Discover Vatican City | The smallest country in the world

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Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Tickets

from
€31
Mobile Ticket
Flexible Duration
Highlights
Inclusions
Need to know
Cancellation Policy
  • Discover the Vatican Museums at your leisure with options tailor-made for you! Go solo with direct entrance, or skip long queues with hosted entrance.
  • Explore masterpieces by Caravaggio, Da Vinci, and Raphael in the Pinacoteca, then marvel at Renaissance sculptures in the Pio Clementino Museum
  • Walk in the footsteps of the Pope(s) as you explore the Gallery of Maps, Gallery of Tapestries, and Raphael Rooms at your own pace.
  • Make your way to the crowning jewel of the Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel, and marvel at Michelangelo’s famed frescoes.
  • Beat the crowds at the Vatican Museums by booking early morning slots before 9 am or opt for late-night entry (only available on Fri & Sat between Apr and Oct).

Inclusions

  • Entry to Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel
  • Hosted entry to Vatican Museums (optional)
  • Ticket redemption (optional)
  • Booking and handling fees

Exclusions

  • St. Peter's Basilica tickets
  • Audio guide
  • Live guide
  • Tip: Watch out for the only painting by Vincent Van Gogh that graces the Vatican Museums - his very own rendition of The Pieta.
  • The entrance to the Museums is timed. Be sure to select your activity starting time when booking. Once inside the Museums, you will be free to explore at your own pace.
  • Compulsory Vatican dress code: Visitors must wear clothing that covers their knees, arms, and back.
  • The use of mobile phones and photography is strictly prohibited in the Sistine Chapel.
  • Please note that the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel are separate sites from St Peter’s Basilica.
  • For guests with documentation of disabilities and visible disabilities, entry is free along with an additional ticket for 1 companion.
  • Please note that the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel are separate sites from St Peter’s Basilica.
  • Guests opting for the hosted entrance tickets will need to meet the host at the designated check-in location. The exact meeting point will be shared on your ticket.
  • Note that last entry to the Sistine Chapel is at 4pm.
  • Please note that this ticket does not include a guided tour. The host will only assist you to the entrance.
  • These tickets can't be cancelled or rescheduled.
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Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Guided Tour

from
€53.90
Mobile Ticket
Flexible Duration
Highlights
Inclusions
Need to know
Cancellation Policy
  • Make the most out of your visit and jump straight into the action. Skip the line with this guided tour, bypassing long queues at the Vatican Museums.
  • Are you ready for the experience of a lifetime? The expert guides reveal the fascinating stories and hidden symbolism behind the artworks, adding a whole new dimension to your experience.
  • With unforgettable masterpieces and exquisite art, explore a vast collection spanning centuries, from ancient artifacts to Renaissance marvels.
  • Discover Michelangelo's awe-inspiring Sistine Chapel frescoes, including the iconic ceiling and Last Judgment, showcasing the genius of Italy's most renowned artist.

Inclusions

  • Skip-the-line entrance to the Vatican Museums
  • Entrance to the Sistine Chapel
  • Expert & charismatic local guide
  • Audio equipment to hear the guide clearly (making sure you don't miss a beat)
  • Group size of 25 or less
  • Tip: Arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.
  • The Vatican Museums offer free tickets for visitors with mobility impairments (with certified invalidity exceeding 74%). In the case of visitors lacking in self-sufficiency, free entry is extended to their companions.
  • Please note: All guests must pass through airport-style security. During high season and peak hours, the wait time at the security check may be up to 30 mins.
  • Compulsory Vatican dress code: Visitors must wear clothing that covers their knees, arms, and back.
  • Please be dressed appropriately. Sleeveless blouses, miniskirts, shorts, and hats are not permitted.
  • Knees and shoulders must be covered for both men and women.
  • It is recommended to cover tattoos and any other similarly visible distinctive personal signs.
  • The experience is not accessible for wheelchair users, pram/stroller users, or baby carriages.
  • Photography and the use of mobile phones is strictly prohibited in the Sistine Chapel.
  • Luggage and/or large bags are not allowed inside the venue. You may drop off your bags with the free cloakroom service.
  • Pets and other small animals are not allowed in the venue, with the exception of guide dogs.
  • These tickets can't be cancelled or rescheduled.
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Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Guided Tour with St. Peter’s Basilica Dome Climb

