The State of the Vatican City arose after the signing of the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy, on February 11, 1929.

Located on the right bank of the Tiber River, the Vatican City is the residence of the Pope and occupies 44 hectares. And due to its small size, there are institutions and offices of the Holy See that are located in buildings in the city of Rome called “extraterritorial areas“.

In 1984, it was declared a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site.

Some curiosities

The State has just over 600 citizens, and less than half live in the Vatican City. It has its own flag, white and yellow, its own anthem, its own license plate whose international abbreviation is V, and its own coins and postage stamps.

The monuments of the Vatican City are:

Saint Peter’s Basilica

Built on the tomb of the apostle Saint Peter. It is preceded by Peter’s Square, circular and with a double colonnade, surrounded by palaces and gardens. It has a capacity for 20,000 people. The Pieta by Michelangelo, the statue of St. Peter on his throne, the Baldachin work of Bernini and the magnificent dome, 136 meters high, and initiated by Michelangelo, stand out.

The Vatican Museums

They house the largest art collection of the Roman Catholic Church:

  • Borgia Apartment, commissioned by Pope Alexander VI Borgia, serves as an exhibition of the Collection of Modern Religious Art.
  • Rafael and his disciples decorated Rafael’s Rooms, the apartments of Pope Julius II.
  • Gallery of the Candelabra, exhibits Roman statues copies of Greek originals and candlesticks of the second century A.D.
  • Gallery of Maps, forty geographical maps of the Italian regions and Church possessions are painted on its walls.
  • Apartment of Pius V, commissioned by Pope Pius V, exposes Flemish tapestries from the 15th and 16th centuries, medieval and Renaissance ceramics, and miniature mosaics.
  • Gallery of Tapestries, flamenco tapestries created between 1523 and 1534 are exhibited.
  • The Sistine Chapel, owes its name to Pope Sixtus IV. The frescoes in the vault are work of Michelangelo, which took four years to paint. They offer several stories from Genesis, including the Creation. On the main altar is The Last Judgment, masterpiece of Michelangelo.
  • Chiaramonti Museum, houses more than a thousand Roman statues and busts.
  • Egyptian Museum, contains the pieces acquired by the popes where the sarcophagi of the third century B.C. and the black basalt statues of the Villa Adriana stand out.
  • Missionary Ethnological Museum, inaugurated by Pius XI, collects works of art from the world’s pontifical missions.
  • Etruscan Museum, founded by Pope Gregory XVI contains vases, bronze and gold jewels of the Etruscan civilization.
  • Gregorian Profane Museum, established by Gregory XVI, contains Greek and Roman works from the first century to the third century.
  • Historical Museum – Carriage Pavilion, created by Paul VI, shows saddles, vehicles used by several popes and the first locomotive of the Vatican City.
  • Pius-Clementine Museum, built by Pope Clement XIV and Pius VI to gather the most important Greek and Roman works preserved in the Vatican.
  • Pio-Christian Museum, founded by Pío IX, houses Christian antiquities since the 6th century.
  • Vatican Courtyards, where the huge bronze pine of almost four meters high stands out.
  • Pinacoteca, commissioned by Pope Pius XI to reorganize the collection of paintings that goes from the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century, exhibited chronologically in eighteen rooms.
  • Chariot Room, dominated by the car pulled by two marble horses made in the 1st century A.D.
  • The Immaculate Conception and Sobieski Rooms, both rooms house works of the Italian Ottocento.

Castel Gandolfo

Imperial residence located on the hill overlooking Lake Albano.

The Vatican Gardens

Place of rest and meditation of the Pope since 1279.

Vatican Palaces

At the end of the thirteenth century, some buildings began to be built that would lead to the first core of the Vatican Palaces.

To avoid very long queues, it is recommendable to buy tickets online.

Vatican City map

For more information about Vatican City.

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