Vatican, Rome

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  • St. Peter's Basilica seen from Castel Sant'Angelo
    St. Peter's Basilica seen from Castel...
    by Jefie
  • right side of the square Saint Peter
    right side of the square Saint Peter
    by gwened
  • square saint peter and the obelisk
    square saint peter and the obelisk
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  • Donna_in_India's Profile Photo

    Amazing and Enormous

    by Donna_in_India Updated Apr 17, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We stopped for a really good pizza and cappuccino outside the Vatican museum before walking to San Pietro’s Basilica (St. Peter’s Basilica). As you enter the Piazza San Pietro it’s easy to imagine how it must be when thousands and thousands of worshipper’s gather to hear one of the Pope’s sermons, which he delivers from a balcony above. After a(nother) security check, we entered the church. It is really amazing - the altars, the ceiling, the stained glass windows – and it is enormous!

    We walked around for quite a while before getting on a very, very long line to make the climb to the top of the Basilica. It turned out that there was one very slow ticket man for hundreds and hundreds of people on line – in addition to one elevator that took about 10 people at a time up to the first level. After taking the elevator up the equivalent of 230 steps, we now had to climb 320 steps. The stairs were very narrow (claustrophobic!) and many portions wound around and around like in a lighthouse. Before the last part of the climb we reached a walkway around the top of the dome that was inside the church. It was pretty cool to look down on the people in the church who looked like ants! Fortunately we had a nice clear day and our reward for the long, hard climb was a spectacular view of Rome. The climb is a must do!

    Seeing the Pope: The easiest way to get tickets just days before the Wednesday General Audience with the Holy Father is to go to St. Peter's Square, find the Bronze Doors to the Apostolic Palace, and request them from the Swiss Guards.

    On Sundays at noon, the pope usually (if he's in town) appears at the second window from the right of the Apostolic Palace, to pray the Angelus and bless the crowd in the Square. Benedict XVI has continued this tradition, no ticket required.

    Hours:

    St. Peter's Basilica is open daily, Apr-Sep 7:00-19:00; Oct-Mar 7:00-18:00
    Treasury Museum: 9:00 - 18:15 (Apr - Sep) 9:00 - 17:15 p.m. (Oct - Mar)
    Grottoes: 7:00-18:00 (Apr - Sep) 7:00-17:00 (Oct - Mar)
    Cupola: 8:00 - 18:00 (Apr - Sep) 8:00 - 16:45 (Oct - Mar)

    Cost:
    Basilica (including grottoes) is free.
    Stairs to the dome €7; elevator to the dome €6.

    Dress code: The Dress Code is strictly enforced at St. Peter's Basilica. No shorts, bare shoulders or miniskirts. This applies to both men and women. Even if you get through security, you will be turned away by the attendants at the door.

    Photography: Permitted throughout (except in special necropolis tour).

    All visitor information is correct as of this writing.

    View from top of the Basilica San Pietro?s Basilica, Rome At entrance to San Pietro?s Basilica, Rome Inside San Pietro?s Basilica, Rome Inside San Pietro?s Basilica, Rome
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  • GuitarStan's Profile Photo

    Visiting the Vatican City.

    by GuitarStan Updated Jun 6, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Their is so much to see and do here! My wife and I spent a complete day in this area and probably only scratched the surface. St. Peters, the cuppola (the dome), Vatican Museum and on and on. I encourage you to climb up Michelangelo's dome. On your way down you can take a rest, go to the bathroom and get a drink on the roof of St. Peters! This is an area I had not heard of in my research of Rome. If one is looking at St. Peters Basilica from St. Peters Square you would be standing behind Bernini's statues of Christ and the apostles that adorn the top of the basilica. The view of Rome is beautiful from here, I believe it is the highest spot in all of Rome, since no high-rises are allowed. Taking pictures in the Sistine Chapel is forbidden! Guards are constantly yelling "NO PHOTO!" I really don't see the harm in taking pictures without flash, the frescoes are very high up and picture quality is questionable at any rate. We heard that one should go in the afternoon as opposed to morning as the crowds are thinner. We visited in the afternoon and had no trouble with the crowded Chapel.

    Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel........... The roof of St. Peters with dome in background. Small entrance to a Great Vatican Museum! The famous spiral ramp at exit of Vatican Museum.
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  • stevemt's Profile Photo

    The Vatican

    by stevemt Updated Sep 2, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The first thing I did in Rome was get a hop on hop off bus ticket valid for 24 hours. about the 5th stop for me was the Vatican, I got off and stayed there for most of the rest of the day.

    Its awe inspiring, inspirational, humbling in a way, a treasure trove of art works, a masterpiece of engineering, all this and more (and I am not Catholic)

    Entering St Peters Square is a feeling all on its own, you have seen this place in the news, in TV broadcasts, and suddenly here you are yourself. The symetry of the place is perfectand it does have a special feel.

    When you finally enter the Basilica (through the security control) and there is no fee to enter, a rareity these days, again you are overawed with the sheer size and beauty of the place. There is so much to see here, if you are one of the faithful, there is generally a service going on that you can partake in, or side chaples that you can have some quiet time in.

    The St Peter Catacombes are open to the public generally and are situated below the main altar. There are also a reasonable number of Sarcophagi on display, some with glass walls so you can actually see the odd Pope or 2 from the past.

    The Swiss Guards who guard the Vatican are all Swiss Nationals, and supposedly wear a uniform designed by Michaelangelo.

    The Musems I will write about seperatly along with the Sistine Chapel.

    St Peters from the square Part of the colonade showing the Pope's apartments Pope John XXIII A side chapel Swiss Guard
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  • sunchasers's Profile Photo

    Disneyland meets Catholicism

    by sunchasers Written Jun 28, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The be honest, the Vatican was weird! Not that we are particularly religious, but the impact of The Holy See did not hit us in that overpowering, epiphany-yielding sort of way one would assume it would. If anything, I felt more skeptical and suspect of this HUGE organisation. That being said, the Vatican is something that must be seen when in Rome. St. Peter's is nothing short of amazing. The work, detail and sheer size of this monument is really something to admire. Between climbing the dome, visiting the tomb of the Popes downstairs or walking around the inside of the basilica, you could easily spend an entire day here.

    Costs:
    St. Peter's Basilica - Free
    Dome of St. Peter's - approx 7EUR
    Tomb of Popes - approx 5EUR
    **Vatican Museum (incl. Sistine Chapel) - 13EUR

    **Please note that the last Sunday of each month is Free at Vatican Museum

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  • jenn5179's Profile Photo

    What to see at the Holy See....

    by jenn5179 Written Jan 21, 2008

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    The Vatican is an entire day of sightseeing in itself -- they are not kidding when they say get there early... the line is around the block by 8 in the morning!

    If you can afford the 45euro or so per person, hop in with a tour group. The line is shorter and you get someone to walk you through and explain lots of the pieces in the museum.
    The tour we took went through the museum and ended in the Sistine Chape,l

    From there, we explored the Sistine Chapel, headed back inside for a bite to eat in the cafeteria, and then got in line to climb the dome of St Peter's Basilica.

    After that, get in line to go under to the catacombs and see the tombs of past popes.

    Once you get inside St Peter's, walk the perimeter so as not to miss anything - there are so many beautiful areas inside. Plus, you will see some of the popes that were cannonized (made a saint) Papal law says if a pope is up for sainthood, their remains must be brought up to the basilicia for public viewing. It sounds gross, but it is somewhat amazing.

    After St Peter's, walk out the main doors into the square.

    I highly recommend that one plans on spending at least 6-8 hours on the premises so they can stop and enjoy all that is around them.
    Don't forget your camera, you can take photos in most places on the grounds.

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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    The Vatican

    by Jim_Eliason Written Nov 21, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Second only to the ruins of Ancient Rome the next must see sight of Rome is the Vatican. The Vatican exists as a seperate sovereign nation within the city of Rome. For more details see my Vatican City page.