from
€104.95
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
5 hr. 30 min.
Highlights
Inclusions
Need To Know
Cancellation Policy
  • Commence your tour by climbing to the terrace of St. Peter’s Basilica, where you will uncover unmatched panoramic views of Rome from atop Michelangelo’s Cupola.
  • Immerse yourself in the genius of the Renaissance on VIP Vatican tour, guided by experts with skip-the-line access.
  • Discover the Basilica's Barocco charm and Michelangelo's Pieta. Then, witness Bernini and Michelangelo's Renaissance masterpieces at the Papal Sarcophagi.
  • Pay a visit to the beguiling Sistine Chapel, and marvel at the cherished murals here, such as the painted ceiling and The Last Judgement by Michelangelo.

Inclusions

  • Skip-the-line VIP access to Vatican Museums
  • Admission to the Sistine Chapel
  • Admission to the St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Expert English-speaking guide
  • Dome climb and visit to the Papal Sarcophagi
  • Headsets (for groups of six or more)
  • Reservation fees

Exclusions

  • Transportation
  • Gratuities
  • Food and drinks
  • Visit to the Necropolis / St. Peter’s Tomb / Scavi
  • Tips: Don't forget to look down as you ascend the dome. Through special windows, you can catch glimpses of the basilica's interior below, offering a unique perspective.
  • It's recommended to wear clothing that covers their knees, arms, and back.
  • The experience is not accessible for wheelchair users.
  • Note that the following are not allowed on this tour: tripod, flash photography, knives, weapons, or sharp objects.
  • These tickets can't be cancelled or rescheduled.
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Combo (Save 5%): Colosseum + Vatican Museums Guided Tour

from €99
€94.05
Save 5%
Mobile Ticket
Highlights
Inclusions
Need to Know
Cancellation Policy
  • Save big with this combo ticket and visit 2 must-see spots in the Eternal City with an expert tour guide.
  • Explore the Colosseum, the largest amphitheater ever built, while listening to your tour guide relay stories about its past in the language of your choice.
  • Look at the most renowned Roman sculptures and paintings at Vatican Museums. Get up and close with masterpieces from the Renaissance period.
  • Visit 54 galleries in the Vatican Museums and get a chance to see some of the most impressive art collections in the world.

Inclusions

Colosseum

  • 3-hour tour
  • Expert & charismatic local guide
  • Entry to the Colosseum floors 1 and 2
  • Entry to the Roman Forum & Palatine Hill

Vatican Museums

  • 2.5-hour tour
  • Expert & charismatic local guide
  • Entry to the Vatican Museums
  • Access to the Sistine Chapel

Exclusions

Colosseum

  • Access to the Colosseum underground, arena floor, or upper floors

Vatican Museums

  • Entry to St. Peter's Basilica

Colosseum

  • Tip: Save some time to visit ancient Rome's largest temple, located right at the eastern edge of the Roman Forum and the Colosseum – the Temple of Venus and Roma.
  • For safety and security reasons, no large backpacks or pieces of luggage are allowed inside the Colosseum. No storage facility is available. You can, however, take a baby stroller into the Colosseum with you, should it be necessary.

Vatican Museums

  • Tip: Keep your cameras ready to capture the dizzyingly stunning spiral Bramante Staircase in the museum.
  • For visitors with mobility impairment, the Vatican Museums offer free wheelchair hire from the cloakroom.
  • Strict Dress Code: Knees and shoulders MUST be covered for all guests.
  • Please carry a valid ID with you and present it at the time of entry if requested. Should you fail to do so, venue authorities may deny you entry and such instances are not liable for reschedules or refunds.
  • These tickets can't be cancelled or rescheduled.
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Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel Premium Small Group Guided Tour

