Vatican City: The Smallest Country in the World

Welcome to the timeless wonder of Vatican City, the smallest country in the world. This captivating destination seamlessly weaves together spirituality, history, and art. Nestled within the heart of Rome, it holds immense significance for millions around the globe. As the spiritual headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, Vatican City offers a truly unique travel experience, inviting visitors to explore its sacred treasures, awe-inspiring architecture, and world-renowned artistic masterpieces. 

Whether you’re seeking a spiritual pilgrimage, a historical journey, or an appreciation for artistic brilliance, Vatican City promises a remarkable adventure that transcends borders and captures the essence of human achievement. Unravel the secrets of this remarkable enclave and discover the soul-stirring allure of the smallest country in the world on an unforgettable Vatican City tour.

The Smallest Country in the World

vatican city smallest country St Peter's Basilica

Vatican City, established by the Lateran Pacts on February 11, 1929, is a sovereign city-state within Rome, Italy. The population of Vatican City is around 800 inhabitants, including clergy members. With an area of merely 44 hectares (110 acres), it stands as the smallest country in the world. It has two official languages, Latin and Italian, and the official currency is the Euro. The flag of Vatican City is an adaptation of the white and yellow design of earlier Papal States. 

The roots of Vatican City’s historical importance stretch far back in time to the early Christian period when Saint Peter, one of Jesus Christ’s apostles, was martyred in Rome. The site became a place of pilgrimage and veneration, leading to the construction of the first basilica on Vatican Hill in the fourth century. Over time, Vatican City evolved, witnessed the rise and fall of empires, endured periods of turmoil, and underwent extensive renovations. 

Today, Vatican City stands as a testament to the endurance of faith and a symbol of unity for Catholics worldwide. It’s a thriving community dedicated to preserving the rich legacy of the Catholic Church and its profound impact on human history. Despite the small size of Vatican City, this sacred enclave holds tremendous historical and cultural significance and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. It serves as the spiritual and administrative center of the Roman Catholic Church, led by the Pope, who resides within the Apostolic Palace.

Things to Do in Vatican City

map of Vatican city
Thoroe (2013) via Wikimedia Commons

From the grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica to the artistic treasures of the Vatican Museums, Vatican City offers a wealth of extraordinary sights and experiences. Immerse yourself in the rich history, art, and spirituality that define this enchanting place. 

When exploring Vatican City, there are several must-see attractions. St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in the world and a true architectural marvel. Stand in awe of its grandeur and admire the masterpieces within, including Michelangelo’s Pietà and Bernini’s Baldacchino. Take a moment to climb St. Peter’s Dome for a breathtaking view of Vatican City and Rome.

Next, venture into the Vatican Museums to view an exceptional collection of art and historical artifacts. Prepare to be dazzled by the Sistine Chapel, where Michelangelo’s iconic frescoes adorn the ceiling and altar wall. As you explore the vast corridors and galleries, you’ll discover ancient Greek and Roman sculptures, intricate tapestries, and Raphael’s exquisite masterpieces. 

If you’d like, immerse yourself in the spiritual ambiance of Vatican City. Many cherish their experience attending a papal audience or Mass led by the Pope. The Vatican Gardens are a tranquil oasis filled with meticulously manicured lawns, colorful flowers, and stunning fountains. It’s also worth taking a stroll along the wide Via della Conciliazione boulevard. Connecting people from Vatican City to Rome, it offers splendid views of the Tiber River and the city’s iconic landmarks.

Vatican City Tours

vatican city sistine chapel tour

The best way to make the most of your time is to book a Vatican City tour in advance. That way, you’ll have an expert guide to share insights and show you all the secrets of this marvelous place. Navigating Vatican City can seem overwhelming, as it encompasses multiple museums, chapels, and historical sites. A guide will ensure a smooth visit by efficiently planning your itinerary and taking you to the must-see highlights. Leave the logistics to them and focus solely on the art, history, and spirituality of the Vatican.

Another great benefit of booking a Vatican tour is the included Vatican tickets. Due to the high popularity of these iconic sites, tickets sell out months in advance. Unless you want to line up for hours in the same-day ticket line, a guided tour is often your only route to securing a ticket. Moreover, these tickets aren’t the standard entry tickets you can purchase online, they are ‘skip-the-line’ tickets – VIP style!

History and art enthusiasts will love our Vatican, Catacombs & Sistine Chapel Tour, led by an expert art historian. Skip the lines with a Vatican Museum fast pass and have ample time to enjoy all of the treasures inside. Plus, you’ll experience the rarely-seen catacombs beneath St. Peter’s Basilica and visit the ancient tombs of former popes. Or, combine a Vatican City visit with the other highlights of ancient Rome on our Ancient Rome & Vatican Treasure Tour

If you’re a foodie at heart, our Vatican Dome Climb & Street Food Walking Tour is for you. The day starts with an in-depth tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, including an ascent of St. Peter’s Dome and a visit to the catacombs. Then, you’ll taste a variety of local delicacies and learn about traditional Italian cuisine on a guided food tour.

If you’d like to spend several days in Rome, book our Rome 4 Day City Break Tour. You’ll get an immersive experience in the ancient wonders of Rome and the Vatican City country. Additionally, the logistics will be handled for you and an expert guide will help bring history to life. 

See all Vatican Tours

Vatican City: A Spiritual, Cultural, and Historical Paradise

Sometimes the smallest countries have the biggest impacts. Visiting Vatican City is an inspiring journey that combines spirituality, history, and artistic brilliance. With a guided tour, you can delve deeper into the stories, secrets, and significance that make Vatican City a true pilgrimage for travelers worldwide. Whether you seek to marvel at the masterpieces, witness ancient traditions, or bask in the sacred ambiance, a visit to Vatican City, the smallest country in the world, promises an unforgettable experience that touches the very soul of humanity.

Check out more of our travel tips for visiting Rome. From airport guides to hotel and restaurant recommendations, we’ve got your trip covered. If you’re planning to spend at least 3 days in Rome, the Vatican City should absolutely be on your itinerary!

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