Since 1929 the Vatican City is recognized as an independent state, and is actually the smallest one in the world, with an area of 44 hectares and a population of 900 people. Yet it has its own currency, its stamps, his guards, his media outlets, even a small railway.
Vatican City is itself of great cultural significance. Buildings such as St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel are home to some of the most famous art in the world, which includes works by artists such as Botticelli, Bernini and Michelangelo. The Vatican Library and the collections of the Vatican Museums are of the highest historical, scientific and cultural importance. In 1984, the Vatican was added by UNESCO to the List of World Heritage Sites; it is the only one to consist of an entire country.
The Vatican Museums, built as a sort of papal collection over the centuries, probably born 500 years ago when the sculpture of Laocoon was discovered and Pope Julius II decided to expose it, starting a long, papal tradition of collecting art works.
Nowadays the Vatican Museums are one of the largest museums in the world by number of art works. Among these, in addition to the Sistine Chapel, is the statue considered the greatest masterpiece Western art has produced: the Pietà by Michelangelo.
The main attraction in Vatican City, anyway, is St. Peter's Basilica, with its 23,000 sqmt is the largest in the world by size. In the place where Peter was martyred, the first basilica was built by Constantine in his honor and became the spiritual center of Christianity. During the Renaissance, the church underwent a restoration project on Bramante and Michelangelo. Michelangelo designed the extraordinary dome, on the same design of the Brunelleschi Dome of Florence.
Nowadays is one of the most visited places in the world by millions of tourists, pilgrims, art and history lovers. St. Peter's and the Vatican worth many visits.
From April 1 to September 30
Daily from 7:00 to 19:00
Every Wednesday, there is the papal audience: Basilica is only open from 13.00 to 19.00
From 1 October to 30 March
Daily from 7:00 to 18:30
Every Wednesday, there is the papal audience: Basilica is only open from 13.00 to 18.30
from 8.00 to 18.00 there are various functions