Vatican City or Country, Photo and Description

Where is the Vatican City and how to get there on your own

The Vatican City is a tiny state located in the heart of Rome, where treasures and fantastic museums are open to all comers.

The Vatican is a unique state, small in area but incredibly significant in content. The smallest country on Earth is located in the heart of the Italian capital. For most tourists visiting Rome, the Vatican, whose sights are among the priceless artistic heritage of mankind, becomes the object of a day trip. Meanwhile, hundreds of Catholics from different countries come to Italy specifically to hear the sermon and receive the blessing of the Pope.

The Vatican's Swiss Guard

Visa to the Vatican and where to get permission to enter

The dwarf enclave state is surrounded by a defensive wall, which forms the border. The wall protects the Vatican from illegal entry. Tourists and pilgrims enter the city through a gate leading to the museums or through the oval square in front of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Where there is no wall, the border is drawn with a white line on the sidewalk.

At Castel Sant'Angelo, an Angel appeared on the roof of the castle to announce the end of the plague

An Italian Schengen visa is sufficient to obtain the right to enter the Vatican, walk around the territory, take pictures, make videos, and sightsee. Documents are subject to inspection upon entry into Italian territory.

Organized excursion, during which tourists explore the museums and gardens of the Vatican, climb to the observation deck of St. Peter’s Basilica, passes without customs inspections. Likewise, a self-guided tour of the Vatican is not associated with any border formalities other than appearance checks. Guests are free to go through the borders, however, they must have their passports with them, as documents can be checked at any time.

At the entrance to the museums personal belongings are tactfully searched, backpacks are offered to surrender to the luggage room.

The queue at the entrance to the museum

Some tourists want very much to have a visa in their passport as a memory of the voyage, but about visiting Vatican they put a mark only to official persons. Travelers, however, are usually content with the fact that they keep the tickets, buy bright booklets, where the Vatican, attractions, photos and descriptions are present in every detail.

In addition, from the post office you can send a postcard or letter anywhere in the world. The return address will indicate that you were indeed in the center of Christianity.

And from our window .

How to get to the Vatican from Rome airport

The Vatican, located in the northwestern part of Rome and surrounded on all sides by city streets, is easiest to get to by public transportation. If the purpose of your visit to Italy is exclusively the museums of the Vatican or a tour of the holy places, then from Leonardo da Vinci International Airport you go directly to Piazza San Pietro.

There are many ways to get from Rome airport to the Vatican by train, car and subway.

For someone who has booked a transfer in advance, the question of how to get from Rome airport to the hotel and to any other point, including the Vatican, is already solved.

Another not the cheapest, but comfortable option is a Roman cab from the airport to the destination.

Roma Termini

The train (Leonardo Express) from L’aeroporto di Roma Fiumicino leaves every half hour from six in the morning until half past twelve at night. Thirty minutes later, passengers arrive at the TERMINI railway station, change to buses, go down to the subway, and disembark at their hotels and excursions.

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Ciampino Airport

Sometimes charter flights arrive at the Aeroporto di Roma-Ciampino. Tourists should know how to get to the Vatican from Ciampino Airport.

A bus will take you to the central Termini station, and then again by bus or by metro.

Cipro-Musei Vaticani Metro Station

How to get to the Vatican without traffic jams

A simple and convenient transport for the Russian tourist, not too well versed in foreign languages, is the Roman Metro. Tickets are sold at the stations, the scheme helps to navigate easily, the main thing is to know the station at which to get off.

To understand how to get to the Vatican, it is advisable to have a map of Rome, take the red line to the metro station Cipro-Musei Vaticani and walk a few meters to the entrance to the museums.

Another option is to get off the subway at Ottavio S.Pietro and walk to the Vatican from the Oval Square, in this case, the first object of the tour will be the St. Peter’s Cathedral.

View of the Vatican

How to get from Rome to Vatican on foot

Airports of the Italian capital for environmental reasons are located outside the city limits, so Vatican and its attractions come into sight of a tourist only an hour after arrival. Most tourists, however, devote more than one or two days to the Eternal City.

Stunning Vatican Museums, a tour of the gardens and climbing the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica are just a small part of the beauty and wonders of Rome. Visitors need information on how to get to the Vatican, not only from the airport but also from other parts of the city, by transport and on foot.

