Vatican City (Città del Vaticano)
ClassHotel 4 star
Area Piazza Navona
HotelThe Hotel Pantheon is located in an elegant 18th century building in the heart of Rome...
The Vatican City is the smallest independent sovereign state in the world with government, statutes and head of state of it's own.
Although it covers just a few acres of land, it holds within its boundaries the residence of the Pope, the site of St Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
Saint Peter's Basilica
Built in 1506 over St. Peter's tomb remains, Saint Peter's Basilica is the world largest Basilica.
In 1547 Michelangelo took over and simplified Bramante's previous plan, increasing the scale. At his death in 1954, one of Michelangelo's students, Giacomo della Porta, looked after the erection of the Dome following the master's design. Magnificent sculptures from Bernini, Michelangelo and many other great "Maestri" can be admired in the Basilica.
In the Basilica you can also visit the Treasury (9am - 6pm, October - March 9am - 5pm); the Vatican Grottoes (1pm - 6pm; October - March 7am - 5pm) and the Dome (8am - 6pm; October - March 8am - 4.30pm)
Opening hours: daily 7am - 7pm.
Transports: Bus 64
The Vatican Museums comprise the papal apartments of the medieval apostolic Palace, frescoed during the Renaissance, the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Apostolic Library, and the Museums themselves. The first actual Museums (the Pio-Clementine Museum, the Gallery of the Candelabra, the Chiaramonti Museum and the Inscription Gallery), devoted to classical Greco-Roman statuary, were founded by the popes of the 18th and 19th centuries and later enlarged in the 18th Century, with the construction of new buildings inspired by the Roman Imperial architecture.
In the 19th century three other Museums were created by pope Gregory XVI:
- the Etruscan Museum , which contains 18 rooms of Etruscan artifacts and Greek statuary
- the Egyptian Museum, cointaining statues brough from Egypt in the imperial age
- the Tapestry Gallery where tapestries by Raphael's school can be admired
In the 20th century, the Vatican collection was rearranged in the Pinacoteca, a new building set aside for the purpose.
Later on, in 1973, three other collections were arranged in the same building:
- the Profane Gregorian Museum, containing classical statuary
- the Pio-Christian Museum, containing works from the excavation of catacombs
- the Missionary-Ethnological Museum, housing works from extra-European cultures
Both the Sistine Chapel and the "Raphael's Rooms" are a 20-30 minute walk from the Museums' entrance. As they are very crowded you'd better arrive very early in the morning.
Opening hours: Mondays - Fridays 9am - 5pm and Saturdays 9am - 2pm (October - June Mondays - Saturdays 9am - 2pm). Last Sunday of the month 9am - 5pm (October - June 9am - 2pm)
Transports: Bus 64 to Piazza San Pietro; Buses 28, 81, 492 to Piazza del Risorgimento or Metro: Ottaviano