As if you need a reason to visit the Vatican which resides in the heart of Rome, here’s 5 great reasons to take a Vatican tour this summer.
The Vatican gets as many as 25,000 visitors every day. People from all over the world come to experience the beauty and culture of the surrounding city.
This tourist spot is the world’s smallest country, and home of the Roman Catholic Church. It’s steeped in ancient history and filled with one-of-a-kind attractions and experiences.
Thinking about adding the Vatican to your summer travel plans? Read on for the top must-see attractions on a Vatican tour this summer.
Touring The Vatican Museums
For those wondering where the Vatican is, it lives in the heart of Rome. It’s a place that reflects ancient Roman art and culture.
The Papal Palace contains many museums offering ancient artifacts and collections of artwork. The Vatican museum offers paintings, pottery, statues, manuscripts, and tapestries.
It features artwork from Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, and Raphael. You’ll find work from the artists Caravaggio and Beato Angelico as well. The most popular museum rooms to visit are the Gallery of Tapestries, Gallery of Maps, and Gallery of Candelabra.
There are many guided Vatican tour options to enhance your experience. This way you can plan your trip in advance and avoid the long ticket lines.
The museums offer free entry during the last Sunday of every month, but you should expect bigger crowds and longer entry lines.
Visiting the Basilica of St. Peter
The Vatican is home to the largest church in the world. St. Peter’s Basilica offers stunning architecture and rests atop an ancient burial ground. It’s an opportunity to learn about the history of the first pope of the Catholic church, St. Peter.
Here you’ll get to see Renaissance works from Michaelangelo. This includes a painted dome that showcases some of his most famous work.
Like the Vatican museum, the Basilica follows a dress code. It does not allow people to wear tank tops and shorts. This is to respect the sacredness of the holy space.
There are many Vatican tours that can take you to reserved spaces. The Scavi tour includes a visit to the excavations beneath St. Peter’s Basilica. This allows you to visit the necropolis where the tomb of St. Peter is located.
For this tour, you must get granted special permission beforehand. Only 250 people are allowed to visit the necropolis each day.
This includes special guided tours for groups of 12. You must be at least 15 years of age to take the tour. Photography is not allowed in this space.
The dome of St. Peter’s Basilica also shows one of the most impressive views of Vatican City.
Exploring Nature in the Vatican Gardens
The gardens are a lesser-known site in the Vatican. They offer a breath of fresh air, with fewer crowds. It’s more of a best-kept secret as the gardens only allow a few reservations each day.
These peaceful gardens get filled with flowers and flowing fountains. You’ll find sculptures, holy sites, and interesting tree species.
The Vatican Gardens contain must-see attractions filled with history. This includes Saint John’s Tower, Tower of the Winds, and Palazzina di Leone XIII. You can even get up close to a piece of the actual Berlin Wall that was gifted to the Vatican.
The garden also offers beautiful views of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.
The Vatican is even home to its own Railway Station. It runs around the city and through the Vatican gardens.
A Visit to the Sistine Chapel
The Sistine Chapel is a popular tourist spot as its the place where a new pope gets elected. It’s considered the private chapel of the pope and offers some of the most stunning art in the world.
Michaelangelo painted The Creation of Adam upon the chapel’s ceiling. Later on, he returned to paint The Last Judgement on the altar wall of the chapel.
Visitors should expect a cleaning before being allowed to enter the Sistine Chapel. This is in a new effort to protect and preserve its famous architecture and artworks.
The chapel vacuums tourists to reduce the amount of dirt, dust, and skin particles in the space. In other efforts, they are working to cool down the temperature for less heat and humidity.
Seeing the Pope’s Home
Vatican city has long been the home of the pope. It goes by Papal Palace, as well as many other names. These include the Vatican Palace, Apostolic Palace, and the Palace of the Vatican.
Here you can get a chance to see the Swiss Guards. This is the oldest, yet smallest standing army in the world. Their job is to guard the pope and they are hard to miss in their bright striped uniforms.
You’ll have a chance to see the pope in public as he makes an appearance every Wednesday at 1030am. You can see him in St. Peter’s Square at the Hall of Audiences.
Located in the palace, Cappella Paolina is another gorgeous chapel worth visiting.
The Vatican is even filled with secret escape routes. One of these provides access to Castel Sant’Angelo.
The Vatican is home to priests, nuns, cardinals, and clergy members. These are the types of locals you’ll find living in the city, though many of them do not live in the city year-round.
Making the Most of Your Summer Vatican Tour
Summer is one of the busiest times for tourists to visit The Vatican. This means busy crowds and long ticketing lines.
It helps to book your Vatican tour tickets online. Most attractions allow you to do this, and it’s a great way to plan your trip in advance. This way you can avoid lines and get a guided tour for an enhanced experience.
Looking for more inspiration for planning your next summer trip? Check out our travel section for more must-see attractions and experiences!