from
€101.60
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
2 hr. 30 min. - 5 hr.
Highlights
Inclusions
Need to Know
Cancellation Policy
  • Elevate your Vatican experience with this exclusive, premium, small group tour of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Personalized attention and a fun-filled atmosphere await!
  • Skip the crowds and embrace VIP treatment on this small group tour. Say goodbye to long lines and the hustle of larger groups.
  • Dive deeper into history with expert storytellers. They bring the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel to life with captivating stories and intriguing anecdotes.
  • Maximize your time and minimize the wait! This smaller group size allows for efficient navigation, giving you more time to soak in the masterpieces and create lasting memories.
  • Beauty awaits you at every turn! With the help of a local expert, unveil the Vatican's best-kept secrets, and get ready to step into the world of Michelangelo.

Inclusions

  • 2.5 - 5 hour guided tour (as per option selected)
  • Skip-the-line entry to the Vatican Museums
  • Entry to the Sistine Chapel
  • Charismatic local expert
  • English, Italian, French, Spanish, and German-speaking guides
  • Intimate group size of 10 or less
  • Tip: This tour ends inside the museums…so, why not make the most out of your visit and enjoy a coffee in the courtyard before leaving the site?
  • The Vatican Museums offer free tickets for visitors with mobility impairments (with certified invalidity exceeding 74%). In the case of visitors lacking in self-sufficiency, free entry is extended to their companions.
  • Please note: All guests must pass through airport-style security. During high season and peak hours, the wait time at the security check may be up to 30 mins.
  • Compulsory Vatican dress code: Visitors must wear clothing that covers their knees, arms, and back.
  • The experience is not accessible for wheelchair users, pram/stroller users, or baby carriages.
  • These tickets can't be cancelled or rescheduled.
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Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

from
€65
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
3 hr.
Highlights
Inclusions
Need to know
Cancellation Policy
  • From the world-famous Sistine Chapel to the extensive art collections of the Vatican Museums, uncover it all on this unforgettable tour.
  • Discover the grandeur of St. Peter's Basilica, a sanctuary of faith and artistic beauty, with skip-the-line entry and self-guided exploration.
  • Journey through centuries of history as an expert guide reveals the stories and secrets behind the art and architecture of the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.
  • Behold the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, including the iconic ceiling and Last Judgment, showcasing the genius of one of history's greatest artists.
  • Choose between local English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese-speaking guides who will regale you with intriguing anecdotes.

Inclusions

  • Skip-the-line entry to Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
  • Skip-the-line entry to St. Peter's Basilica
  • Expert local English, German, French, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese-speaking guide
  • Audio equipment
  • Group tour of 25 or less
  • Tip: Avoid booking on Wednesdays! Did you know the Pope speaks in St Peter's Square Wednesday mornings? Sometimes this results in last-min closures, so plan for another day if possible.
  • The Vatican Museums offer free tickets for visitors with mobility impairments (with certified invalidity exceeding 74%). In the case of visitors lacking in self-sufficiency, free entry is extended to their companions.
  • Please note: All guests must pass through airport-style security. During high season and peak hours, the wait time at the security check may be up to 30 mins.
  • Compulsory Vatican dress code: Visitors must wear clothing that covers their knees, arms, and back.
  • The experience is not accessible for wheelchair users, pram/stroller users, or baby carriages.
  • The Basilica may be subject to last-minute closures. In the event that it is closed, the tour will be extended inside the museums.
  • These tickets can't be cancelled or rescheduled.
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Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Reserved Entry Tickets with Vatican Gardens Open Bus Tour

€75
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
3 hr.
Audio Guide
Highlights
Inclusions
Need to Know
Cancellation Policy
  • Enjoy guaranteed access to the greatest of Vatican City attractions, spend less time waiting in ticket queues, and more time gazing at the natural and man-made treasures.
  • Settle in a comfortable open-top bus and bask in the charming scenery of the Vatican Gardens which occupy roughly half the size of Vatican City.
  • Enjoy the views of different landscaped gardens designed in Italian, French, and English styles as you tune into a multilingual audio guide to learn more about the beauty surrounding you.
  • Later, immerse yourself in the immense collection of Renaissance masterpieces at the Vatican Museums.
  • Gape at Michelangelo's incredible work on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, along with other breathtaking frescoes.

