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Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
 (1)
The Circus Maximus Since ancient times the Roman culture promoted entertainment and sports. Chariot racing was one of the Ancient Roman’s most popular forms of entertainment and it ... moreled to the establishment of the Circus Maximus. The Circus Maximus was one of the largest stadiums of Rome that was used to host chariot races among other entertainment events. The stadium is located within the valley between the Palatine and Aventine hills, in Rome, Italy. The original size of the stadium was 621 m long and 118 m wide, and it could accommodate 150,000 people.

The Circus Maximus was developed in the 6th Century BC, during the reign of Tarquinius Priscus who was the fifth king of Rome. The original Circus Maximus was built out of wood and it was designed specifically to race chariots. The very first gates of the Circus Maximus were built in 329 BC. In 174 BC, these gates were rebuilt and seven wooden eggs were placed on top of the spina, which was the central wall in the stadium. These eggs were used to count the number of laps during racing. One egg was removed after each lap. In 33 BC, seven bronze dolphins were added to the spina to serve the same purpose.

In 31 BC, the Circus Maximus was destroyed by a fire. The wooden structure was burnt but was later rebuilt by Emperor Augustus who also added an imperial box on the Palatine Hill. It was then that a large obelisk was added to the spina as a form of decoration. The obelisk can still be found in Rome today, at the center of the Piazza del Popolo. The second fire to burn Circus Maximus occurred in AD 64 during the reign of Emperor Nero. The Circus Maximus was again rebuilt by Trajan in AD 103. The stadium was now built by stones and it was three stories high. The sitting area of the stadium was built in marble. The stadium became bigger and more impressive. The Circus Maximus continued being popular and was used for several events. However chariot races were still the most popular events. The stadium could accommodate up to 250,000 and entry was free. Actually anybody, including the Rome’s poor, could attend the races in the stadium.

The last race to be held at the Circus Maximus was in AD 549. Thereafter, the stadium started becoming a forfeited area. Some of its marble and stones were stolen and used to construct new premises in the area. The decentralization of the area led to the collapse of the Circus Maximus.

Today, the Circus Maximus is just a public park within the centre of the city. The stadium is still used to host some concerts and meetings in Rome, though it is not as popular as it was during the ancient days.
Type:
Attraction, Historic
The Huge statue known as the Pigna (pine) or the Fontana Della Pigna depicts a giant Pine Cone. It is located in St. Peter's, in an area called the court of the Pigna.The Court of ... morethe Pigna is the northern part of the grand renaissance Belvedere Courtyard that stretches between the Papal Palaces to the "palazzetto" which belonged to Innocent VII's . The courtyard was segmented into three parts after the construction of Sixtus V's Library and the Braccio Nuovo of Pius VII. The present courtyard derived its name form the beautiful pine cone statue set into the "nicchone", borders on the south side with the Braccio Nuovo, and on the east it borders with the Chiaromonti Gallery. To its north you can find Innocent VIII's Palazzetto and on the west the galleries of the Apostolic Library are located.

The pine cone was cast out of bronze in the 1st or 2nd century by the sculptor Publius Cincius Salvius. He was identified as its creator because his name was written on the base of the huge pine. The Statue's height is almost 4 meters and on both sides of the pine cone there are bronze peacocks which are copies of the ones in Hadrian's tomb.

Before it was moved to its current location, known as the Court of the Pigna, the statue of the Pine was situated in the Campus Martius. This area is still known today as "Pigna" after this statue. At its previous location it was used as a fountain with the water pouring from holes pierced in the scales of the cone. At the 8th century it was transferred to the entrance hall of the medieval basilica of St. Peter. It was placed decoratively in the middle of the fountain covered by ornate baldachin. We know this because the statue was identified in Renaissance drawings of the hall. Eventually, during the construction of the current basilica, in 1608, the giant pine cone fountain was moved and situated in its current location.

This statue is a beautiful and ancient one and it's definitely worth stopping by and admiring it as it has been part of Rome's landscape for almost 2000 years!
Type:
Attraction, Historic, Museum
The Chair of Saint Peter is also known as the Cathedra Petri in Latin. Cathedra Petri is a relic that can be found in St. Peter's Basilica. The actual wooden chair is placed inside ... morea beautifully sculpted bronze casing. The casing was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and was built between the years 1647–53. Like in many medieval reliquaries the casing of the chair is in the form of the relic conserved inside it; meaning that it was designed by Bernini to resemble a chair. The Latin word cathedra is used for a chair or throne and denotes a chair or seat in the use of a bishop. The Chair of Peter symbolizes the office of the Pope as the Bishop of Rome.

Originally, the cathedra in St. Peter's Basilica was used by the popes. Inside the Chair is a wooden throne, which traditionally, was Saint Peter's throne. However, archeologist G.B. De Rossi, who was the last archeoligist to inspect this relic argued that only the acacia wood skeleton is in fact ancient while the other oak parts attached to the skeleton with strips of iron and ivory, are from Byzantine times. 

