The Vatican watchfully overlooks Rome
from a nearby hill on the banks of the Tiber River. Imagine! This
little piece of the world is one of the most socially influential and
historically rich places on Earth. While the time of its greatest
glory has passed, the city continues to embody the crucial elements of
Rome's cultural past and present. Visiting Vatican City is an
experience to savor.
You might not know that the Vatican City has been a sovereign state since 1929 as per the Lateran Treaty. Today, it serves as the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church as well as a home to its government, including the Bishop of Rome, (the pope) and the College of Cardinals (the pope's cabinet).
However, its history spans as far as the 1st century AD, the time of birth of the Catholic Church. Politically speaking, the Church reached the pinnacle of its power from the 9th century all the way through the Renaissance period. Gradually, the Popes took on more and more governing power and eventually ended up ruling all the regions surrounding Rome (Papal States). Its political power ended (after fairly decent 1000 years of rule) with the unification of Italy but the bickering kept going.
Today, Vatican City has its very own banking system, post office, telephone system, astronomical observatory, gardens, radio station, pharmacy, and security in form of Swiss Guards. However, almost all essential supplies such as food, water, gas, and electricity must be imported. The country gets its income from the contributions of more than a billion Roman Catholics all over the world, as well as the sale of publications, stamps, and coins.
Most of the artistic masterpieces and architectural wonders that attract travelers today date to the golden years of Papal States. Grand artists such as Raphael, Michelangelo, and Sandro Botticelli made their mark the St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. People from all over the world, from all backgrounds and all religions, come here to admire the depth and beauty only centuries of work and dedication can create. Scroll down and explore things to do in the Vatican!
Purchasing our Vatican tickets online with Sistine Chapel Tickets will give you access to all Vatican museums, Sistine Chapel, as well as St. Peter’s Basilica.
Not eager to queue for hours to get inside? Buy our skip-the-line St Peter's Basilica Tickets and enjoy the visit accompanied by an informative audio guide!