Inclusions

  • Vatican Gardens tour by open bus
  • Skip-the-line tickets to the Vatican Museums
  • Entry tickets to the Sistine Chapel
  • Multilingual audio guide onboard
  • Free Wi-fi at the meeting point

Exclusions

  • Audio guide for Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
  • Live guide
  • Tip: Start your visit with the Vatican Gardens aboard an open bus with an audio guide, then continue by visiting the Vatican Museums at your own pace.
  • Please note the chosen time must be respected and latecomers will not be accommodated.
  • The onboard audio guide is available in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese.
  • Strict Dress Code: Guests must wear clothing that covers the shoulders and knees.
  • These tickets can't be cancelled or rescheduled.
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Combo: Vatican Museums + Borghese Gallery Tickets

from
€59
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
Highlights
Inclusions
Cancellation Policy
  • This money-saving combo ticket offers a convenient way to admire two of the greatest art collections in the world at the Vatican Museums and Borghese Gallery.
  • Get priority access to Vatican Museums and see priceless works of art from the Papal collections by Michelangelo, Raphael, da Vinci, and Titian, amongst others.
  • Sprawled across 54 galleries, the museums include the Gallery of Maps, Raphael’s Rooms, and more.
  • The biggest highlight is the breathtaking frescoes that adorn the walls of the legendary Sistine Chapel.
  • Enjoy an escorted entry to the Borghese Gallery in Rome and avoid the winding queues.
  • Gasp at the amazing art collections curated by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Scipione Cardinal Borghese.
  • Admire Caravaggio's iconic masterpieces like David with the Head of Goliath and Boy with a Basket of Fruit.
  • Marvel at Raphael's The Deposition and sculptures like David and Apollo and Daphne.
  • Stroll through the Villa Borghese and explore the gardens dotted with vibrant flowers in bloom.

Inclusions

Vatican Museums

  • Skip-the-line tickets to the Vatican Museums
  • Skip-the-line tickets to the Sistine Chapel

Borghese Gallery

  • Escorted entry to the Borghese Gallery

Exclusions

  • Tickets to St. Peter's Basilica
  • Audio guide for Borghese Gallery (purchasable on-site for 5 Euros)
  • These tickets can't be cancelled or rescheduled.
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Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel Early Morning or After-Hours Skip-the-Line Tour

from
€127
Instant Confirmation
Mobile Ticket
Flexible Duration
Highlights
Inclusions
Need to know
Cancellation Policy
  • Get priority access by skipping the line to the Vatican's top attractions and firsthand experiencing its renowned wonders such as central panels and the Last Supper.
  • Make your way to the historical Sistine Chapel and marvel at the staggering collection of artworks by Renaissance artists like Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Ghirlandaio.
  • Upgrade your stay with a delectable American breakfast in the Pinecone Courtyard. Upgrade and opt for a night tour of the museum as an alternative option.
  • Choose between an early morning guided tour, ideal for a walk, or an after-hours guided tour where you enjoy the soft evening light and count on much smaller crowds than usual.

Inclusions

  • Entry to the Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel
  • After-hours guided tour of Vatican Museums (optional)
  • Early morning guided tour of Vatican Museums (optional)
  • 30-min breakfast in the Vatican's Courtyard (optional)
  • Group of 20 people or less
  • Reservation fees
  • Tip: Located in the Vatican Museums' exit area, this unique double-helix staircase was designed by Donato Bramante. Its innovative design allows you to ascend and descend without intersecting each other, creating a visually captivating architectural marvel.
  • It's recommended to wear clothing that covers their knees, arms, and back.
  • Note that tripod and flash photography are not allowed in this experience.
  • These tickets can't be cancelled or rescheduled.
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Combo (Save 5%): Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel + St. Peter’s Basilica Dome Guided Tour

