Must-Visit Places At The Vatican City
Covering 0.44 square kilometres, the Vatican City (Citta del Vaticano) is the smallest country in the world. With a population numbering 920 inhabitants, the sacred city attracts an average of five million tourists and Christian faithful all over the world annually.
The UNESCO cultural heritage city became an independent nation in 1929 after the signing of the Lateran Pacts. It boasts of several places where you can visit to get in tune with the Holy Land:
St Peter’s Basilica
This houses the grave of St Peter, the first bishop of Rome and a disciple of Jesus Christ. The basilica which was built between the 16th and 18th century has St Peter’s grave in the centre and sits over a maze of catacombs. It also houses Michelangelo’s Renaissance sculpture depicting Jesus in mother Mary’s lap before his crucifixion. It is also the only work that Michelangelo ever signed.
Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel
With over 20,000 visits to this room every day during the summer, this is arguably the most visited room in the world. The 500-year-old ceiling frescoes has since the times of Michelangelo till date being the most talked about room in the world.
The Mausoleum of Hadrian/Castel Sant’Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel)
Formerly Rome’s tallest building, legend has it that Archangel Michael appeared atop the building “sheathing his sword as a sign of the end of the plague of 590.”
Passetto di Borgo
This 800 metres passage is the link between the Vatican city and the Castel Sant’Angelo. It also served as an escape route for popes Alexander VI and Clement VII. It was built in n 1277 by Pope Nicholas III.
The Pio-Clementino Museum
Founded by Pope Clement XIV in 1771, the 12 room Museum contains the Vatican’s best Greek and Roman masterpieces including the 320 BC Greek bronze statue by Lysippus.