The Vatican City is among such few places on the earth which need no introduction. Seat of the highest authority of Catholic Church, it is surrounded by Rome on all sides. So, when in Rome, this is one place no one can afford to miss. Guarded by the Swiss Guard, Vatican is the smallest nation state in the world and one special tourist destination.
For some individuals, a trip to here is a pilgrimage or somewhat close to religious tourism. Even if you do not practice Catholicism, a tour of the Vatican is exhilarating. In many ways, it is a perfect destination for a family tour. The Swiss Guards take care of security of the campus. They can be seen wearing colorful dresses and are a prominent source of amusement for the visitors.
Visitors can reach here from Rome by catching a bus or a taxi from Rome. Navona is the nearest neighborhood from where one can reach simply by foot. Many areas inside the Vatican are inaccessible to the visitors. At the same time, those open for public visit include the Vatican Museum, St Peter's Basilica, Castel Sant'Angelo, Palazzo di Giustizia and Monte Mario.
Vatican Museum is among the most prominent art galleries one may find anywhere in the world. It is renowned for the magnificent spiral staircase, Sistine Chapel and the Rafael rooms. In fact, Sistine Chapel has been exquisitely designed and houses the famous frescoes by Michelangelo. Guided tours are available here albeit at a certain price. At the same time, one must respect code of conduct and dressing while entering here.
St Peter's Basilica can easily invoke a sense of awe in anybody’s mind. It has got a spectacularly designed imposing structure with a dome designed by Michelangelo. Visitors can climb up to top of the dome and enjoy a splendid view of the surroundings. Visitors can also go down the crypt for seeing the tomb of Pope John Paul II.
Prominent places of interest in the St Peter's Basilica include Vatican Gardens, Saint’s tomb, Necropolis among others. This is among the best places to have a glimpse of the Pope. He gives a blessing from a balcony on Sundays. It is always helpful to have a prior booking as thousands turn up here almost every other day, especially weekends and during important events.
St. Peter's Piazza is another must visit place at the Vatican. It is an exquisitely designed piazza and has a nice mix of fountains. The curiously placed obelisk is sometimes center of attraction of the tourists. This odd structure was imported from Egypt in A.D. 37. Quite intriguingly, no one was allowed to say anything about this obelisk in the past as per strict orders from the Popes.
The Vatican is best visited with the help of a tour guide. When here, do not forget to collect a few memorabilia including postcards. The Vatican has its own restaurant as well, where visitors can enjoy pasta, antipasti, salads and other delicious items.