The imposing and circular Castel Sant’Angelo sits on the Vatican side of the Tiber River, at one end of the aptly-named Ponte Sant’Angelo. It’s technically not within Vatican boundaries, but this building is tied to the Vatican in more than one way.
St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in Christendom, and chances are very good that it’s on your must-see list when you’re in Rome even if you’re neither Catholic or an art aficionado. For all the other superlatives you can use to describe this great church, however, you can’t overlook the incredible collection of art contained in its chapels.
One of the highlights of a visit to Vatican City is seeing the Pope during his weekly papal audience. You can mill around at the back of St. Peter’s Square, scanning for the little white dot thta is the Pope at the front of the huge crowd, or you can plan ahead – because that’s absolutely a must in this case – and get tickets to a papal audience during your Vatican City trip.
When you’re visiting Rome, it’s a good idea to set aside essentially a whole day to spend in Vatican City. Unfortunately, despite being called a “city,” the Vatican doesn’t really have its own selection of great restaurants to choose from when you’re ready for your lunch break. Luckily, Rome does – including lots of good options in the neighborhoods surrounding Vatican City.
You’re probably familiar with the enormous St. Peter’s Basilica and the sprawling Vatican Museums buildings in Vatican City, but neither one of those structures includes a place for the Pope to live. Instead, the Pope’s grand apartments are in an historic building that overlooks St. Peter’s Square, called the Apostolic Palace.
Sometimes on vacation in a foreign country you just want to blend in – avoid cultural faux pas, get the “local” price, and not look like a target for pickpockets. And in some places it’s exactly the opposite, when being a VIP makes all the difference. A trip to the always-popular and almost-always-crowded Vatican City is just one of those places.
If you’re planning a trip to Italy in August, you’ve probably read about the national holiday that falls right in the middle of the month, on August 15th. It’s alternately called “Ferragosto” and “Assumption Day,” although in Vatican City it’s always referred to by the latter – its Christian name.
If you’re looking for a way to avoid the long lines outside the Vatican Museums and make your visit particularly unique and memorable, then you can’t do much better than a private breakfast in the Vatican courtyard before the museum even opens to the public.
Although are plenty of sights above-ground to keep you occupied in Vatican City, one that’s getting increasingly popular (especially since the Dan Brown book and film, “Angels & Demons”) is the Roman Necropolis underneath St. Peter’s Basilica. It requires advance reservations to visit so you’ll need to plan ahead for this one.
For most of us, a trip to the post office when we travel is something of a chore – a necessity when sending postcards back home, but often annoying or confusing. In Vatican City, however, the post office is one of the tourist attractions.