from €91
€86.45
Save 5%
Mobile Ticket
Guided Tour
Highlights
Inclusions
Ticket Options
Need to know
Cancellation Policy
  • This economical guided tour combo is the go-to choice for those looking to delve deeper into the art history of the Vatican.
  • Start your tour learning about the 120-year-long resilient process of creating St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world, from your expert guide.
  • Worried about exploring the series of 1400 rooms in Vatican Museums? Fret not, your guide will ensure you don't miss out on the greats with a perfectly-planned itinerary.
  • Said to house the largest collection of art in the world, the museum will awe you with Renaissance masterpieces by Raphael, Caravaggio, and Da Vinci.
  • During your Sistine Chapel tour, ask your guide about Michelangelo’s self-portraits in the Last Judgement and the hidden references to the human anatomy in the magnificent fresco.

Inclusions

St. Peter's Basilica

  • Guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica

Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel

  • Guided tour of the Vatican Museums
  • Guided tour of the Sistine Chapel

This ticket has the following options that you can choose from:

  • English-guided tour
  • Spanish-guided tour
  • French guided tour

St. Peter's Basilica

  • Strict dress code: Sleeveless blouses, miniskirts, shorts, and hats are not permitted. Knees and shoulders MUST be covered for both men and women.
  • Expect a considerable wait time as you queue for the security checks. It could take up to an hour during the peak season.

Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel

  • Photography is allowed, only without flash. Taking videos and photos for commercial purposes, or live broadcasting of a show is strictly prohibited.
  • These tickets can't be cancelled or rescheduled.
Vatican TicketsVatican City

What is Vatican City?

Vatican City, nestled within Rome's historic center, is the world's smallest sovereign state, governed by the Holy See, and serves as an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state led by the Pope.

The history of Vatican City's independence dates back to the Lateran Treaty when it became a separate entity from Italy. Today, it thrives on various sources of income, with tourism being one of the most vital contributors to its economy. The Vatican Museums alone attracted 4.3 million people in 2007. The Vatican is also home to St. Peter's Basilica, an architectural masterpiece and a symbol of faith. For those seeking a deeper connection to their faith or a chance to immerse themselves in art and history, a visit to Vatican City is an unforgettable experience.

Quick facts about Vatican City

Vatican City

Why Visit Vatican City in Rome?

Vatican City

Vatican City Map

Interesting facts about Vatican City

Vatican City Geography

Geography

The Vatican City is located near the Tiber's right bank, on a small slope that was once part of the ancient Vatican Hill, on which some villas were built prior to Christ's birth. The state's territory, which covers 44 hectares, is partially besieged by the walls and continues up to a strip of travertine on St. Peter's Square that connects the external ends of the colonnade to the ground, marking the state border at the edge of the square, which is usually open to the public.

Vatican City Population

Population

There are 825 people of the state, although only 246 (including 104 Swiss Guards members) dwell within the walls. Approximately half of the citizens live outside of the country, primarily for reasons of service. Vatican citizenship is not based on birth or blood but granted only to those who reside and work for the Vatican office. Cardinals who live in Vatican City or Rome, as well as diplomats of the Holy See, are also considered citizens. Citizenship is lost when the term of office comes to an end. Children cannot inherit it from their parents. The Vatican allows keeping dual citizenship.

Vatican City, Religion

Religion

Its entire population comprises of Christians. Catholicism is the official religion of the Vatican City. The Vatican City is the center of the Roman Catholic Church and the seat of the Pope. The pope is not only the Bishop of Rome, and head of the Roman Catholic Church, but also head of the Vatican City State. Catholics believe that the Pope is the successor to Saint Peter, who is believed to have been appointed by Jesus as the first head of his church.

Vatican City, Culture

Culture

Home to St. Peter's Basilica, the largest church in the world and the Vatican Museums that holds some of the most famous art in the world, it is of no doubt that the Vatican City is a place of great cultural significance. The Vatican Library holds a collection of great historic, scientific and cultural value. In 1984, the Vatican was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is the only country to have made it to the list. The Vatican is also considered to be the de facto custodian of the Latin language. By virtue of being a theocracy, religion is an integral part of the country.

