Vatican City (Citta del Vaticano)
Some of Rome’s most visited attractions are set in Vatican City. The Vatican Museums often have long entry lines stretching for blocks along the city walls; to avoid the crowds, consider reserving a small-group Vatican tour with skip-the-line access, or a private tour with VIP priority access, in the morning or evening. Vatican City private and group tours generally include visits to the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pinacoteca, other sights in the Vatican Museums complex, and the Vatican Gardens.
Recent reviews from experiences in Rome
Things to know before you go
The pope’s weekly address in St. Peter’s Square (nearly every Wednesday) is wildly popular, so be sure to book official Papal Audience tickets in advance.
Vatican City houses some of Italy’s most important artistic masterpieces, including Michelangelo’s Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica and his ceiling frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, plus the museum complex’s Raphael Rooms.
To enter St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, appropriate attire and behavior are required. Wear modest clothing and keep your voice low.
Security for entering the museum complex and the basilica includes a metal detector, so don’t bring any banned items, such as pocket knives, corkscrews, or umbrellas.
Vatican City has its own post office that issues official stamps, and a banking system that mints coins, though the euro is used for commerce.
How to get there
The most scenic way to enter Vatican City is by foot from the center of Rome, across Ponte Sant'Angelo to Piazza San Pietro. Alternatively, the Ottaviano station, on metro Line A, is about a 5-minute walk away.
When to get there
Vatican City heaves with tourists year-round. Summer is the busiest time of year, when skip-the-line tickets or a private tour guide are essential; the museums are less crowded during the winter months. At any time of year, Vatican City’s sights are busiest at midday, so plan your Rome tour around a visit in the early morning or late afternoon.
The Swiss Guards
Among the most photographed sights in Vatican City are the brightly costumed Swiss Guards, who stand at attention around St. Peter’s Square. This small force of Swiss soldiers is maintained by the Holy See and provides security for the papal residence and the pope, as it has since 1506.
- Things to do in Lake Bracciano
- Things to do in Lake Bolsena
- Things to do in Assisi
- Things to do in Siena
- Things to do in Naples
- Things to do in Capri
- Things to do in Pompeii
- Things to do in San Gimignano
- Things to do in Sorrento
- Things to do in Florence
- Things to do in Pisa
- Things to do in Bologna
- Things to do in Lazio
- Things to do in Umbria
- Things to do in Tuscany
- Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani)
- Vatican Gardens (Giardini Vaticani)
- Raphael's Rooms (Stanze di Raffaello)
- Sistine Chapel (Cappella Sistina)
- La Pietà
- St. Peter's Baldachin (Baldacchino di San Pietro)
- St. Peter's Dome (Cupola di San Pietro)
- St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro)
- Vatican Grottoes (Grotte Vaticane)
- Vatican Obelisk (Obelisco Vaticano)
- St. Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro)
- Paciotti Salumeria
- Via Cola di Rienzo
- Leonardo Da Vinci Experience Museum (Museo Leonardo Da Vinci Experience)
- Castel Sant'Angelo National Museum (Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo)