Travel information about Vatican City,Rome

About Vatican City

Known officially as the State of the Vatican City, the Vatican happens to be the capital of the Roman Catholic Church. Making for the smallest independent country of the world, Vatican City is known popularly for its architectural marvels. Packed with historical and religious buildings, this small nation has a charm of its own. Vatican City was founded during the 326 A.D. With the growth of housing and population, the very first palace came into existence during the rule of Pope Symmachus in the fifth century.

How to Reach Vatican City

The nearest airport to Vatican City is Leonardo da Vinci International Airport (FCO) in Rome, which is located at an approximate distance of around 27.8 kilometers from the country. The Vatican is directly connected to the airport by both roadways and railways.

By Road: The cheapest way to reach Vatican City from Rome Airport (FCO) is by driving, which generally takes around 26 minutes.

By Rail: Visitors to the Vatican City can also take a direct train to reach the Vatican from the airport. Direct trains depart daily from Fiumicino Aeroporto every 30 minutes and reach the destination in 26 minutes.

By Bus: Tourists can even take direct buses to the Vatican from Rome Airport (FCO), which will take them about 30 minutes to reach their destination. Daily direct buses generally depart from the Rome Fiumicino Airport Bus Station every 30 minutes.

Best Time to Visit Vatican City

The low season for tourism activity in Vatican City happens to be the winter months from late November to early December and from mid-January to late February, except New year holidays and Christmas. This implies that there is less crowd in the country during this time, which makes for the most ideal season for visiting the Vatican.

Since the museums and the other important tourist places of the country remain closed during Sundays, almost all the weekenders flock to these destinations on Saturday making them too crowded. Hence, Fridays are generally considered as the best day of the week for visiting the major attractions of Vatican City, with Thursdays and Tuesdays making for a considerable second option.

The best time of the day to head to the top tourist destinations of Vatican City is early afternoon. During this time the rush remains low and there is less crowd at the various historical and religious destinations.

What Not to Miss at Vatican City

A plethora of popular tourist attractions are located in the Vatican City. Here are some of the important places you’ll like to pay a visit to when you are in the Vatican:

1. The Vatican Gardens- Vatican City has got over half of its area covered with beautiful parks and lush green gardens. The Vatican Gardens are positioned right behind Saint Peter’s Basilica and the iconic Vatican Museums and have an area of near about 23 hectares.

The Vatican Gardens can be visited from Monday to Saturday and the place remains closed on Catholic holidays and Sundays. In order to pay a visit to these beautiful gardens, you need to make an advance booking. Tourists tour the gardens in electric buses and each tour lasts till 45 minutes.

2. The Sistine Chapel- The majestic Sistine Chapel is popular all over the world owing to the incredibly mesmerizing ceiling architecture of Michelangelo. Forming an important highlight of the tour of the Vatican Museums, this iconic Chapel is counted among the most crucial artistic treasures of the world.

The Sistine Chapel can be visited from 9 AM to 6 PM, from Monday to Saturday. The Chapel remains closed on Sundays, except on the month’s last Sunday when visitors are welcomed from 9 AM to 2 PM. It is important to note that no pictures can be taken inside the Sistine Chapel and silence should be maintained in its premises. It is suggested to head towards the perimeter and grab a seat as it is of course a much more comfortable way of marveling the wall and ceiling murals.

3. The Vatican Museums- The world-famous Vatican Museums is home to many of the world’s most popular and beautiful art pieces, including the mesmerizing works of Michelangelo and Raphael. The museum also shelters artifacts and arts from the Roman Empire, ancient Greece, and ancient Egypt, most of which happen to be the collections of the popes over the ages.

The important highlights of the Vatican Museums include the Gallery of Maps, the Raphael Rooms, and the Etruscan sculptures. The Vatican Museums can be visited from 9 AM to 6PM, on all days of the week except on Sunday. The last entry to the museum is at 4 PM. It is recommended to make advance bookings if you do not want to be a part of the long entry queues.

4. Castel Sant Angelo- Constructed along river Tiber’s shore in the 2nd century, Castel Sant Angelo happens to be a popular museum of the Vatican. Built as a mausoleum by the Rome Emperor Hadrian, the structure was transformed into a strong military fort in the fourteenth century.Tourists can book guided tours and visit the five floors of the museum or just sit at the café on the top floor and catch a glimpse of the mesmerizing vistas of Rome.