Vatican City Travel Guide

  • Buses on Via della Conciliazione
    Buses on Via della Conciliazione
    by SWFC_Fan
  • Tour buses on Via della Conciliazione
    Tour buses on Via della Conciliazione
    by SWFC_Fan
  • Rome Metro train
    Rome Metro train
    by SWFC_Fan

Vatican City Highlights

  • Pro
    mrclay2000 profile photo

    mrclay2000 says…

     Colossal in dimension, innumerable in its offerings 

  • Con
    Escadora7 profile photo

    Escadora7 says…

     Huge crowds at the General Audience to meet the Pope 

  • In a nutshell
    rafaelguerra profile photo

    rafaelguerra says…

     A must see, regardless of your religion. 

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Comments (40)

  • alza's Profile Photo
    Mar 12, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    Thursday, March 13, first anniversary of the election of the Holy Father Francis, is a holiday in the Vatican. Best wishes to the Pope who came "from the other side of the world".
    Wishes can be sent directly to the Santo Padre via Twitter, @Pontifex.

    • mccalpin's Profile Photo
      Mar 12, 2014 at 8:33 PM

      Wow, that's the VIS??? I've seen their stuff, and it was never so bad...however, if you were to actually work for them, that would be a win-win - they would get better translations, and you would be "forced" to live in Rome!!! ;-)

      Bill

    • alza's Profile Photo
      Mar 12, 2014 at 9:36 PM

      Thanks for the vote of confidence. I get VIS daily in Italian & French, precisely to improve my Italian. It led me to become an "avid" ha! follower of announcements about cardinals retiring for reasons of age, nominations of new ones, state visits, Pontifex holidays, etc. :-) Sometimes, commemorative events. Like this, received on 11 March (I deleted the French, only have Italian version) :
      "In occasione del terzo anniversario dello tsunami che ha colpito il Giappone l'11 marzo 2011, si tiene oggi nella Basilica di San Paolo Fuori le Mura, il concerto: "Requiem di Mozart per il Giappone dal Vaticano". Organizzato dal Comitato Esecutivo Giapponese e patrocinato dall'Ambasciata del Giappone presso la Santa Sede, è un concerto di preghiera per la salvezza delle anime delle vittime dello tsunami del 2011 in Giappone." I once listened to a concert at San Paolo in honour of Benedict XVI (YouTube I think!) it was grandiose.
      Anyway, I mostly wanted to be Benedict's translator but never applied. Must be able to get my spaghetti all'amatriciana late night near Sta Maria Maggiore & afraid the "warden" nuns would lock me in.

  • alza's Profile Photo
    Mar 1, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    Russel Crowe sent a few Twitters to Pope Francis about arranging a screening of the film Noah for him. I thought that was pretty cool... Here's a good pic of the movie's poster, on the façade of Maria Santissima Assunta (Free University), via della Conciliazione at Vatican City. I'm sure the Pope already saw that poster as he drove or walked by... :-)
    twitter.com/1_bluesky1/statu...

  • mccalpin's Profile Photo
    Jul 31, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Here's a different piece of news...the "Vatican Bank" now has its own website. Actually named the "Institute for Religious Works", the bank's new website is http://www.ior.va/ . Tourists and travellers don't have a lot of reason to visit the website, since you can't visit the bank nor can you get an account there (only people and institutions that work for religion or for charity can...and you're probably not Mother Teresa ;-) )...but it is part of the Pope's campaign to make the bank more transparent...

    Bill McCalpin
    Vatican City Travel Editor

  • mccalpin's Profile Photo
    Apr 4, 2013 at 7:44 AM

    The "Secret Garden" in the middle of the Vatican Museums are now open for Spring for visitors of the Museums to walk through. See mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_... . Please enjoy this area; it is a treat that visitors from many years ago could only look at through the windows of the Museums...

    Bill McCalpin
    Vatican City Travel Editor

  • mccalpin's Profile Photo
    Apr 2, 2013 at 8:28 AM

    Note: The Roma Pass has a new feature: limited health assistance for card holders
    "Travel Health Call Center
    www.travelhealth.it
    A team of Doctors and health operators at your disposal for information and orientation regarding both public and private health care throughout the city.
    Multilingual Tourist medical doctors, special medical examinations, diagnostics, dentists, home health care, ambulance, emergency recovery and legal service in case of accident are available upon request to the multilingual Call Center.+39 06 43236291, open 24 hours every day (local call fee. Give your Roma Pass Serial Number in order to receive up to 30% discount on health services.
    The call center is free of charge for RomaPass holders; Health performance is reduced up to a maximum of 30%."
    romapass.it/p.aspx?l=en&tid=...

    This new feature may, for some, justify the increased cost of the card (scheduled to go up to 34 euro on May 1 2013).

