At the heart of Rome is the world's smallest sovereign state, with its own post office, spear-wielding Swiss guard, and priceless Michelangelo masterpieces: Vatican City. This is the home of the Catholic Church, where pilgrims from across the globe come to pray under the vast Michelangelo-designed dome of St. Peter's Basilica, and receive blessings from the Pope himself on Sundays at noon in St. Peter's Square. Inside the neighboring Vatican Museums is a parade of wonders that starts with Egyptian mummies and ends 1.2 miles later at the sublime Sistine Chapel, frescoed floor to ceiling by Michelangelo and other Renaissance masters. Though Vatican City is only 0.44 square kilometers, distances between locations often seem vast, especially when looking for a bathroom or a decent pizza. Secular Romans usually avoid the Vatican, except for rare morning museum visits and strolls at sunset, when flocks of starlings form a halo over St Peter's.
Getting Around Roma
The best way to get around Rome is by using the Metropolitana and by walking. The metro runs approximately every 7-10 minutes, from 5:30 a.m.-11.30 p.m. Sunday-Friday and until 12:30 a.m. on Saturday. Fare is €1 for a single ride or €4 for a 24-hour pass. 3-day passes are available for €11 and 7-day passes for €16. Driving in Rome is possible, but not for the faint-hearted. Walking is an excellent alternative to the metro in the city's historic center.
- Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport-FCO
- €48 (Check for SPQR, which will tell you it's a licensed Roman taxi.)
Things to Do and See Near Vatican City
- St. Peter's Basilica
- Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport
- Pontifical Academy of Sciences
- Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore
- Basilica of St. John Lateran
- Sistine Chapel
- Stadio Olimpico
- Sapienza University of Rome
- Roma Tre University
- San Pellegrino in Vaticano