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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.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
Designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini this elliptic shaped plaza was commissioned by Pope Alexander VII in 1656 . Berini was tasked with building a square that would enable huge crowds ... moreto see the Pope and receive his blessing. The square can contain more than 350,000 people during occasions such as Easter Mass and the Papal Conclave, when a new pope is elected. The square has a special allure at night when it is lit up and can be seen in all its glory.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
Easter is one of the most important holidays in Catholicism . Easter celebrates the resurrection of Christ on the third day after he was crucified.... more
Easter is a great celebration in the Vatican and all of Italy. The end of the Easter celebrations in the Vatican is marked by an elaborate firework display on the Tiber. In this photo you can see the colorful fireworks on the skyline of St. Peter's square. You may notice the famous Obelisk. The obelisk was brought to Rome from Alexandria by Emperor Caligula in 37 AD and it is more than 4000 years old.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Historic
Saint Peter's Basilica Dome - From the inside This beautiful dome is situated above the altar. The dome is held by four structural piers and decorated with elaborate stucco ornaments ... moreand mosaic.The four Evangelists: Mark, Luke, John and Matthew are depicted on the four spaces between the arches that link the square piers and the circular part on the top of the dome.
Type:
Attraction, Cultural, Park
The Vatican Gardens The Vatican Gardens are urban gardens and parks that cover more than half the area of the Vatican territory in the northeast and south. The gardens cover approximately ... more23 hectares of land, most of which is known as the Vatican Hill. The Vatican Gardens were established during the era of Renaissance and Baroque, and are decorated with sculptures and fountains.

The Vatican Gardens were created in 1279, when Pope Nicholas III moved the Papal residence from the Lateran Palace to the Vatican. The Pope then planted an orchard (pomerium), a lawn (pratellum) and a garden (viridurium). The gardens were surrounded by high walls, which were meant to protect the gardens. These gardens are said to be the place where the Pope meditates privately as he enjoys the nature surrounding him.

During the papacy of Julius II at the beginning of the 16th century, the Vatican gardens were given a re-landscaping. This led to splitting the gardens into three courtyards. The current Vatican Gardens contain a variety of buildings, medieval fortifications and monuments dating back to the 9th century. There are also flower beds, green lawns and a 3-hectare patch of forest. In addition, there are also a number of fountains that cool the gardens. Due to this, the Vatican Gardens have a cool and refreshing atmosphere, making them one of the most popular stops on a visit to the Vatican.

The Vatican Radio is also situated in one of the towers within the Vatican Gardens’ buildings. With the combination of the architectural buildings, green plants, flowers and cooling fountains, the Vatican Gardens are indeed a serene place to tour. If you want to tour the gardens, you must enroll in a Vatican tour. There are guided tours which take visitors through the Vatican Gardens, in addition to other places in Vatican City like the Vatican museums, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s Square, and more. The Vatican tour through the Vatican Gardens is conducted by an official Vatican Tour Guide, who will explain all the details concerning the gardens. You will be taken through the most important religious and cultural sites of the gardens. The Vatican Garden Tour takes approximately 2 hours.

In order to participate in a guided Vatican Tour of the Vatican Gardens, you must obtain a ticket in advance. Tickets can be booked online, where your reservations will be made on the minibus tour. The visit to the Vatican Gardens is available on every day, except Sundays and Vatican holidays. The tours are also provided in different languages: English, Italian, Spanish, French, German, etc. Make arrangements for a Vatican Tour and enjoy the views of Torre leonine, Vist di San Pietro, Fontana, Panorama, Roseto, Madonna della Guardia, Fontana dell’aquilone and Particolare, among others.
Type:
Geological Feature, Historic
Vatican Hill The Vatican Hill is located right on the opposite side of the Seven Hills of Rome. The hill is situated just across from the Tiber. The Vatican Hill was in existence even ... morebefore Christianity took its strong ground in Rome. It is said that the Vatican Hill was the site of an Etruscan town known as Vaticum. According to Roman history, the Vatican Hill obtained its name from its location and the people who occupied its location at the time when it was first inhabited.

There is some mystery surrounding the name of the hill; On the one hand the Vatican Hill was the home of people called Vates before Rome became the land of Christianity. On the other hand, Vaticanus was an Etruscan god of prophecy and that his temple was built on the ancient site of the Vatican Hill. The history of the original site of the Vatican Hill is linked back to St. Peter’s as it is very close to the site of his burial and some tombs of renowned Romans who contributed to the foundation of Christianity in Rome. 