The pattern on the upholstery of the casing depicts Christ giving the keys of heaven to St Peter. Large angelic figures were placed on both sides of a panel beneath a bronze seat cushion. The cathedra lies on bars that are held by four gigantic bronze figures; these are the doctors of the Church. The doctors are St. Ambrose and St. Augustine of the Roman Church and St. Athanasius and St. John Chrysostom of the Greek Church. The symbolism of this is That Doctors of the Church are the ones holding up the papcy and the Church.

Above the chair there is a Latin inscription: "O Pastor Ecclesiae, tu omnes Christi pascis agnos et oves" (O pastor of the Church, you feed all Christ's lambs and sheep). The same inscription was written in Greek on the right side.

Two liturgical feasts were celebrated in Rome in honor of earlier chairs associated with Saint Peter. One of these chairs was placed in the baptismal chapel of Saint Peter's Basilica, the other at the catacomb of Priscilla. No surviving chair has been identified as these more ancient chairs. 

Berninis Cathedra Petri enclosing the wooden throne of St. Peter in the Vatican
Type:
Attraction
Cultural
Historic
Museum
On February 11th 1929, Vatican CityState was established by the signing of the Lateran Treaties between the stateof Italy and the Holy See. Its status as a sovereign State isuniversally ... morerecognized and is anchored in international law. Due to the smallsize of Vatican City, some of its Departments and offices are located in severalbuildings in Rome. These buildings enjoy the same status as embassies andforeign diplomatic missions according to the Lateran Treaty.

Vatican City lies beyond the right bank of the Tiber River, its on part of the ancient Montes Vaticani (the Vatican Mount) and where the Vatican Fields used to be .The Name "Vatican" originated from the name of this hill. The Vatican was protected from being secluded from the rest of the city by being included within the walls of Pope Leo IV (847–55), and later on fortified further by Popes Paul III , Pius IV and Urban VIII. There are five entrances to Vatican City; Many Visitors start their Vatican tour at St Peter's square.

The best way to get to the Vatican from Rome's historical center is through Ponte St. Angelo. The entrance to the Vatican Museums is on Viale Vaticano.on Viale Vaticano.

Perhaps the most recognizable building of Vatican City, St. Peter's Basilica is the main Church of the Vatican built and named under the words of Jesus to St. Peter:

"And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father who is in Heaven.And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”

Matthew 16:17-19
Type:
Historic, Neighborhood
Trastevere, Rome Trastevere is rione (region) XIII of Rome. It is a medieval area in Rome which is separated from the central city by the Tiber river. Despite its narrow lanes, many ... moretourists are attracted by its liveliness and the beautiful sceneries surrounding it. Trastever means literaly beyond the Tiber. It is the only place in Rome that survived the medieval period. Trastevere has a diverse nightlife and houses several archeological gems, as well as an international body of artists, students and expatriates who love the area’s special picturesque atmosphere and many secrets alleyways.

Trastevere has several historical attractions among them are the following:

Church of Santa Cecilia: this is a historical landmark decorated with beautiful frescoes and mosaics. It also has a fountain that contains a water vessel that lights up during the night. Behind this church, there is a sculpture dedicated to the martyr Santa Cecilia.

Gianicolo: it is also known as Janiculum Hill. If you climb this hill you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Rome. This is the hill became famous in the ancient days because it is where pagan priests used to go to in order to read the omens provided by the flight of birds; from these they would divine the outcome of different events which occurred in the city. The Janiculum Hill was also known as the site of a battle between troops that were under Giuseppe Garibaldi’s command and fought against the French.

Nightclubs: Trastevere is an awesome place to spend some time during the night. There are many lively nightclubs in the area that plays all types of music and keeps people entertained for the whole night. If you want to have some good time out in Rome, then Trastevere is the place to go. Some of the popular clubs in the area are Big Mama and Freni e Frizioni.

Restaurants: Trastevere area is also full of world class restaurants where you can enjoy Roman food at affordable prices. The restaurants offer classic dishes that are not easy to find in any other place. Some of the renowned restaurants in the area include Checco er Carettiere, Osteria Zi Mberto, The Mirror, Ai Marmi, among others. The restaurants offer both in-door and out-door services. The atmosphere at the restaurants is relaxing and soothing.

Trastevere also has an excellent museum as the Museum of Rome in Trastevere, located in Piazza Sant'Egidio, which hosts the permanent exhibition dedicated to folklore and Roman dialect poets, but also many temporary exhibitions. But that is not the only museum in the district: the House of Memory and History presents exhibitions and events to keep alive the memory of anti-fascism, Resistance and Liberation war; the Corsini Gallery which is full of historic pictures, the Botanic Garden located in the park of Villa Corsini, etc. The Trastevere area also has many Roman Catholic churches such as San Crisogono, Santa Maria in Trastevere.