    Vatican Vatican Vatican Vatican Vatican
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  • Managing St. Peter's and Vatican Museum

    by dariogquin Written Apr 16, 2007

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    I can't add anymore praises to what people have already said about this place. But I can add a tip on avoiding long lines. Try to visit the museum first, then climb the dome (if you are planning to), then visit the basilica last. Get in line at least 30 minutes before the museum opens. We were there around this time and the line was already one block long. Your last stop in the museum is the Sistine Chapel. There's a small exit to the very far right corner (with your back to the Last Judgment). Note that if you borrow an audio guide, you'll have to go back to the entrance to return it. From the Sistine Chapel exit, this leads out to the line for the dome and the popes tombs. This will also lead you directly to the basilica. If you leave the premises, say for lunch, then come back for the basilica in the afternoon, you'll have to fall in line again as they now have metal detectors for the basilica itself. I say we spent about 3-5 hours on the whole visit.

    View from the Dome Dome Vatican museum -- and the crowd! Basilica St. Peter's Basilica

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  • WheninRome's Profile Photo

    Vatican City and St. Peter's Basilica

    by WheninRome Updated Jan 24, 2009

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    Entering the Vatican City is awe-inspiring. Words again cannot do it justice and neither do the pictures I took. Wander through the square, look at the columns and statues, and wonder at the beauty of Vatican City.

    We waited in line about an hour to get into St. Peter's Basilica in vain. They stopped letting people in before we were anywhere close to the front of the line. See my Vatican Museum tip for the best way into St. Peter's.

    I recommend marielexoteria's VT Rome page for tips on getting a papal audience and the Vatican City excavation tour. I would have loved to do both of those, but tickets are hard to get and you must be in the know. Next time!
    http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/eaabc/23513/4/

    The Vatican Museum, Vatican City and St. Peter's Basilica are a full day in and of themselves. Don't skimp on time here.

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  • Jmill42's Profile Photo

    Vatican City

    by Jmill42 Updated Feb 8, 2006

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    An independent country all on its own in the middle of Rome, the Vatican's massive surrounding wall implies importance on every level. Holding within its boundaries the home of Catholicism, it has a feel of importance. Though the lines during high season can be ridiculuosly long, it is worth the wait. Within its walls are are some of the most famous works of man, the Sistine Chapel, La Pieta, and, for me, the most impressive building on Earth, St. Peters Basilica. The Vatican Museum, and all its works, are not to be missed.

    The Vatican City is spread apart all over Rome. An example is the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. While not having a towering wall surroundiong it like St. Peter's, it is nevertheless, a part of a different country!

    A view to St Peters
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  • maartenw's Profile Photo

    Vatican

    by maartenw Updated May 13, 2005

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    The square and the Cathedral of St.Peter are of an immense size and therefor capable of accomodating thousands of tourists. Waiting lines (for security scans) for entering the St.Peter disappear rapidly.
    Visiting the Vatican musea is a somewhat different story. Despite being huge as well, waiting lines can be rather long. Crowds continue inside, particularly when approaching the Sistine Chapel. If you take your time (at least half a day for St.Peter cathedral, square, crypt, cupola) and at least a day for the Vatican musea, you can see an amount of art you can see nowhere else.

    Dome of the St.Peter as seen from the museum. Benedict XVI making his first public appearance St.Peter, interior view.
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  • MonaOve's Profile Photo

    Planning your Vatican Visit

    by MonaOve Written May 12, 2010

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    Prior to coming to Rome I knew what I wanted to see: the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums and Saint Peter’s Basilica. The only thing I didn’t know was what differs these attractions, are they all in the same place? The older I am the more I know, so for all of these confused travelers I prepared a little explanation.

