The Vatican City – Interesting Facts and Tourist Attractions

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1 vatican-city-pic1The Vatican City came into existence in 1929 through the Lateran Treaty by Benito Mussolini (on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel III), which set up the Vatican as an independent state. What is interesting about this small country is that you can only become a citizen of the Vatican by appointment of work in the city-state, even if you were born of parents who are citizens of the Vatican. You lose your citizenship when you lose your job and having no citizenship of another country, you automatically become Italian.
The Vatican is the only country in the world to be a continuous monarchy that is unable to be inherited, since the Pope is not allowed to marry or have children to take over when he passes. The population is approximately 1.000 and consists of the Pope’s closest staff, namely cardinals, his personal security group and the Swiss Guard. The extensively trained and highly skilled Swiss Guard’s role is strictly to protect the safety of the Pope.
The Vatican City and the Holy See are not one and the same as it is widely believed. The Holy See date back to early Christianity and is the main Episcopal see of more than a billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe. Ordinances of Vatican City are published in Italian; official documents of the Holy See are issued mainly in Latin. The two entities have distinct passports: the Holy See, not being a country, issues only diplomatic and service passports whereas Vatican City State issues normal passports. (Resource: Wikipedia)
The Vatican mints its own coins and if you manage to find one, you should hold onto it. The Vatican coins are very sought-after by collectors. This is also the only place in the world where you can find Latin ATMs. If you do not understand Latin, you may find it extremely difficult to get cash out of them.
Tourist Attractions
Vatican City Map
2 Vatican-City-Map-HD-768x1366One can enter the Vatican City from the northern side of the city or from the south-eastern side. The top tourist attractions include the Saint Peter’s Square, The Basilica of Saint Peter, the museums, the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms.
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican, officially known in Italian as Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano and commonly known as Saint Peter’s Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within Vatican City. The Saint Peter’s has the largest interior of any church in the world and is the centre of the Catholic faith. The interior of the church is lavishly decorated with reliefs, marble, sculpture and gilding. Some of the outstanding artworks include Michelangelo’s Pieta. The five doors in the entrance hall are unique. The middle door is made from bronze and the door on the far right is the Holy Door and is only opened in Jubilee years.
Vatican coins are very sought-after by collectors. This is also the only place in the world where you can find Latin ATMs. If you do not understand Latin, you may find it extremely difficult to get cash out of them.
Tourist Attractions
Vatican City Map

One can enter the Vatican City from the northern side of the city or from the south-eastern side. The top tourist attractions include the Saint Peter’s Square, The Basilica of Saint Peter, the museums, the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms.
The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter in the Vatican, officially known in Italian as Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano and commonly known as Saint Peter’s Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within Vatican City. The Saint Peter’s has the largest interior of any church in the world and is the centre of the Catholic faith. The interior of the church is lavishly decorated with reliefs, marble, sculpture and gilding. Some of the outstanding artworks include Michelangelo’s Pieta. The five doors in the entrance hall are unique. The middle door is made from bronze and the door on the far right is the Holy Door and is only opened in Jubilee years.
For a spectacular view, you can climb the steps or take an elevator to the top of the Saint Peter’s basilica dome. Bear in mind that the dress code is strictly trousers or long dresses and shoulders covered. It is also important to respect the Roman Catholic Church and its practices.
The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo
3 sistine-the-creation-of-adam-michelangelo-631The Sistine Chapel is home to Michelangelo’s two most famous masterpieces. The Creation is magnificently painted on the ceiling and The Last Judgement occupies the entire wall behind the altar. Other magnificent paintings by Ghirlandaio and Botticelli can also be seen in the chapel.
The Pinacoteca Vaticana is one of the museums and home to great paintings such as Raphael’s Madonna of Foligno, Leonardo da Vinci’s St. Jerome in the Wilderness and Giotto’s Stefaneschi Triptych. The sculpture museums include Museo Pio-Clementino, Museo Chiaramonti, Museo Gregoriano Etrusco and Museo Gregoriano Egiziano.
The Vatican Historical Museum boasts a unique collection of portraits of the Popes from the 16th century. The display of Pope Mobiles, motorcars of Popes and Cardinals and carriages are amazing. The majestic Entombment painted by Caravaggio is on display at the historical museum. The Raphael Rooms showcase the masterpiece “The School of Athens” by Raphael.
There is no public transport available in the Vatican City, but many busses stop in front of Saint Peter’s Square. The best way to explore the city is by foot.

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