Septimius Severus Triumphal Arch

For example, there are three reasonable ways to get from the Colosseum to the Vatican by public transportation: the subway, the bus, and a walk of about 3 km. Rome distracts the attention of the tourist going to the Vatican, photos, sights and cozy cafes somewhat “lengthen the way”. If you build a smart route, you will see the Forum Romanum, the Capitol, and Piazza Navona.

After you enter the Vatican, public transportation is not useful: the state area is small, the tour around the Vatican is so fascinating that no video can convey the feelings of a person stepping on the Holy Land. At the same time do not forget to watch your personal belongings, because Rome in general and the Vatican in particular is willingly visited by pickpockets, and their target is not the sights, and bags of beholden honest citizens.

St. Peter's Square and the Basilica

What to take and how to dress for tourists in Vatican

Everyone decides for himself how to get to Vatican City with the maximum comfort. Motorists for the duration of the tour to the Vatican, transport will have to leave on Italian territory. You will walk around the country with an area of only 0.44 square kilometers, but you will spend a lot of time on your feet in the museums and gardens.

In addition, a tour to the Vatican without climbing up to the observation deck of the Basilica Sancti Petri, as the reviews of tourists indicate, loses half the charm. To get to the top of the cathedral is on foot and the pleasure costs 5 €. For 7 € you can take an elevator ride, but only half way up: the remaining 320 steps inside the dome can be overcome only by someone who does not suffer from claustrophobia. An indescribable view opens up from the height. As if in the palm of your hand you can see not only the Vatican, but also Rome, and if you want you can see many sights, take pictures and describe your impressions.

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In order not to be distracted by the minutiae of everyday life, you need comfortable shoes and appropriate clothing. When deciding how to dress, always, even in the heat, one must take into account that the Vatican is primarily a center of Catholicism and only secondarily a sightseeing site.

For men pants are obligatory (in shorts will not be allowed), women can be in skirts or pants, as long as the knees, shoulders, chest should be closed.

Do not bring drinks, food, knives and other sharp objects, as well as backpacks and bulky bags.

Take money for tickets and prepare to listen attentively and look intently into your eyes.

Tiberina Island

Sightseeing at the Vatican

Almost all tours with a visit to Rome necessarily include a tour to the Vatican, reviews of tourists confirm how true this is. It is worth to travel hundreds of kilometers in order to get acquainted with the works of antiquity and the Renaissance.

A lot of interesting things awaits the tourist in the center of Rome and the island of Tiberina, in the evening you can stroll through the picturesque quarter of Trastevere, but in the morning at least allocate half a day for tours and souvenir shopping at the Vatican.

The Bronze Canopy inside St. Peter's

Tourists traveling as part of a group to the Vatican should postpone rest and lunch until later in the day. Prepare for a fast pace, as there is a lot to do in 3-4 hours. The standard itinerary includes visits to St. Peter’s Cathedral, the Sistine Chapel, the Pinacoteca, the papal apartments painted by Raphael, the contemporary art gallery and other spaces filled with masterpieces of the past. The Vatican Gardens tour is usually offered for a fee of about two hours.

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Christmas Eve

An interesting excursion to the Vatican can take place not only as part of a group: many connoisseurs prefer to admire the exhibitions on their own. For those who don’t know how to get to the Vatican Museums and Gardens, a map will tell you.

Entrance tickets to the Vatican can be purchased after standing in a long line, or you can order in advance on the website, come with a printed voucher and buy it at a separate ticket office (the service is ~4€).

If you can find an audio guide in Russian, you will get a full tour of the Vatican, video and photo of all permitted sites, without time constraints is available for individual visitors (in many halls shooting is prohibited).

On the last Sunday of the month in museums are free. Of course, and the queue on those days is longer.

Piazza San Pietro

Getting married in the Vatican, price and order of ceremonies

The sermon of the head of the Catholic Church is for all Christians and is available to all. Every Sunday at noon, the pontiff addresses the faithful from the window of his office, ending his speech with a prayer. People from different countries come to Piazza San Pietro for the blessing.

The faithful, who cannot come in person, send messages to the pope, and no letter goes unanswered.

