to Vatican City. Souvenir shops usually accept credit cards. However, it is better to have cash too, as there are no ATMs inside Vatican City.

Local SIM Card & Free WiFi

Vatican City is a part of Italy, so the mobile connection is no problem at all. Furthermore, Italy has perfect mobile and Internet coverage. Local SIM cards are widely available if you have a European, Australian or unlocked US phone. However, before coming to Italy, check with your service provider, to make sure it is compatible. 

The main mobile companies are Vodafone, Wind, and TIM. It costs approximately 10 Euro to activate a prepaid SIM card. Keep in mind, you will need to provide your passport or ID card to register it. Recharge cards are available in tobacconists, as well as some supermarkets, bars, and banks. 

There are numerous Wi-Fi hotspots in tourist centers, such as Rome, Bologna, and Venice. However, to use them, usually, you will need a credit card or an Italian mobile number. So, in most cases, going to a cafe or a restaurant with free Wi-Fi would be easier. 

Most hotels, guest houses, and hostels also offer free Internet for their guests. However, the quality of connection varies. Some accommodations offer guest computers as well.

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Culture

The Christian faith venerates Vatican City since the Pope is the spiritual leader of the religion and also the ruler of the country. The city/country has a collection of cultural sites such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums. These contain some of the most prominent art and sculptures in the world. Various tourists from all over the world visit the city throughout the year.

Local Cuisine

As it is the smallest country in the world, it doesn’t have its own cuisine. However, centuries ago, when the Pope’s lands were much bigger, they had their distinct cuisine in the area.

Even now, the historic district of Borgo Pio, situated around the Vatican City, has a local market and many independent food shops. The City is also surrounded by numerous restaurants, which serve traditional Roman cuisine, one of the most colorful and diverse in the country.

Electricity & Plug Type

Vatican City uses types F and L sockets, as the whole of Italy does. You need to bring a travel adapter to fit the proper socket type. Check out the above-linked page to see photos and other useful information. The standard voltage is 220 V.  Many of your devices may need a step-up transformer to match the electrical voltage. 

How to Arrive

By Plane

Come by plane to Rome and then take a bus or a taxi to Vatican City.

By Rail

The Vatican City has its own small railway, which runs from Vatican City into Italy.

By Bus

To get to Vatican City from Rome, take one of the following bus routes:

#64 is the most frequently used by travelers. It starts from Termini railway station and goes through Piazza Venezia and Argentina.

#60 connects Repubblica, the Spanish Steps, Piazza Venezia, and Argentina.

#40 is an express bus. It starts from Termini railway station and then continues to Piazza Venezia, and Argentina.

#62 and #40 stop between the Castel Sant’ Angelo and the Piazza San Pietro. On the other hand, #64 stops south of the Piazza and Basilica. From any one of these bus stops you will have to take a short walk to the Basilica or the Vatican Museums.

By Tram

If you prefer tram as a way of transportation, take tram #8 to the Trastevere neighborhood. But you will have to take a walk along the river to the Vatican.

By Metro

If you prefer the subway to all other means of transport, you can take the Rome Metro red line (line A) to wither Ottaviano, or the Cipro stops. Ottaviano is closer to St. Peter’s Basilica, but Cipro is closer to the Vatican Museums. However, from both stations, it’s about 10 minutes by foot to the Vatican City.

Where to Stay

You can’t stay inside the Vatican City. However, in Rome, accommodations are plentiful and suitable for every taste and budget.

How Safe is Vatican City

Vatican City is generally safe. However, as in most crowded tourist destinations, you should be aware of your valuables. Keep your eyes open for pick picketers and other frauds.

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May 10, 2016 12:00 am Published by 1 Comment

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