Measuring 0.44km², Vatican City is only a quarter the size of the second smallest country in the world which is Monaco.
Located on the western outskirts of Rome, the country formally gained independence from Italy in 1929 when it was declared a City-State under the Lateran Treaty whereby the Holy See, of whom the Pope is the head of state, would have complete jurisdiction and sovereignty of the City State.
Although tiny in terms of area, Vatican city has much of interest for the tourist and visitor. Along with many museums are some of the oldest and most historic buildings in the world. In fact the whole city was in 1984 made a UNESCO World heritage site.
The prominent Renaissance and Baroque architecture and the many famous murals by the likes of Michelangelo attract millions of visitors every year and with just reason, there truly is no where like it on the planet.
Visiting Vatican City does not require the production of a passport and people are free to move in and out of the walled city without restriction. A few areas are out of bounds to tourists such as the Gardens but access is freely granted to the streets and St Marks Square. Many of the City’s historic and world known buildings including the Sistine Chapel are open to the public and operate as museums for an entrance fee.
Popular Buildings, Monuments and Museums of Vatican City:
- St Peters Square.
- Sistine Chapel.
- Vatican Library ( open to public who can prove the need to use for research ).
- Papal Art Museum.
- Apostolico Palace – The Popes official residence.
- St Peters Basilica.
- Vatican Pharmacy – The busiest in the world.
- Vatican Post office
Getting to the City:
Access is only via foot and visitors likely to be coming from central Rome would be best suited to arrive via Metro, although other public transport, taxis and buses are also available.
Nearest Metro Stations – Cipro and Ottaviano.