On Saturday mornings Trastevere hosts a huge flee market called the Porta Portese. If you like flee markets this is most definitely the place for you as you can find there anything from clothes to antiques and old records.
Type:
Attraction, Historic
Piazza Venezia Piazza Venezia is a square located in the heart of Rome, Italy, at the end of the Via del Corso. The square is surrounded by magnificent sites such as the Pantheon, ... morethe Roman Forum, Trajan’s Forum, the Capitoline Hill, Palazzetto Venezia, the outstanding monument of Victor Emanuel II, Palazzo Bonaparte (home of Napoleon’s mother), Palazzo delle Aste, and San marco Church among others.The square is normally characterized by the heavy traffic as it forms an intersection of various road sections and therefore you may not find a quiet place to stand in at the square itself but its surrounding areas are full of incredible sites.

One of the outstanding landmarks at the Piazza Venezia is the II Vittoriano. The monument was dedicated to King Victor Emmanuel II, who was the first king of Italy. This monument was built in the 20th century and it completely changed the appearance of the square. During the construction of the II Vittoriano, many structures were demolished and others moved to other sites, among them was the Palazzetto Venezia.

Another structure near the Piazza Venezia is the Palazzo Venezia. This is the building that gave Piazza Venezia its name. It was built between 1455 and 1464 by cardinal Pietro Barbo who later became Pope Paul II. Piazza Venezia is among the most magnificent structures in Rome. This building was first used as a papal residence until when it was handed over to Venice by Pope Pius IV to be used as the Venetian embassy. The Italian government acquired Palazzo Venezia in 1916. It was from this building’s balcony that Benito Mussolini used to address people. Currently, Palazzo Venezia houses Museo del Palazzo Venezia museum which has a collection of historic decorative art including ceramics, sculptures, paintings and tapestries.

Adjacent to Piazza Venezia you can find the Palazzo Generali which was built between 1906 and 1911. This building replaced two palazzos which were demolished in 1900 to give space for the expansion of Piazza Venezia square.

Another incredible structure near Piazza Venezia is Palazzo Bonaparte. The palace was named after Letizia Bonaparte (the mother of Emperor Napoleon I).

During the excavations of the Rome C Metro Line in 2009, ancient remains which were said to be to be the relics of Emperor Hadrian were excavated from the middle of this square.

The whole area of Piazza Venezia is amazing. The place is full of spectacular buildings that can be seen from the square. You can climb the many steps at the Piazza Venezia square and have an overview of the neighborhood. The square is very beautiful and always full of people from all walks of life. When you climb to the top of the stairs, you can see the view of the whole of Rome. You will have an amazing view of beautiful buildings, sites and parks. Transportation to and from the square is very efficient as there are many buses leaving from the square to other parts of Rome.
Type:
Attraction, Historic, Museum
Castel Sant Angelo Castel Sant Angelo was originally built as a mausoleum for theEmperor Hadrian but was later transformed into a big castle where popes couldseek refuge at turbulent ... moretimes. The Castel Sant Angelo is located on the rightside of the Tiber and its construction startedin 130 AD and was completed in 139 AD, during the reign of Emperor AntoniusPius who was Hadrian’s successor. At the time which the Castel Sant Angelo was constructedit was the tallest building in Rome, Italy.

The Castel Sant Angelo has undergone several changes basedon the different purposes that it served throughout history. First it was usedas a mausoleum and then it became part of the city wall. Later on it was turnedinto a fortress before being used a papal residence. Afterwards it was used asa barracks and prison and currently it is a national museum. The museum is richin history and it contains the remains of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and thoseof his successors up to the emperor Caracalla.

Castel Sant Angelo is comprised of a square 89 m wide base on acylindrical colonnaded drum with a diameter of 64 m. The mausoleum wasconnected to the Vatican Cityby a bridge (Pons Aelius). Today the passageway that connects Castel SantAngelo and the Vaticanstill exists. This bridge is presently known as the Ponte Sant Angelo.

The Castel Sant Angelo is a spectacular structure. Thebuilding is divided into five floors. Floor I is made of the famous windingramp which is approximately 400 feet long (this is a common Roman construction). FloorII, which is also known as the floor of the prisons contained horrible prisoncells as well as stores for oil and wheat. Floor III, also known as themilitary floor, has two large courtyards. Floor IV which is known as the papalfloor contains the loggia of Julius II, by Bramante, and a papal apartmentconsisting of superbly decorated rooms. Floor V, the top floor, has a bigterrace with apanoramic view and a statue of the Archangel Michael made of bronze.