Vatican City newspaper

Vatican City newspaper

Established in 1861, L'Osservatore Romano is the official newspaper of the Holy See, offering unique insights into the Vatican's perspective on global issues, religious matters, and papal pronouncements. Read by a largely Catholic audience, it exists in both print and digital formats. However, it's also widely read by diplomats, scholars, and anyone interested in understanding the Vatican's stance on various issues.

Vatican City Guards

Vatican City Guards

Also known as the Swiss Guard, they are the world's oldest continuously operating military unit, steeped in rich history and tradition. Their iconic yellow, red, and blue uniforms (rumored to be designed by Michelangelo but not confirmed), are instantly recognizable and a major tourist attraction. Established in 1506, they swear an oath of loyalty to the Pope, becoming his personal protectors and defenders of the Vatican City.

Vatican Laws

Vatican Laws

While Vatican City has a complex legal system, here's a brief overview of its main laws:

  1. Fundamental Law: This acts as the "mini-constitution" governing the city's civil entities, establishing its organization and basic principles.
  2. Canon Law: The official legal system of the Catholic Church applies throughout the Vatican, governing religious matters and its internal structure.
  3. Curia Law: Specific regulations governing various departments and administrative bodies within the Vatican Curia.
  4. Positive Civil and Penal Law: A codified system of laws covering aspects like criminal offenses, contracts, and civil procedure.
  5. International Law: The Vatican adheres to relevant international treaties and agreements.

Please note that this is a simplified overview, and each area has sub-categories and nuances.

Vatican City Language

Language

Italian is the official language of Vatican City; it is the language used in official documents and for administrative and diplomatic affairs. Earlier, during the Roman Empire and the era of Papal States, Latin was the main language spoken in the area of the present Vatican City. While Italian is the lingua franca, the Holy See uses Latin as its official language. French is also sometimes used as a diplomatic language. In the Swiss Guard, Swiss German is used for giving commands, but the individual guards take their oath of loyalty in their own languages.

Vatican Climate

Weather

The Vatican has a temperate Mediterranean climate, just like Rome. It has mild, rainy winters from September to May and hot, dry summers in the months of May to August. It is these dry summers that used to drive the Popes to the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo during summers.

Best Time to Visit

September to October would be the best months to visit the Vatican. The temperature would be cool and pleasant.

Vatican City Flag

Flag

Yes, Vatican City has its own flag. The papal or Vatican City flag is a two-part yellow (towards the shaft) and white cloth with the decussate keys loaded in the middle and the Triregno atop; the shaft is topped with a spear ornamented with a cockade in the same colors as the flag and trimmed with gold. In ancient times, the Papal State's flag was yellow and crimson, the Senate's and Roman people's customary colors.

Vatican Currency

Currency

The Vatican is a sovereign state with its own currency. By virtue of the monetary arrangement with the Italian government, Vatican coins are legal money in Italy and all other countries. Despite not being a member of the European Union or the Eurozone, Italy and the Vatican City struck a deal in 2000 that permitted the Vatican to use the euro as its official currency. The Vatican Euro, on the other hand, was designed with an image of the Pope on the back to differentiate itself as an autonomous city-state.

Pontification Hymn of Vatican City

The State of the Vatican City, as a sovereign authority under public law with global recognition, has its own official hymn, which has been the Pontifical March created by the famed French musician and passionate Catholic Charles Gounod since October 16, 1949, by order of Pius XII.

Vatican City Anthem

Previous National Anthem: Since 1857, the official Vatican anthem has been performed by Vittorino Hallmayer, director of the Band of the XXXVII Infantry Regiment "Conte Kinsky" of the Austrian army in the Papal States stationed in Rome. And it was this melody that echoed through the streets of the city shortly after the 1929 reconciliation.

Current Pontifical Hymn: The Pontifical Hymn of Gounod, which was officially authorized on the eve of the Holy Year of 1950, is considerably different from the one written in the style of the time by Hallmayer, with its bright and vigorous pace like a waltz. Pius XII opted to replace the official song of the time with the never-forgotten Pontifical March of Gounod, whose religious tone was more appropriate for the times.

Governance

What is the Holy See?

What is the Holy See?

The Holy See is the name given to the Roman Catholic Church's government, which is led by the pope, who is also the bishop of Rome. As a result, the Holy See's jurisdiction extends to all Catholics worldwide. It has been based in Vatican City since 1929 when it was founded as an autonomous state to allow the pope to exercise its universal authority. Although the Holy See and Vatican City, the independent territory over which the Holy See has sovereign authority, are intimately linked, the two entities are separate and distinct.

Government of Vatican City

Government of Vatican City

The Supreme Pontiff and, in his name, the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State, which also perpetuates the basic norms, issue the clauses. Both are issued in a special addendum to the Holy See's Official Bulletin, Acta Apostolicae Sedis. The Cardinal President of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State, who bears the title of 'President of the Governorate' in this position, has executive authority. The Governorate's organization is based on the President's Directorates and Central Offices. The Pontifical Commission and the President of the Governorate might enlist the help of the General Councilor and the State Councilors in creating legislation and other matters of key significance.

Vatican City wealth: Economy

The Vatican City State economy is supported by the sale of stamps, coins, souvenirs, entrance fee to the Vatican Museums and publications sales. Other industries in Vatican include printing, the production of mosaics, and staff uniform manufacturing. There is a pharmacy in Vatican.

The Institute for Works of Religion or Vatican Bank, is a financial agency in the Vatican. It has multilingual ATMs and is the only one in the world to offer instructions in Latin.

Who lives in Vatican City?

Vatican City has approximately 800 citizens who are primarily clergy (priests, bishops, cardinals) involved in the Holy See's operations. The population also comprises the Swiss Guards protecting the Pope and Vatican.

Can you live in Vatican City? Living in Vatican City as a regular citizen is not possible in the traditional sense. Vatican citizenship is not based on factors like birthplace or ethnicity. It's granted based on specific roles, responsibilities, and residency within the city, and it's usually temporary. Moreover, nearly all residents and citizens are Catholic due to the Vatican's religious purpose.

Things To Do In Vatican City

St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City
Vatican Museums, Vatican City
Vatican Gardens
Vatican Observatory

Vatican Observatory

Established in 1891 and supported by the Holy See, the Vatican Observatory primarily focuses on scientific research while contributing to public outreach and fostering dialogue between faith and science.

Redemptions Mater Chapel, Vatican City

Redemptions Mater Chapel

The chapel, historically known as the Redemptoris Mater Chapel, is located just outside the papal quarters and is designated for the Pope's exclusive use, is noteworthy for its varied mosaics that resemble early Byzantine religious artwork.

St Peter's Square

St Peter's Square

St Peter's Square serves as a ceremonial forecourt to St. Peter's Basilica, the largest Christian church. At the centre of the grand elliptical square, stands a towering pink granite obelisk, towering over 25 meters tall. Originally erected in Egypt around 1500 BC, it is one of the oldest standing obelisks in the world.

The Obelisk

The Obelisk

A towering pink granite obelisk stands over 25 meters tall at the center of the square. Originally erected in Egypt around 1500 BC, it is one of the oldest standing obelisks in the world. Holds symbolic significance in both ancient Egyptian and Christian traditions, often representing the sun god or Christ's light.

Where does Vatican City get its name from?

The Lateran Treaty, signed on February 11, 1929, established the modern city-state of Vatican City, which was named after Vatican Hill, the state's geopolitical setting. The name "Vatican" comes from an Etruscan settlement called Vatica or Vaticum, which was located in the broad area known to the Romans as Ager Vaticanus, or "Vatican territory".

Vatican City history

Vatican City History

Early History

1 AD - 5 AD

Until the 1st century AD, the toponym Ager Vaticanus was used. After that, another toponym, Vaticanus, appeared, signifying a considerably smaller area: the Vatican hill, today's St. Peter's Square, and probably today's Via Della Conciliazione.

Vatican City History

Papal States

756 - 1870

Popes progressively gained a secular role as administrators of Rome's vicinity. They ruled the Papal States, a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula, from 756 until 1870. The popes did not live at the Vatican for most of their reign. For nearly a thousand years, they lived in the Lateran Palace on the opposite side of Rome.