Sistine Chapel

Catholic weddings in Rome are popular, the ceremonies are not usually held in the Vatican, but in churches located on Italian territory, the price is determined by demand, and there are many willing. For their money, couples entering married life get married in a church with a view of the Vatican, a vacation in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and precious memories.

Kokkoyla village, Pryazhinsky district, Karelia

Hotel Arcangelo, Rome

The best hotels near the Vatican in Rome

A honeymoon in a European city is invariably filled with romance. Lighthearted Paris stirs the senses, Prague charms, and old Rome embraces guests and shares its wisdom.

Spiral staircase designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932

An Italian wedding trip is the perfect choice. At any time of the year Italy, the Vatican, the sights of Rome are worth the attention of tourists. Since the problem of how to get from Rome to the Vatican is solved simply, newlyweds have a chance to plunge into the whirlpool of impressions, enrich their luggage of knowledge and enrich their inner world. There are excellent hotels near the Vatican, however, any accommodation in Rome will not be an obstacle for an active pastime.

The capital of Italy – a metropolis, walking around Rome you can endlessly, each time discovering something new. For example, in the morning you will learn by experience how to get from the Colosseum to the Vatican across the Tiber, and in the evening you can spend in one of the restaurants, clubs or just stroll through the park, treat yourself to a wonderful Roman ice cream. You can devote one day to shopping, but another day should certainly be spent in the museums of the Vatican.

What to buy in the Vatican

The eternal question plagues tourists who are ready to leave the Vatican: what to buy as a souvenir, what relics to bring back home. Museum stores in the country, as well as near the border, abound with Christian-themed souvenirs. Cross, iris, pendant with the image of an angel – souvenirs that are worn on the body. Such items are purchased both for themselves and as an expensive religious gift.

If your friend is into philately and numismatics, and you came to the Vatican without him, the question of what to buy as a gift is solved instantly: stamps and coins of the unique country will become the most valuable items in his collection. In general, the most expensive souvenirs from the Vatican guests take away in their hearts.

Bathtub of Nero, Vatican Museum

When best to visit Vatican City, climate and events

The climate in the Vatican is exactly the same as in Rome: hot summer, mild but rainy winter, comfortable autumn, wonderful spring.

In summer there are usually a lot of tourists and long lines to the museums. On religious holidays (Palm Sunday, Easter, Christmas) masses are held. Thousands of believers come especially to hear the Pope’s festive messages.

If your goal is tourism, it is better to choose days when there are no religious holidays.

Night view

Vatican City is a country with a population of less than a thousand people. The official language of the Vatican is “dead” Latin. The country’s army, the smallest in the world, consists of a hundred Swiss guardsmen. The artistic, architectural and park masterpieces for which crowds of people flock to the Vatican are priceless.

The smallest state in the world never ceases to amaze, and so constantly enjoys the attention of visitors from all corners of the earth. Come and you – do not regret it.

Vatican City, country or small world

Vatican City. With this name comes up dozens of associations, and they are similar to each other. Rome, the dome of St. Peter’s Cathedral, the church, and, of course, the Pope.

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Oh, yes, and then there is the phrase state within a state.

In fact, what do we know about the Vatican?

  • The smallest state in the world, located on the territory of the Italian capital;
  • The residence of the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church;
  • A favorite destination for tourists and pilgrims.

In addition to these basic facts, many are aware of the countless cultural and financial riches of the Vatican, the value of which is strictly classified. So what is the Vatican?

What is the Vatican

The so-called Vatican City State was formed on June 7, 1929, based on the Lateran Agreement. The Stato della Citta del Vaticano (State – Vatican City) is located in the western part of the Italian capital, on the Monte Vaticano hill. The magnificent architectural complex, recognized by UNESCO as “the greatest cultural heritage of mankind”, consists of temples, palaces and gardens.

The Vatican area begins with the colonnaded Piazza San Pietro, which is dominated by the enormous St. Peter’s Cathedral. Here begins the Vatican City, a small island in the heart of a vast world. The area of this tiny country is only 44 hectares, and its population does not exceed 1000 people. But nevertheless this small state has enormous power and influence and has the widest range of diplomatic relations.