The incredible statue depicting the Archangel Michael placed at the topof the fortress was sculpted by the Flemishsculptor and architect Pieter Verschaffelt. This statue replaced an older one with the same theme. The previous statue was made ofmarble but after being damaged it was replaced by the current bronze statue. This statue depicts the Archangel Michael who is said to haveappeared on top of the fortress in the year 590 and miraculously ended thesevere plague that had infected the city of Rome.

Castel Sant Angelo is visited by millions of tourists fromall over the world every year and it has become one of the favorite tourists’destinations. Being a home to the National Museum of Castel Sant Angelo, thesite has remained a source of valuable historical resources and manyresearchers visit it every day. There is a lot of art and architecture in andaround Castel Sant Angelo from which you can learn much regarding Rome’s history, religionand architecture.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
The Flavian Palace, normally known as the Domus Flavia, is part of the vast residential complex of the Palace of Domitian on the Palatine Hill in Rome. It was completed in 92 AD by ... moreEmperor Titus Flavius Domitianus, and attributed to his master architect, Rabirius.

The term Domus Flavia is a modern designation used to describe the northwestern section of the Palace where the bulk of the large public rooms for entertaining and ceremony are concentrated. It is interconnected with the domestic wing to the southeast, the Domus Augustana, which descends from the summit of the Palatine down to wings specially constructed within the hill to the south and southwest.

The imposing ruins which flank the southeastern side of the Palace above the Circus Maximus are a later addition built by Septimius Severus; they are the supporting piers for a large extension which completely covered the eastern slope.

The Domus Flavia contains several exceptionally large rooms; the main public reception rooms are the Basilica, the Aula Regia, the Lararium, and the Triclinium.

The Basilica is the first part visible from the Clivus Palatinus, the road that connects the Roman Forum to the Palatine Hill. A long portico runs alongside the domus on the west and north sides at the end of which is the main entrance which seems to serve both the public and the private part of the palace. Once inside the visitor enters the Lararium housing a detachment of the Praetorian guard. It is the smallest and most poorly preserved room in the palace. Behind it was once a staircase providing access to the Domus Augustana. Below this room parts of the earlier House of the Griffins have been excavated and from which exquisite decorations have been removed to the Antiquarium.
Type:
Attraction, Historic
 (3)
The Vatican Grottoes The Vatican Grottoes is the vast underground graveyard below St. Peter’s Basilica. A grotto is basically a cave of artificial or natural origin that is used by ... morepeople, usually for burial purposes. This is the place that houses the tombs of several popes and saints. In fact, the Vatican Grottoes is the burial place of 91 popes and some other church dignitaries such as cardinals dating back to the 10th century and onwards. In addition the grottoes also include some tombs of secular monarchs such as the tomb of Queen Charlotte of Cyprus, the tomb of the Stuarts, and the tomb of Queen Christina of Sweden. The grottoes are located above the necropolis where you can find the holy tomb of St Peter the fisherman, the first bishop of Rome (Pope). 

Some of the tombs, rooms, chapels, and structures encompassed in the Vatican Grottoes include: The Chapel of St Peter (the Clementine Chapel) various Peribolos, the tomb of John Paul the II. Archeological Rooms, Madonna Dolorosa and the Doctors of the Church, the Funerary Monument of Calixtus III, and a Marble Statue of St Peter Enthroned, among hundreds of others. There is a fresco in one of the chapels close to the apse painted by the painter Pietro Cavallini in the 14th century. It is called the “Madonna della Bocciata” ,the name refers to the Madonna's swollen face. According to an old story, a drunken soldier had thrown a bowl into the holy image after he lost a game of bowls and as a result her face started to bleed.

There are more than one hundred tombs within St. Peter’s Basilica and most of these tombs are within the Vatican Grottoes (beneath St. Peter’s Basilica). Therefore the Vatican Grottoes are one of the most visited places of the Vatican City. Millions of tourists visit the Vatican Grottoes every year just to have a look at the papal tombs and chapels dedicated to different popes and saints. Seeing some of the Popes sarcophaguses you can actually imagine what they looked like. Some of the tombs are very interesting as we can learn from them a lot about the person buried inside and what his contemporaries thought about him. If you can tour the grottoes with someone who reads Latin this can prove very handy because it is also very interesting to read the inscriptions on the tombs.

Weaving through the Vatican Grottoes can take you the whole day. You can enter the grottoes near the elevator kiosks for the dome. There is an entry fee and if you happen to be there during the time of a conclave please note that the grottoes are closed to the public at this time. You can also take a guided tour where the guide will take you through the monuments and tombs with great detail. The place is full of fascinating tombs and sarcophagus, tunnels, chambers and Italian art. The Vatican Grottoes is one of the highlights of any Vatican tour and it will leave you yearning for another visit to the place.
 (1)
The Pontifical Swiss guard is a group of Swiss Guards that guard the Vatican City State and the Pope. The Pontifical Swiss guard protects the Pope and its area of operation is in the ... moreVatican, which is the home to the Roman Catholic Pope.

