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Vatican City

Saint Peter's Basilica, the Pope, and the Vatican Museums

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Vatican City, also called Holy See, is a tiny sovereign country and the seat of Catholicism and the Pope. Because it’s very near Rome, it’s often included in a Rome itinerary.

Saint Peter’s Square and Basilica can be visited for free but to see the famous Sistine Chapel you must buy a ticket for the Vatican Museums. Because the museums and chapel are so popular, it’s advisable to book a tour or buy tickets ahead to avoid standing in a long line. The Vatican Museums, with more than 1400 rooms, make up the world’s largest museum complex so plan on spending several hours.

For information, head to the tourist information office on Saint Peter’s Square (closed Sundays).

General Audiences with the Pope are held at 10:30 most Wednesdays in Saint Peter’s Square but you must have a ticket to attend. On Sundays at noon, the Pope delivers a blessing from his window for people gathered in Saint Peter’s Square. The Pope also presides over special services and masses, including Christmas, Palm Sunday, and Easter.


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