After all, the Vatican is the seat of the Holy See, the holy of holies for the entire Catholic See. The Vatican, as a very real state, has sovereign status, its own government, judicial apparatus, flag, coat of arms, and even mints its own coins. It even has its own railroad, which is (smile) 852 meters long. This road connects the city-country with the main railroad lines of Italy. The mini-country is active with its own book publishers, which are loaded with work, broadcast their own radio stations and television channels. It even has its own newspaper, “l’Osservatore Romano”.

The head of the Vatican is invariably the Pope, the head of the Catholic Church. The Pope is elected by vote, by the cardinals. It should be mentioned that the position of Pope is for life, so there is a very, very scrupulous approach to the choice.

About the state and its status

This may sound surprising, but in fact, legally, the Vatican is not a state. Legally, the status of the Vatican is defined as “the auxiliary sovereign territory of the Holy See. And it is the Holy See itself that has sovereignty, not the Vatican as a country and a state. In other words, the Vatican is merely the seat of the Holy (Apostolic) See, and it (the See) is the core, everything else is just a shell.

In the UN documentation you will not find a single mention of the Vatican, but the relationship between countries and the Holy See is clearly spelled out. The Vatican does not grant citizenship, nor does the Vatican itself establish diplomatic ties. It is the Holy See that grants diplomatic status (forgive the repetition of this term). But people were somehow more accustomed to talking about the Vatican itself as a state. If Italians are more accustomed to it, we follow their example.


The “indigenous” residents of the Vatican are members of the clergy. These are, of course, the Pope himself, as head of the church and the Vatican, the many cardinals and other clerks. There is no concept of “nationality” in the Vatican; they are mostly Italians and Swiss. As was said above, the Vatican also has no citizenship, but those passports held by the “natives” have impressive diplomatic power. Today their number reaches 600 people. All of them, so to speak, are subjects of the Holy See (not the Vatican, mind you).

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In addition to the clergy, thousands of ordinary, quite ordinary Italians live and work in the Vatican. These are those who work in the bank (the Vatican has its own bank), in the many museums, stores, stalls, and temples. Those who clean the streets and premises, keep order, produce books and keep museum exhibits in good order. In itself, there is no state border here, so most workers return to their homes in and around Rome every day.

Economy and the Rule of Law

Economically, the Vatican is totally independent from Italy, although it receives a very good sum from the Italian treasury (compensation for damages caused to the church in the distant past). Millions of Catholics around the world make generous (and not so generous) donations that make up a large part of the Vatican’s capital. A donation is not just the coins thrown into the temple’s box, but also the cost of ceremonies. For example, in Italy, for weddings, donations range from 200-350 euros. Given that 80% of marriages in Italy are registered exactly in the church, you can imagine that the Vatican bank is not poor.

Tourism also brings its own income. The infinite flow of tourists visiting museums, exhibitions, churches, and purchasing religious souvenirs leave considerable sums on a daily basis. In general, I must say that the location of the city is advantageous to Italy and the Vatican economy. On the one hand, numerous tourists visiting Rome cannot miss the heart of Catholicism and a treasure trove of cultural heritage, on the other hand, millions of Vatican pilgrims leave not a bad sum of money in Rome. To sum up briefly about the economy, there is no crisis here.

As for crime, it is not so bright. Its level exceeds all possible limits per square kilometer of the country. Professional thieves work here with jeweler’s skill and fox-like care. The number of daily thefts is higher here than anywhere else. But their detection rate is very low. And it’s not just police incompetence. There are no prisons in Vatican territory, so arrested thieves are sent to Italian prisons by decision of the Italian court. But they are kept there not out of Italian pocket, but at the expense of the Vatican. And the Vatican doesn’t really benefit from that. So…you guessed it…the cops don’t try very hard, for which they are very thankful.

In conclusion, a few words about the Pope. Today the Catholic Church is led by Pope Francis, or to be more precise, Pope Francesca (he is Italian after all). Pope Francesca is very much loved by the Italian people. The faithful speak of him as a just and simple man of rare kindness and patience. Under him many archaic ecclesiastical laws have been revised, gratuitous financial support has been given to the needy and, as Italian priests say, proper order has been brought to the ranks of the clergy.

Let’s wish him luck in a difficult time, religiously and humanly.

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