The Pontifical Swiss guards are known for their helmets and striped uniforms and they have become one of the most outstanding traditions of the Vatican. These Uniforms originated in the Renaissance. The current Swiss Guard's three colored dress uniform is designed to look like the guard uniforms of that period. Every uniform is sewn individually for each guard. The Vatican was often attacked by outsiders before it became a state. Due to the fact that Vatican City is in the center of Rome and the Pope's household was situated there the Pope's life was constantly exposed to danger. This led to the establishment of the Pontifical Swiss guard.

Following an alliance with the Swiss confederation the first group of the Pontifical Swiss guards was welcomed into Vatican City on the 22nd of January, 1506 by Pope Julius II. The group contained 150 guards. Ever since, the Swiss guards have served as the Vatican military force known as the Pontifical Swiss guard.

Not anyone can qualify to be a Vatican Swiss guard. There are requirements which must be met for you to qualify as a Vatican guard. First, you must be a Catholic, you must have a Swiss citizenship, and you must be a single male aged between 19 to 30 years. You must have completed basic training with the Swiss military and you should be able to obtain a certificate of good conduct. Candidates must also have a high school diploma or a professional degree, should be at least 174 cm. If someone wants to be chosen as a Swiss guard he must go through a process of application. There were suggestions that female candidates be considered for recruitment as Swiss guards. This is not yet a possibility but that maybe it will be in the future. The guards are allowed to marry after serving for some years at the Vatican.

The Vatican Swiss guards have official uniforms of blue, red, orange and yellow colors. The uniforms are tailored inside the Pontifical Swiss Guard barracks. The guards also have some equipment: both traditional and modern arms including a sword, command baton, flamberge, partisan, cuirass with spaudlers, etc.

The Pontifical Swiss guards also perform ceremonial duties. Because of on their responsibilities at the Vatican City, the role of the Vatican police is very crucial to the operation of the Vatican. When you enter the gates of Vatican City, you will meet the Vatican Swiss guard who will check you and give you directions on where you want to go. The guards also work closely with the Pope. During the public masses, these guards are the ones responsible for the overall security of the Pope.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
 (2)
The Vatican and Rome are holy cities to the Roman Catholic Christian faith. Rome is the seat of the Papacy since the 1st century AD and later home to the Vatican, where the Pope resided ... moresince the 14thcentury. Traditionally, the See of Rome was founded by Saint Peter who first held the position of the Pope or Bishop of Rome. According to UNESCO St. Peter's basilica in the Vatican is the largest religious building in the world. Today Rome has a Cathedral and more than 900 Churches and some of the most prominent Catholic churches can be found there as well as many important Catholic institutes. For Catholic believers, Rome is more than a tourist attraction but also a center for pilgrimage and Prayer.

The Vatican is situated in a walled enclave inside Rome. The Pope's residence is also known as the Apostolic Palace and it is located North-East of the St. Peter's basilica.. Since 1984 all of Vatican State is acknowledged as a UNESCO world heritage site. The main tourist attractions in the Vatican are: St. Peter's basilica, Vatican gardens, St. Peter's Square, and the Vatican Museums with their impressive collections of art, maps and statues. The entrance to the Basilica and Square are free of charge. Note that visitors are asked to dress appropriately when entering the church.

Since February 1929 Vatican City State is a sovereign state of the Holy See. This was established by the signing of the Lateran Treaties. The Vatican's status as a sovereign State is recognized universally.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
 (1)
"On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven." ... more

(Matt 16:18-19)

These are the words that Jesus said to Peter the fishermen, the first Pope. St Peter was martyred in Rome and buried in the necropolis beneath the Basilica.

Peter had a brother named Andrew.They were both fishermen. It was Andrew who first introduced him to Jesus Christ. Peter was born in Bethsaida, which is close to Lake Tiberias. Together with his brother he fish on Lake Genesareth. Andrew introduced Peter to Jesus. Christ then called Peter to become his disciple. In Luke there is a story about Peter. Peter caught an amount of fish so large that he fell down before the feet of Jesus and then was told by the Lord, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men”. Jesus also gave Simon a new name: Cephas, or the rock. Becoming a disciple of Jesus, Peter acknowledged him as "... the Messiah, the son of the living God”. Once the brothers retired from fishing and became disciples of Jesus, they were referred to as “fishers of men”.The name Peter means “rock”, and his story is extensively described in the New Testament.

