The smallest state in the world is a must visit place when you come to Rome. In order to explore Vatican City properly, you will need at least one whole day. So, we decided to list all things you can see in just 24 hours when in Vatican City.
Rome has one of the most enchanting streets in the world, Via della Conciliazione, which connects the state of the Holy See with Rome. This street was established in 1936 and connects Piazza San Pietro with Piazza Pio XII, where a travertine line indicates the border of Vatican City. Along this street, there are a number of souvenir shops, out of which Savelli Religious Vatican Gift Shop is worth visiting.
Things to See in Vatican City in Just 24 Hours
This work of Renaissance sculpture is one of the most beautiful art works you’ll ever see. It is a marble sculpture by Michelangelo, which dates between 1497 and 1499. This sculpture was commissioned by Jean de Bilhères, the ambassador of Charles VIII. The Pietà is the only work ever signed by Michelangelo and it’s located in the Basilica from XVIII century.
Saint Peter’s Dome
This dome, also known as ‘cuppolone’ is a symbol of the Eternal City along with the Colosseum. The Dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica is the tallest dome in the world. Moreover, it was designed by many artists, including Bramante, Raffaello Sanzio, Sangallo, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Bernini. If you go there, don’t miss the view from above which cost only € 8 if you take the elevator and € 5 if you take the stairs.
The Pontifical Swiss Guards
The small force maintained by the Holy See and responsible for the safety of the Pope serve ever since 1506. The changing of the Swiss Guards happens every hour, just right below the “Arco delle Campane” arch of bells, and it’s a must see when in the Vatican. The Pontifical Swiss Guards became the official militia when the Papal State was born. There are no more than 100 guards and 6 officers, who protect the Pope in the Vatican and on his official ceremonies and travels. They wear blue, red, orange and yellow uniform.
The Gardens of Vatican are a must visit place and they are included in every guided tour. However, you cannot visit them on your own, but only by guided tour or electric bus, which cost €32. Moreover, you need to book your spot in advance. You can see a number of things in the Gardens, including sculptures, fountains, flowers, trees, and an artificial grotto devoted to Our Lady of Lourdes.
Things to Know Before Visiting the Vatican Museums
• You can visit the Vatican museums every last Sunday of the month for free. However, it is then that the queues are long and if you decide to go, head there two hours before the opening.
• The museums are closed on Sundays, except for the last Sunday every month, while they are open until 2:00 pm and the last entry is at 12:30 pm.
• The Sistine Chapel is a must visit museum and it’s considered to be one of the wonders of the world. There are over 300 paintings painted in the Chapel which represent scenes from Genesis, the birth and fall of man, The Last Judgment, and Jesus’ ancestors. An important thing to know is that Michelangelo had never painted fresco before working to the Sistine Chapel. In fact, he needed four years to complete the work.
• Inside the museums, you shouldn’t miss The Pinacoteca Vaticana, or Art Gallery. Even though it is not always included in the guided tours, this place has 18 rooms with a rich collection of 460 paintings displayed in chronological order. There you can see paintings from different periods, from the Middle Ages to 1800. The paintings are works of some of the best painters in history, including Leonardo, Caravaggio, Giotto and Raffaello.
• Don’t miss the Gallery of Maps, a gallery located on the west side of the Belvedere Courtyard. The gallery is named after the topographical maps painted by Ignazio Danti. The gallery features 40 maps frescoed on the walls, such as maps of Europe, the world and many wonderful globes. Surprisingly, it is believed that these 40 maps are approximately 80% accurate.
• The end of the tour offers the most breathtaking views from all, the view of the small state in the heart of Rome.
• It’s best to book all your tickets for the museums online and go there either very early or late. We recommend visiting Vatican City in the off-season and taking the secret passageway from the Sistine Chapel straight into the Basilica.