Vatican City

Vatican City is a walled city that is located entirely within Rome, Italy’s capital city. It is a very small city only about 110 acres in size with a small population of only 800. However it is a popular destination due to the religious importance of the location and the fact that the Pope resides there. Many people are interested in visiting here.

When to go

Vatican City has a Mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. Keep this in mind when planning your Vatican City vacation.

Where to stay

It is important for visitors to know that there are no hotels or lodging options actually within Vatican City itself. However, there are numerous hotels in Rome located just outside of Vatican City. There is a youth hostel, several mid-range hotel, some bed and breakfasts and a few name brand hotels like a Best Western.

Vatican City Attractions

There are some key things that you absolutely do not want to miss if you get the opportunity to travel to Vatican City. Those things are:

  • The Vatican Gardens. More than half of Vatican City is made up of parks and gardens collectively called The Vatican Gardens. These gardens were established during the Renaissance and Baroque periods but remain maintained and beautiful to this day. They are reported to have a spiritual/ religious history, which you can learn about while you are there. However, even if you aren’t interested in this history you can definitely enjoy the beauty of the parkland during your trip.
  • Saint Peter’s Basilica and Piazza. This is a late Renaissance church that has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world. It holds over 60,000 people. It is considered to be one of the holiest Catholic sites in the world. The dome was designed by Michaelangelo. Outside of the church is the piazza, popular for its fountains and obelisk.
  • Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum. This famous artistic chapel is located in the Apostolic Chapel, which is where the Pope lives. It is part of a larger art museum that is considered to be one of the most amazing art museums in the world. You simply can’t visit Vatican City without checking out this amazing treasure of a place.
  • The Pope. It’s tough to get a chance to see the Pope. However you can contact the Vatican Tourist Office to get information about the Pope’s schedule for a better opportunity of seeing him.
  • Swiss Guards. You’re a lot more likely to see the famous Swiss Guards that serve as security for The Vatican. Keep your eye out for their unusual dress.

Guided Tours of Vatican City

Top guided tours here include:

  • Vatican Tours. You can enjoy a guided tour by The Vatican itself. It is important to make your reservations at least two months in advance.
  • Various private tours. There are many private tour operators that also give guided tours of Vatican City hitting all of the major hot spots.
  • Roman tours. Many private tours of Rome include tours of Vatican City.

Vatican City Day Trips

Vatican City is a great travel destination but it’s typically only one thing that you’ll want to see on a trip to this part of Italy. Some of the other things that you’ll want to visit in this area include:

  • The highlights of Rome. Vatican City is located inside of Rome so of course you will want to check out all that there is to see around it.
  • Naples. This great Italian city is located only about 115 miles away from Vatican City so it makes for a great day trip destination.
  • Venice. This great Italian city is located about 300 miles away from Vatican City so plan a full day and overnight stay here. It’s well worth it!
  • San Marino. This is a country of its own that is entirely surrounded by Italy (in much the same way that Vatican City is surrounded by Rome). It’s also a good day trip destination for Vatican City visitors.

Miscellaneous Vatican City Travel Info

  • This is the only city in the world where people actually speak the dead language of Latin. That’s an interesting perk for nerdy travelers. The main language, however, is Italian.
  • Remember that this is a Papal State and a religious spot. Be appropriately respectful during your stay.
  • It’s busy and crowded in Vatican City. Plan plenty of time throughout the day for your stay and make advance reservations for a Vatican tour if you can.

Transportation in Vatican City

This city is a tiny city and you will get around it by walking. Make sure that you wear comfortable shoes! People typically get into the city from Rome by either bus or taxi.