The current statue of St. Peter was commissioned by Pope Pius the IX and was erected in 1847.Pius IX (1846-1878) replaced the old statues of Sts. Peter and Paul, with the current ones on Easter 1847. The new statues are larger than the older ones. The current Statue is 5.5 meters high.
Type:
Historic
 (10)
The Vatican's post office The Vatican's post office was established on the 11th February 1929 and it has continued to offer its own postal services ever since then. The first equipment ... morethe post office used was donated by the Italian government. First, the Vatican's post office services were only provided within the Vatican City. But the services expanded and it became possible to start sending mail throughout Rome after the Vatican City had became a member of the Universal Postal Union on the 1st of June 1929 and signed a postal agreement with Italy on the 29th of July of the same year. The official stamps of Vatican City are produced under the authority of the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican City State

Do you still use "snail mail?" even if you don't, a postcard with a Vatican stamp is a lovely gesture to your family and/or friends. The Vatican’s Post Office is open to everyone who wishes to send mail both within and outside Vatican City. The office is open during most part of the days and also depending on the season. During winter season, the opening hours of the Vatican Post Office are from 8:00 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.; Monday to Friday and from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; Saturday. During summer season, the opening hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; Monday to Saturday. The office remains closed on Sundays. The Vatican's post office also has its branches in St. Peters Square and in the Vatican Museums.

Apart from the usual postage stamps sold by the Vatican's post office, you can also find some special stamps at the Vatican post office. These stamps encompass features related to specific occasions. For example, during the resignation period of Pope Benedict XVI in February 2013, the Vatican's post office issued special cancellation stamps to mark the end of the Pope’s papacy. This special postmark showed Pope Benedict XVI in the foreground with his arms raised in a greeting. In the background of this special stamp was dome of St. Peter’s Basilica and it was encrypted with the words: “Pope Benedict XVI Renounces the Petrine Ministry. Vatican post, 28.2.2013,” written in Latin.

The Vatican also sells some special types of stamps and envelopes that are made only when there is no Pope (Sede Vacanta). These stamps are considered by the Vatican's post office as “special stamps” because they are issued only when the Pope is not in his place. In most cases, these stamps are very high in value and purchased in bulk by stamp collectors not just for economic value but also because they are more valuable since they symbolize a very crucial period for the Roman Catholic Church. 

Funnily enough, in Italy many Romans travel to the Vatican City Post Office to post their critical letters as a result of their distrust for the Italian postal systems. The Vatican's post office sends millions of letters every year and its services are more reliable. In fact the Vatican City’s postal system was to be “one the best postal systems in the world”, by the Universal Postal Union. The Vatican's postal code is 00120.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural
The Sphere within a Sphere is a statue also known as "Sfera con Sfera". The Sphere within a sphere is located in the Vatican Museums. It is part of a series of bronze sculptures on ... morethis theme that can be found in prime locations all over the world such as: the Headquarters of the UN in New York; The Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, USA; Trinity College in Dublin; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C; the de Young Museum in San Francisco, USA ;The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art; the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus and the Tel Aviv University in Israel.

Arnaldo Pomodoro is an Italian sculptor. He was born in the 23rd of June 1926 in Morciano, Romagna, Italy. Currently he lives and works in Milan. His brother, Giò Pomodoro was also an Artist.

The "Sphere within a Sphere" Statue depicts a huge fractured orb. Inside the cracked orb you can see another one. Each tremendous sphere is broken, showing yet another cracking sphere. The design of the internal layers seems to imitate the gears or cogwheels of a complex machine such as a clock. It symbolizes the fragility and complexity of the world.This fascinating statue is located in the courtyard of the Pine cone outside the Vatican Museum. Pomodoro started to create these orbs in the early 1960s. 

Pomodoro is also known for designing a controversial fiberglass crucifix for the Cathedral of St. John in Copenhagen. In addition he sculpted pieces for the Amaliehaven park which was displayed on the waterfront in front of Amalienborg Palace in 1983. His piece "Forme del Mito" was displayed at Brisbane's World Expo '88 and was later bought by Brisbane City.

In 1999 he founded Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro in Milan as a centre to whose aim is to document and archive Pomodoro's work . The foundation opened an exhibition space in 2005, and it now displays exhibitions of renowned artists such as Jannis Kounellis, Lucio Fontana and Robert Rauschenberg. Flaminio Gualdoni is the current director of Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro. The Court of the Pigna constitutes the northern end of the great renaissance Belvedere Courtyard that extended from the Papal Palaces to Innocent VII's "palazzetto" and was subsequently divided into three parts with the construction of Sixtus V's Library and the Braccio Nuovo of Pius VII. The present courtyard which takes its name form the enormous bronze pine cone set into the "nicchone", is bounded on the south side by the Braccio Nuovo, on the east by the Chiaromonti Gallery, on the north by Innocent VIII's Palazzetto and on the west by the galleries of the Apostolic Library.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
At the center of Saint Peter's Square stands a 25.5 meter tall ancient Egyptian obelisk, 41 meters high including its added base. This obelisk is over 4000 years old and was brought ... moreto Rome from Alexandria by Emperor Caligula in 37 AD.

