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Smallest City in the World

Many people identify cities with enormous geographical areas, tall skyscrapers, and congested streets jam-packed with people and traffic. However, certain cities worldwide contradict this idea due to their lesser populations. The Vatican is one such city.

Vatican City (properly, a city-state) is one of the smallest cities (technically, a sovereign country) in the world, with about 0.17 square miles in area. This is less than a quarter the size of the next smallest country, Monaco. It has a population of roughly 800 individuals, with slightly more than half being citizens. However, many Vatican City passport holders live abroad and serve in diplomatic postings.

What To See And Do In The Smallest City In The World

Vatican City has been essential to the Catholic Church since the beginning of Christianity. Vatican City is an independent city-state with its own government, laws, administration, and infrastructure, although being located in Rome. The pope governs Vatican City. Following the signing of the Lateran Treaty in 1929, it gained independence from the rest of Rome.

An estimated 5 million people visit this holy place each year. Here are some of the top attractions you should not miss when you visit Vatican City:

Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel should undoubtedly be at the top of one’s itinerary when visiting the smallest city in the world. The Sistine Chapel, the Cappella Magna, was constructed between 1473 and 1481. This is where the Pope’s religious and formal rituals are held. It is the location where they elect the new Pope.

Michaelangelo’s one-of-a-kind paintings on the Chapel ceiling and the west wall behind the altar are magnificent. Michelangelo was so obsessed with artwork that he labored day and night for eight years, all by himself, to complete this massive project. His paintings predominantly depict Old Testament narratives and characters.

St Peter’s Square

Gian Lorenzo Bernini redesigned St. Peter’s Square under the direction of Pope Alexander VII. This redesign ensures that most people can watch the Pope deliver his blessings while standing there.

Aside from its size, the most striking feature of the lovely oval square is its 284 columns and 88 pilasters. On top of these columns are 140 statues of various saints sculpted by Bernini’s students. Walking around Saint Peter’s Square and photographing the columns are among the best things to do while visiting the Vatican.

Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museum is one of the world’s finest museums, housing the best art and artifact collections under one roof. The museums house pieces ranging from Renaissance wall paintings to the Gallery of Maps and everything in between. Explore the ancient mosaics, ceiling decorating, statue-filled courtyards, Egyptian mummies, optical illusions, and Etruscan bronzes. The Vatican Museums are a must-see for every art lover, culture visitor, history buff, or religious individual.

Saint Peter’s Basilica

A vacation to Rome would only be complete with a stop at Saint Peter’s Basilica. This spectacular Renaissance church is said to be erected on the burial location of Saint Peter, one of the original followers of Jesus Christ. Every feature of this small city’s cathedrals is stunning, as every element was meticulously planned and accomplished.

Thanks to the master architects Michelangelo, Bernini, Raphael, and Bramante, it is regarded as one of the most exquisite buildings in the entire world. Prepare to be astounded by the church’s interiors, adorned with famous art pieces, marble, gold, fine sculptures, brilliant mosaics, and rare relics. The massive altar atop St. Peter’s tomb and the tombs of decades of Popes make this area unique.

Receive The Pope’s Blessings

Every Wednesday morning (if The Pope is in Rome), the Vatican tourists can see him as he gives blessings at the Papal Audience in Piazza San Pietro. Tickets for the Papal Audience can be purchased online or at the Swiss Guards the day before the event. If you missed it on Wednesday, don’t worry; he also appears on Sundays at noon to bless tourists and pilgrims.

How To Get Around The Vatican

By foot: Walking around this small city is easy because everything is within walking distance. It will take you 35 minutes to walk to the top two sights. You will take a 35-minute walk to St. Peter’s Square and a 15-minute stroll to the Vatican Museums’ gate.

By metro: There are two metro stations immediately outside the Vatican walls: Ottaviano and Cipro, both of which stop only a few minutes walk from the Vatican.

By bus: Buses 40, 49, and 64 all stop near the Vatican. Buses 40 and 64 depart from Roma Termini and are the most frequent. Bus No. 40 stops at Piazza Pia, just near the Vatican and a few minutes walk from St. Peter’s Square. Bus 49 stops directly in front of the Vatican Museums on the square.

Do You Require A Tour Guide In The Smallest City In The World?

With so many museums and miles of historical marvels to view, hiring a tour guide is a fantastic option. They will ensure you see all of the main places and learn about their intriguing history.

When Is The Most Appropriate Time to Tour The Vatican?

The months of April to October are ideal for a visit to the world’s smallest city. This is because the weather is usually pleasant and there are few tourists.  If you can endure the cold, wintertime in December is also a terrific time to visit. The site is ordinarily tranquil and not particularly popular during the cold months and the Christmas season. This magnificent site is open to anyone, not just Catholics.

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