    Bill McCalpin
    Vatican City Travel Editor

    • mccalpin's Profile Photo
      Apr 5, 2013 at 7:37 AM

      Central Americans have a similar problem in Spanish...parents say "tu" to one child, but "ustedes" to more than one...which sounds very weird to Spaniards who used "vosotros" for the children. And I remember that Mussolini wanted to do away with "Lei" as a remnant of the class distinctions that his fascists were fighting to get rid of (although he supported the king). So sometimes I wonder if different types of Italians use "voi" instead of "Lei" to make a political statement? ;-)

      Bill

    • alza's Profile Photo
      Apr 5, 2013 at 8:40 AM

      time flies, and knowledge with it! I learned Spanish "on the street" & w/daily newspaper over a year fm Mexico to Argentina & Uruguay. usted rings a bell, but I was deaf to forms... they came later to me in travel & once back home (attention went to survival first :)) It's a thrill to discover how native speakers make all kinds of "statements" with the way they handle forms etc, as in any language perhaps but very important for "Latin" peoples.
      I soon forgot how to speak Spanish when I came home, but continued reading daily paper & many books in Spanish. Tks for reminder of Fascists' attempt to eliminate the Lei. I'm constantly plunged in heated discussions about these things (work related in past, now because I can't wean myself from it.) Enjoy it a lot!
      Italo Calvino uses voi a lot in his Fiabe italiane, whoever is speaking. He assembled them for the RAI in the 50's & I'm researching whether Fascists' efforts were "reflected" in this publication. Don't think so, yet. Basta giocare! Ciao! :)

  • mccalpin's Profile Photo
    Apr 1, 2013 at 8:37 AM

    NOTE: the following is for the sake of travelers gong to Rome - the Roma Pass and Roma & Piu' Pass still do not apply to the Vatican museums (or any Vatican entity).

    The Roma Pass and the Roma & Piu' Pass had been suspended for a while but are both now back in business. Currently, the Roma Pass is 30.00 euro and the Roma & Piu' Pass is 32.00 euro. NOTE: the Roma Pass' price will increase to 34.00 euro on May 1, 2013. There is no word yet on the Roma & Piu' Pass having a similar increase.

    Bill McCalpin
    Vatican City Travel Editor

  • mccalpin's Profile Photo
    Mar 18, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Pope Francis caused consternation for the Vatican security services yesterday when, after Mass at the parish Church of St. Anne inside Vatican City, he stepped out to shake hands with parishioners like any parish priest...only he did it at the Porta Sant'Anna entrance to Vatican City where hundreds of startled visitors crowded around and took photos.

    See the AP photo at news.yahoo.com/pope-wades-cr... This photo was taken from inside Vatican City outwards into Borgo Pio, the little neighborhood next to the Vatican full of religious shops and stuff.

    You can see a recent photo of Porta Sant'Anna facing from outside the Vatican in at "Use German with the Swiss Guards" - Vatican City Local Custom Tip by mccalpin . The parish church of St. Anne is immediately behind the metal gate on the right

    A somewhat more distant photo is the third photo at "A Drive Through Vatican City" - Vatican City Travelogue by mccalpin . This is an old photo of the Porta Sant'Anna back when the piazza in front of it was still open to cars. However, this photo gives you a good view of the gate. Immediately behind the gate on the right is the entrance to the church (where the Swiss Guard is standing). The Pope came out this door to the church, greeted the Mass attendees, then walk the few feet to the gate itself to greet the amazed public who were standing in the now pedestrian-only square.

    This gate is the gate just north of the colonnades through the wall; it is the employee entrance to the Vatican, and the entrance I used to use each week as I visited the Vatican bank...

    Bill McCalpin
    Vatican City Travel Editor

  • mccalpin's Profile Photo
    Mar 16, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    Updates on the Pope's week as it affects visitors:
    On Sunday, March 17th at 12 noon, Pope Francis will do the weekly "Angelus" from his apartment window over looking St. Peter's Square. No tickets are needed, just bring yourself and up to 100,000 of your closest friends.

    On Tuesday, March 19th, the Papal installation Mass will be held in St. Peter's Square beginning at 9:30 a.m. The Square will open to visitors at 6:30 a.m. There are no tickets required for most of the Square. Parts of the Square will be blocked off for VIPs from around the world, and there is no ticket that will get you in those areas anyway. Expect huge crowds around the Square and streets blocked off for the morning. It is highly unlikely that the Basilica will be open Tuesday morning.

    On Sunday, March 24, at 9:30 a.m., the Pope will celebrate Palm Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square. No mention yet of tickets; presumably, you and 150,000 of your closest friends will be able to flood the Square. Also, at 12 noon, the Pope will say the Angelus from the window of his apartment over the Square as usual.

    Bill McCalpin
    Vatican City Travel Editor

  • mccalpin's Profile Photo
    Mar 15, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    The Installation Mass for Pope Francis will be on Tuesday, March 19, at 9:30 AM in St. Peter's Square. This means that access to the Basilica will be stopped Tuesday until after Mass has ended.

    Also note that there will be many representatives of foreign governments there for the Mass (for example, Vice President Joe Biden will represent the US), so security will be stepped up, and roads may be arbitrarily closed all morning.

    Bill McCalpin
    Vatican City Travel Editor

  • mccalpin's Profile Photo
    Mar 14, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    The Vatican Museums will reopen the Sistine Chapel as part of the Museums tour at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 18th. In addition, the Borgia Apartment and the Collection of Modern Religious Art will open at the same time.

    Thanks to VTer ianbaz for the heads-up!

    Bill McCalpin
    Vatican City Travel Editor

The Place

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Vatican City is the world's smallest independent state in the world, by area and population. It also has exercised a disproportionate effect on Western Civilization as the former capital of...