The obelisk was removed from the “Circus of Nero” in Rome and placed at the center of the square under the order of Pope Sixtus V in 1586. The re-erection of the obelisk required a work force of some 900 men and almost 100 horses and took over a year to complete.
Type:
Attraction, Historic
St. Peter's square is situated in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Several special Masses are celebrated in St. Peter's square during various occasions and celebrations. ... moreSt. Peter’s Square is where the newly elected pope appears to the world for the first time. Special Masses celebrated at St. Peter’s Square include: Easter and Christmas Masses. 

As you approach St. Peter’s Square you will hear the heartening sounds of trickling water. These are the fountains of St. Peter's square. St. Peter’s Square is known for its beauty. The two fountains on both sides of the Obelisk contribute to its atmosphere and beauty. These fountains were constructed during the renaissance and they are considered exemplary works. These fountains give St. Peter’s Square a relaxing atmosphere. The fountains are a great tourist attraction and they are considered among the most beautiful fountains in Rome. The fountains have been renovated and are well preserved. They are worth visiting if you are visiting the Vatican.

The following are two of the fountains located in St. Peter’s Square:

The Bernini Fountain: This fountain was created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini between the years 1667 to 1677. The fountain was commissioned by Pope Clement X. The construction of the fountain took Bernini ten years and no detail was forgotten. Bernini's design was influenced by his earlier designs.

The fountain is located on the south side of St. Peter’s Square.

Maderno Fountain: The fountain on the left, when facing St. Peter’s Basilica, was designed by Carlo Moderno. In 1612 Pope Paul the V rebuilt the ancient Roman aqueduct and it was renamed the Acqua Paola. The newer aqueduct provided the fountain with a larger source of water.

this fountain was redesigned by architect Carlo Maderno after being commissioned by Pope Paul V.The architect Carlo Maderno was the nephew of the architect Domenico Fontana. He built a base for the fountain on top of which a large basin was placed. The basin is decorated with steps and small columns. Maderno left the large lower stone vasque of the old fountain. He then decorated the pedestal on top of it with four scrolls of stone. The new design has a large lower stone vasque, which the old fountain also had. He removed the small upper vasque, and replaced it with a mushroom like cap with stone scales. When the water flows from the top it pours down over the upper vasque and the light shines through it.

The source of water for the fountain was on a hill. This caused the water to shoot upwards by the power of gravity. In 1641, this fountain was said to be the most beautiful fountain in the whole of Europe.

If you are planning a visit to Rome don't forget St. Peters square and its fountains. This is a good place to take photos and enjoy the atmosphere.
Type:
Museum
The Spiral staircase is located in the Vatican Museums was designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932. If you go up this grand spiral ramp you will be moving from the street level up to the ... morefloor of the Vatican Museums. The Vatican Museums are among the most important museums in the world. In the Vatican Museums the vast collections collected by the Roman Catholic Church throughout the centuries are displayed. As seen today, the Vatican Museums are comprised of several pontifical galleries and museums that were assembled by several Popes. The display includes the Raphael rooms and the famous painted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel as well as other masterpieces.

The staircase is shaped like a double helix: it is made of two intertwined spirals; one leads down the other goes upwards. The stairs are beautifully decorated. The ramp is truly breathtaking.

Giuseppe Momo was born in Vercell in 1875 and passed away in May 1940. Momo was a famous Italian architect and engineer. Giuseppe Momo was active during the early decades of the twentieth century. He built many important religious buildings all over Italy. Numerous building in Turin and in Piedmont are among his many projects, but he is especially known for his work in Rome which was commissioned by Pope Pius XI. In Rome Momo made a great contribution to the architectural transformation of the Vatican following the Lateran Pacts signed in 1929 between the Holy See and Italy .
Type:
Attraction, Historic
St. Peter’s Basilica is a church built in the Late Renaissance style located within the territory of the Vatican City. The St. Peter’s Basilica is among the world’s biggest churches ... moreand it is well known as one of the most famous pieces of Renaissance architecture. St. Peter's was designed by Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno Donato Bramante, and Gian Bernini Lorenzo. For people of the Catholic faith, St. Peter’s Basilica is considered to be among the holiest places in the world. It is said to have been built over the tomb containing the remains of St. Peter, the first Pope. The St. Peter Basilica is rich in history from the early Christian era.

Inside the basilica one can find several sculptures, paintings, and many beautiful embellishments. It contains several tombs of popes. Among the most famous sculptures in St. Peter’s Basilica is Michelangelo’s Pieta.

The central dome of St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most renowned parts of the skyline of Rome. The Basilica is located west of the River Tiber and near the Janiculum Hill and Hadrian’s Mausoleum in Rome, Italy. The Tiber is the famous river that runs through Rome. It has played an important part in the development of the ancient city of Rome. It was a main route used for commerce and travel.

In this Photo you can see the Tiber and St. Peter's reflection in the water at dusk. The Tiber is one of the most familiar landmarks identified with Rome. It flows for 406 Kilometeres.

