With long lines scaring tourists many wonder if a trip to the Vatican is worth it. But there’s good news. It’s possible to buy “skip the line” tickets to fast track your visit and there are so many reasons to go.
See the Pope
Let’s get the most obvious reason out of the way. If you are a practicing Catholic or interested in Catholicism, going to the home of the Pope to pay respects is worthwhile.
If you want to see the Pope in person check out the Vatican website to see his schedule. If he’s in Rome he generally makes an appearance outside Saint Peter’s square for a Papal audience. It’s not a mass but there is an address (in Italian), prayers and some singing. Even if you aren’t Catholic, but simply curious, it’s an interesting experience.
Visit a New Country
Vatican City is the smallest country in the world with 800 inhabitants and governed by the Pope. It’s not simply symbolic, the Vatican prints its own currency (Euro), has its own passports and license plates.
Unfortunately, you cannot get your passport stamped but you can buy souvenir stamps that the Vatican has printed.
The history of this region is intertwined with the Vatican. Since the construction of the Vatican, it along with the Pope, have been this most important figure in history for centuries. In fact, when the Vatican became a sovereign nation in 1929 it changed relations dramatically between Italy and the Church, particularly how they handled political and economic issues.
This dispute for sovereignty began in 1870 when an incoming government seized most of the land, with the exception of part of the Vatican. Pope Pius IX refused to leave the Vatican until they could come to an agreement, which did not happen until 1929.
There are so few places in the world to practice Latin; however, it is the official language of the Vatican.
Located on the banks of the Tiber River, Vatican City is home to the most prolific Renaissance architecture. The largest church in the world St. Peters was largely designed by Michaelangelo, Bramante, Maderno and Bernini.
Started in 1506, it took 120 years to complete and included many architects, which is why the style is Late Renaissance and Baroque.
The Best Views of Rome
Vatican City includes Monte Mario, the highest hill in Rome with a spectacular view of the city. Head to lo zodiaco summit by bus and spend the day in nature overlooking the chaotic city.
Although the Vatican is a church, it is also a museum. There are 1400 rooms tourists can visit with a catalog of Renaissance art on the walls but also on the ceilings.
The most popular are is the Sistine Chapel with art from 1473. It is where cardinals choose a new pope and is the last room tourists visit. While most are there to view Michelangelo’s famous ceiling the north wall features scenes from Jesus’ life, including the last supper and the south wall features scenes from the life of Moses, including the ten commandments.
Traveling as a family? Check out 5 Museums for Kids in Rome.