Vatican City is located inside Rome, Italy. It is the smallest country in the world while having the largest church as of today. The Pope lives here. The Vatican City is surrounded by the massive and sturdy walls; tourists can only visit St Peter’s Square, St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican museum and the guided tours of some Vatican gardens.
A day trip from Rome
I went for a day trip to the Vatican City when I was staying in Rome for 4 days. It took me only 30 minutes to get there by bus #64 from Rome Central Station. In my opinion, the Vatican City is a must-visit if you are staying in Rome for at least 4 days.
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome and hence the leader of the world Catholic Church.
You can see the Pope during the Angelus at noon on every Sunday in St Peter’s Square (first make sure he is in town as he may be away on certain dates). Click here to learn how to see the Pope.
I kept asking myself why I came here to see the Pope (as I am not religious), but it was a pretty amazing way to spend a day in Rome isn’t it? Since he is one of the most famous people in the world who always appears on TV… It was a very different experience for me. The downside is that the popular Vatican Museum is not open on Sunday!
St Peter’s Square
This place is unbelievably stunning. Each statue on the top of the building is unique and very detailed. You will see the St Peter’s Basilica which is one of the most impressive buildings in the world. It is amazing to see such a spectacular architecture in the world’s tiniest country.
You do not have to reserve or buy any ticket to get in the St Peter’s Square or St Peter’s Basilica, you just need to go through the security check. There is no way to skip the line. I arrived early at 9.30am, so I only queued for 15-20 minutes. You may need to queue for an hour during peak season/ peak hours.
St Peter’s Square was very crowded during my visit on Sunday, but it was not as bad as I thought. There is enough space to handle a huge amount of people. Many police are here to ensure security and help tourists to stay as orderly as possible. Since it is Angelus prayer on Sunday, there are many seats for you to sit down and pray with them. Each person will receive a free small book and are welcome to join them. It was actually quite inspiring.
You can sit down as you like but please respect them: stand up when needed and do not make unnecessary noise – as I can see there are a lot of sincere prayers. Do not be a ruthless traveller.
As I read online, Pope Francis will appear from the window of his apartment there. So I found a good spot to sit down and wait patiently until 12 pm. It was a very hot day! But the Pope didn’t appear from the window on that day, instead he appeared and gave speech in front of St Peter’s Basilica; I don’t know why… maybe that day was different.
Finally, I saw the Pope and took a video of him… I couldn’t get close to him because the people here were crazy. Hahaha… one memorable experience in my life.
Inside St Peter’s Basilica
St Peter’s Basilica is the largest church on the planet at this moment. This is a Catholic church and the admission is free of charge!
Once you walk into the basilica, you will see Pietà – the famous Renaissance sculpture made by Michelangelo. It depicts the Virgin Mary cradling the body of Jesus.
The church is huge and glorious. There are many exquisite sculptures here. 🙂
Swiss Guard: a good idea of photo. They are the Swiss soldiers wearing the Renaissance-style uniform, nowadays only employed by the Vatican City. The Swiss Guards were first brought into the Vatican City by the Pope in the 15th century due to their loyalty. Today there are still about 100 Swiss guards, who swear even their lives to protect the Pope!
If you come on Sunday to see the Pope, sorry you can’t visit the Vatican Museum on the same day. It is close on Sunday. A few people were sitting outside the museum and they look a bit disappointed.
Spaghetti at Pastasciutta
I had a spaghetti at Pastasciutta (a bit like fast food restaurant). Many people were queuing for the food because it only costs €4/5 for a plate of spaghetti. It looks really good but to be honest, it was actually a bit tasteless. Given the cheap price, I have no complaint!
A perfect day trip to Vatican City
Although the Vatican City is a very religious place, it is good to visit even if you are not a Catholic. It is the smallest country in the world but will leave you a big impression. I really admire this tiny city. It is a must-visit destination if you are travelling in Rome. 🙂
Also read: 4 days in Rome