    The Vatican and the Holy See

    First of all you have to remember that the Vatican is a separate country, indeed the smallest in the world (about 0.2 square miles). Although there are people living there, none of them can feel too comfortable; they will never become permanent residents! Like every country, the Vatican has its own post office, bank and even its own butcher shop. Although you can’t actually go inside and buy the same beef that the Pope eats (unless you have special permission) you can send a postcard from the Vatican Post Office which is available to everyone (a lot of Romans say it works better than the Italian one!).
    The Holy See isn’t the same thing as the Vatican. The Vatican was established as a country only in 1929 whereas the Holy See has been in existence almost from the beginning of Christianity. The Holy See, “Santa Sede”, maintains the international relations and represents the Catholic Church on a worldwide arena. Let’s say colloquially that the Holy See acts like the government of the Church based within the territory of the Vatican.

    The Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel

    The Vatican Museums are some of the biggest in the world and although a lot of people say: “We would like to see the Vatican Museums and then the Sistine Chapel”, I’ll tell you: “Don’t worry, you will see both, because it’s not possible to reach the Sistine Chapel without passing through the Museums”. One important thing: Remember about the dress code! You have to have your knees and shoulders covered otherwise you risk not being allowed to enter the Sistine Chapel and the Basilica. Water bottles are allowed and strongly recommended as in the summer time the Museums get really hot! Also I’d recommend you going on a guided tour otherwise you might miss a lot. I used Rome Illuminated Tours. My guide Alex led me through the maze of corridors, galleries and courtyards bringing history to life with her wicked stories.

    The Basilica of Saint Peter

    While going to the Museums and Sistine Chapel means paying the entrance fee (15 euro adults; 8 students), going to the Basilica is free and accessible through Saint Peter’s Square. If you visit the Museums you can go to the Basilica using the right-side exit from the Sistine Chapel which will guarantee you skipping the line. Otherwise you might spend a while waiting to go inside. It is absolutely necessary to see this huge church dedicated to the first pope, Saint Peter. Geniuses like Michelangelo, Bramante, Bernini, and Fontana worked on it for 120 years, so need I say more to convince you?

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  • codrutz's Profile Photo

    The Vatican

    by codrutz Written Jan 21, 2006

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Of course every 12 years old knows that The Vatican is a very small state which fits inside a town. Maybe he or she also knows that this is the residence of the Pope, leading the catholic religious world. There are simply too many things about Vatican that can't be said here, so I will just say that visiting San Pietro church, San Pietro plaza and the Vatican Museums gives you an immense feeling of lost in history of religion. We have been there just a few months after the Pope John Paul the IInd passed into eternity and we saw the holy apartments. If you check out the pictures of this tip you can see how the Vatican looks like from the top of the San Pietro Basilica.

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    Pope's Appartments

    by codrutz Written Jan 21, 2006

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    The Pope's Apartment is located in the right wing of the ensemble around the San Pietro Basilica. We have learned while watching the last moments of Pope John Paul IInd that his apartment was at the right top of the building you see in the picture. Above that there is also the chimney smoke that tells people in the Piazza of San Pietro if there is or not a new Pope elected.

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  • chiara76's Profile Photo

    Vatican City.

    by chiara76 Written Nov 8, 2004

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    Being in Rome you should see the Vatican City. Some people go there to meet the Pope , some of them just to watch the Basilica of Saint Peter and the place.
    The place you absolutely have to go during your travel there are the Vatican's Museums and Art Galleries with the wonderful paintings, sculptures, the ancient art and of course with the one of the most famous piece of art, I mean the Sistine Chapel with the works of Michael Angelo and other artist.

    Piazza di San Pietro.
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  • kentishgirl's Profile Photo

    The Holy State

    by kentishgirl Updated Nov 1, 2004

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    The Vatican was not what I expected at all, I expected a real tranquil religious place, but as I should have know, it was the complete opposite. The whole place is stacked with Greek Mythology statues and pictures - apparantley the popes hobby?

    The Sistine Chapel, is so full of tourists you cannot move, I was one of them, but respect people please!
    There are signs everywhere and a tannoy voice asking you please do not take photos inside-but people still were, and I think this is a little disrespectful.

    St.Peters is beautiful, it is so big and the building is amazing.

    The Vatican Gardens are also very pretty.

    But prepare yourself for the massive queues that you will face to get in.

    queuing for the Vatican

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