Itinerary: Vatican City, St. Peter's Basilica, St. Peter's Square, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums
Vatican City, its Museums and the Sistine Chapel
Vatican City or as it is also known the Holy See, is the smallest state in the world, located inside the city of Rome. It is an independent sovereign country and the center of Christianity: it is here where the Pope lives and works. Its boundaries are delimited by walls so the Vatican City is accessible only by three entrances. It has also its own guards called the "Pontifical Swiss Guard" (or Helvetian).
Vatican City and its museums are likely to be the area that gathers the highest numbers of treasures, artworks and masterpieces, so once in Rome, you just can not miss a visit to this tiny country full of history, art and culture.
First of all, let's mention the imposing structure of the Renaissance-style St. Peter's Basilica (pic n°2). Probably the first basilica was built here around 320 A.D, right where St. Peter, one of Christ's Apostles and the first pope, had been martyrized. The first important enlargement was made in the 15th century by pope Niccolo V. After that, in the following decades and centuries, various reconstruction processes were made. Finally, pope Paolo V imposed the Latin cross structure, realized by Maderno, and in 1626 St. Peter's Basilica was consecrated.
Both the outside and the inside (pic n°3) of the Basilica are lavishly decorated and filled with many outstanding masterpieces and artworks, including the worldwide famous Pietà of Michelangelo (pic n°4).
Today it is the largest basilica in Christendom and a symbolic and spiritual milestone, the center of the Christian faith.
The Vatican Palace is where the Pope lives and, together with the Basilica, it overlooks the gorgeous and majestic St. Peter's Square, (pic n°1) created by the famous architect Bernini in the seventeenth century. It includes an Egyptian obelisk in the middle and a massive colonnade embracing the square and the people who often gather in the square. If you happen to be here on a Sunday or on a Catholic holiday you will be able to assist the Pope delivering Mess.
The Sistine Chapel (pic n°5) is considered to be one of the most important and greatest art treasures in the world. Worldwide famous mostly because of the two masterpieces of Michelangelo: The Genesis and The Last Judgement. Let also consider that the genius artist as Michelangelo was, had completed all these magnificent artworks only by himself without anybody's help! You can admire the beautiful fresco of the Genesis on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel while the Last Judgments is over the altar on the end wall.
Besides that, you will be able to admire also other frescoes attributed to Botticelli, Perugino, and Ghirlandaio.
The Vatican Museums (pic n°6) have an incomparable collection of artworks. The Pinacoteca (Art Gallery) is home to paintings, artworks and some priceless masterpieces of the most important and greatest Italian artists of all-time such as Giotto, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Tiziano, Veronese, Caravaggio, Perugino, Beato Angelico, and others.
Some pictures of Vatican City:
St. Peter's Square (pic n°1); St. Peter's Basilica (pic n°2); Interior of St. Peter's Basilica (pic n°3); Pietà of Michelangelo (pic n°4); The Sistine Chapel (pic n°5); The Vatican Museums (pic n°6)