Vatican City History

Roman Question and the Lateran Treaty

1870 - 1929

The "Roman Question" related to the Pope's status between 1861 and 1929. The Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and the Kingdom of Italy was signed on February 11, 1929. The treaty established the separate state of Vatican City and confirmed the special status of Catholic Christianity in Italy.

Vatican City History

World War II

1939 - 1945

Under the leadership of Pope Pius XII, the Holy See, which administered Vatican City, followed a policy of neutrality during World War II. Despite the fact that German troops held Rome following the Armistice of Cassibile in September 1943 and the Allies from 1944, they both treated Vatican City as neutral territory.

Vatican City History

Post-war History

Post-1945

During the war, Pius XII refrained from appointing cardinals. There were numerous significant openings by the end of World War II, including Cardinal Secretary of State, Camerlengo, Chancellor, and Prefect for the Congregation for the Religious. Pius XII appointed 32 cardinals in early 1946, after announcing his intentions in his Christmas letter the year before.

Planning a Visit to the Vatican?

  • Don’t forget to visit the Vatican Necropolis and Vatican Gardens as they are often the most exclusive experiences in Vatican City.
  • Plan to spend at least two to three hours at the Vatican Museums if you want to cover the important artworks on display.
  • Pick a guided tour if you want to know the intricate details about the architecture and artworks at the museums or at St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • Purchase skip-the-line tickets if you want to be time-efficient.
  • Reach the Vatican City early if you want to visit the attractions when the crowd is low.
  • Inquire about the alternative opening times during holidays and weekends.
  • Stick to the dress code when visiting Vatican City. You may be asked to leave if your attire is deemed to be inappropriate.
  • Take the weather into consideration before planning your trip as most of the Vatican City museums are not air-conditioned.

Frequently asked questions about Vatican City

What is the Vatican City?

The Roman Catholic Church is headquartered in Vatican City, a city-state bordered by Rome, Italy. It is the seat of the Pope as well as a treasure trove of legendary art and architecture.

Is Vatican City a country?

Located in the heart of Rome, Vatican City is the smallest country in the world with its own independent government.

Do I need to buy entrance tickets to enter the Vatican?

No, you don’t need tickets to enter Vatican City. However, you will need tickets to enter the various attractions within Vatican City. You can buy tickets to Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica here.

Where is Vatican City located?

The Vatican City is located in the heart of Rome along the river Tiber.

Does Vatican City have its own government?

Yes, Vatican City has its own government known as the Holy See. The Vatican City State is an ecclesiastical state ruled by the Pope.

Do I need a passport to visit Vatican City?

You do not need a passport to enter Vatican City. Vatican City has no separate border policy from Rome.

What currency do I need to carry with me when visiting Vatican City?

You need to carry Euros when you visit Vatican City.

How big is Vatican City?

The size of Vatican City is 44 hectares or 0.44 square kilometers.

Does Vatican City have its own flag?

Yes, Vatican City has its own flag. It is two-part yellow and white with the decussate keys in the middle and the Triregno atop; the shaft is topped with a spear ornamented with a cockade in the same colors as the flag and trimmed with gold.

What can I see inside Vatican City?

The top places to see at Vatican City include St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museums, Vatican Gardens, Vatican Palaces, Castel Gandolfo, and Redemptions Mater Chapel.

How old is Vatican City?

Vatican City became a recognized sovereign state in its current form in 1929, with the signing of the Lateran Treaties between the Holy See and Italy. However, the site of Vatican City has been associated with the Catholic Church for centuries. The construction of St. Peter's Basilica, a key landmark, began in the 4th century AD, marking the presence of the Church there for nearly 1,700 years.

Does the Pope live in Vatican City?

Yes, the Pope does live in Vatican City. The Pope's official residence is the Apostolic Palace, within the Vatican City walls. This grand palace features numerous apartments, offices and other facilities. However, the current pope, Pope Francis chose to reside in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, a Vatican guesthouse instead of the traditional papal apartments.