The Tiber is a famous part of Rome's landscape. Rome is situated on the Tiber's eastern banks. The Tiber is the well known river which runs through the city of Rome.The Tiber (or Tevere in Italian) is one of the longest rivers in Italy.

The River's depth is between 7 and 20 feet. The Tiber rises from the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flows for 406 Kilometers. The course of the Tiber runs through Umbria and Lazio and then arrives at the Sea. The Tiber's source is in two springs on Mount Fumaiolo in central Italy.The river rises from these springs in Mount and then flows south passing Perugia and then Rome. The Tiber eventually arrives at the sea at Ostia, now a Suburb of Rome. The ancient port of Ostia Antica is now almost 6 km inland since the Tiber has advanced since the ancient Roman era. 

406 Kilometers (252.2 miles) long the Tiber is the third longest river in Italy. The Tiber river is famous for it passes through the city of Rome and to the foot of Vatican City.The Tiber river in Rome is sometimes called "flavus" - which means blond because of the river's yellowish color.

The Tiber has an island in the center of Rome between the ancient center and the neighborhood of Trastevere. Many parts of the Tiber are lit at night. 

The Tiber River in History

According to legend, Rome was founded by Remus and Romulus in the year 753 BC after they were rescued by a wolf who pulled them out of the Tiber river.

Since Roman times, the Tiber served as a border between Italian city-states (such as the Latins in the south). As such, the Tiber river played a central role in trade, commerce and diplomatic relation between Rome and the other city-states. Rich Romans had gardens on the banks of the Tiber. As the Roman Emoire grew, the Tiber became more famous and central in Western folklore and the history of Rome.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, several popes invested in the widening and deepening of the the Tiber in order to increase trade to Rome.

in 1876 the walls which confine the Tiber river were built in order to decrease the risks of floods (which the river often did).

The Tiber river has been so central in Roman history and the Catholic faith, the the term "Swimming in the Tiber" became to describe the conversion of someone to Roman Catholicism.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
Christmas is a very important holiday in the Roman Catholic Calendar. Christmas celebrated the birth of Christ. Christmas masses are celebrated in the Vatican with the Pope. These ... moremasses are celebrated in St. Peter’s Square or in St. Peter’s Basilica. The location of the mass depends on the type of celebration and the expected number of people who will be attending the mass. St Peter's Square can contain up to 80,000 people. Due to the large number of participants Christmas masses cannot be held at the St. Peter’s Basilica. Christmas Masses are very large as many tourists, clergymen and Roman Curia wish to attend; therefore they are celebrated in St. Peter’s Square.

If you wish to attend a Christmas mass in the Vatican you will require a ticket. The best way to get them is to make arrangements from your country. You should send a fax 2-6 months in advance directly to the Vatican. The tickets for mass at the Vatican are always free. In most cases, the Holy See issues different types of tickets. There are tickets for Cardinals, Governors and Diplomats, special guests and then for the public.

However, having a ticket is not a guarantee that you will be able to attend the mass. Sometimes there are too many people and you may be denied access to the mass even though you have got tickets. In order to avoid being denied access and attend the mass, it is advised to get there early. The earlier you arrive at the Vatican, the higher the chance that you may attend the mass at St. Peter’s Square. In order to get a good place you should make sure that you arrive at the Vatican at least 1-3 hours before the beginning of the mass.

There is a lot of security at the entrance to the Vatican during any mass and everyone will need to pass through security scanners which are conducted by the Swiss Guards. Attending a Christmas mass in the Vatican is an uplifting experience during which you will be able to see the Pope and celebrate with a huge crowd. If you can, get yourself a ticket. Remember that there is a dress code for the Vatican Mass. Shorts, miniskirts or bare shoulders are not allowed. If you don't dress by the dress code you will be turned away by the security guards.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
On the opposite sides of the obelisk in St. Peter's square there are two fountains. The fountain on the left, when facing St. Peter’s Basilica, was designed by Carlo Moderno. In 1612 ... morePope Paul the V rebuilt the ancient Roman aqueduct the Aqua and it was renamed the Acqua Paola. The restored aqueduct provided the fountain with a larger source of water. The architect Carlo Maderno, who was the nephew of the architect Domenico Fontana, was then commissioned to redesign the fountain. He built a base for the fountain on top of which a large basin was placed. The basin is decorated with steps and small columns. Maderno kept the large lower stone vasque of the old fountain, and decorated the pedestal on top of it with four stone scrolls. He removed the smaller upper vasque, and replaced it with a mushroom like shape with stone scales. When the water flows from the top it pours down over the upper vasque.

The fountain on St. Peter's Square had no pumps and operated by gravity, as all fountains built at the time. The source of water for the fountain was on a hill. This meant that the fountain could shoot water upwards into the air by depending solely the power of gravity.
Attractions, things to see and places of interest .