The Vatican Hill was included within the Vatican City walls during the reign of Pope Leo IV. This was part of this Pope’s attempt to protect the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. After being included in the Vatican City walls, the Vatican Hill became part of the Vatican and Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican Hill is one of the natural sites of Rome which are visited by millions of tourists every year. The hill itself is a spectacular site and the surrounding areas are also remarkable. The hill is one of the sites in Rome that can be easily identified from a distance. For instance, people who visit the Vatican easily recognize the Vatican Hill and end up climbing it to enjoy the fresh air and the views surrounding the area.

Getting to the Vatican Hill is stress-free as there are guided tours that will take you there if it is your first time in the Vatican. There are tour guides who help people to climb the hill and go round it to enjoy the natural sites and the surrounding environs. The transportation means to the Vatican Hill are also easily available making the access to the hill easier.

Additionally, there are many hotels, restaurants and other recreational facilities near the Vatican Hill if you are hungry or tired. If you want to go and visit the hill for one or two days and stay in a hotel or camp at the hill site for weeks, all provisions are available to meet these demands.

With the rich history of the incredible architectural structures, art and relics, Vatican Hill is one of the most visited sites in Rome. It has continued to receive visitors from all over the world and it is attached to the great history of Christianity in Rome, making it an important site in Rome.
Type:
Attraction
Church
Cultural
Historic
St. Peter's Dome St. Peter’s Dome is the dome that covers St. Peter's basilica, one of the most exceptional religious and historic sites in Rome, Italy. Rome is a city of wonders in ... moreterms of architectural buildings as well as its natural landscape. St. Peter’s Square, just outside the basilica, is where the most important Catholic Masses and occasions are celebrated. It is here where the newly elected pope appears to the rest of the world for the first time. St. Peter’s basilica also houses several papal tombs, among many other Catholic relics. This site is incredible, both in it interior and exterior.

Another incredible feature of St. Peter’s Basilica is the Dome. This is the largest dome in the world and it is a marvel of architecture. The dome is also referred to as the cupola. The dome ascends above the altar of St. Peter’s Basilica and it is extravagantly embelished with mosaic and ornaments. It is supported by four main structural piers with a height of 120m and a perimeter of 71m; starting from the ground to the roof of the lantern.

There are huge letters on the gold background, from St. Veronica to St. Helen, stating: “Hinc una fides mundo refulgent” (From here a single faith shines throughout the world); and from St. Longinus to St. Andrew: “Hinc sacerdotii unitas exoritur” (From here is born the unity of the priesthood). There are several other verses as well and all these gigantic letters (2 meter high) are lit by the light from 16 large windows.

The dome is divided into 16 ribs and into many segments by majestic figures on 6 ascending concentric levels. The levels are as follows, starting at the bottom: busts of the 16 popes buried in the basilica; the majestic figures of Christ, the Virgin Mary, St. Joseph, St. John the Baptist, and other Apostles; the angels bearing the instruments of Jesus’ Passion (in the rectangular frames); the faces of cherubim and seraphim in circular medallions; the angels, the custodians of St. Peter’s tomb; and additional faces of winged angels.

The most interesting experience is climbing up the dome. It has 551 stairs and that is why if you are not very energetic it is recommended to take a lift; or else you will spend hours just climbing the dome. It costs around 7 Euros to take the lift. Once you reach the basilica, you will see a queue to climb the dome; this is because there are many people climbing up the dome every day. Queue in the line and get your climbing ticket. After getting the ticket, you will be guided either to the stairs or the lift depending on your choice. Paying for the lift is worthwhile as after a short while you will already be at the top of the dome. You can get outside the dome, where you can see a panoramic view of ALL of Rome. It is a spectacular view with magnificent and breath-taking sites.

If you are planning to visit Rome, put St. Peter’s Dome in your list “must see” sites. There are guided tours by professionals who will take you to all places in and outside the dome and give you comprehensive explanation of every detail of the dome. Climbing St. Peter’s Dome is a lifetime experience.
Type:
Attraction, Historic
The Fountains in St. Peter's Square St. Peter’s Square is one of the most famous venues in Rome, Italy. The square is located in front of St. Peter’s Basilica within Vatican City. ... moreSeveral special Masses are celebrated in St. Peter's square during various special dates on the Roman Catholic Church's calendar. It is at St. Peter’s Square where a newly elected pope appears to the rest of the world for the first time. Other special Masses celebrated at St. Peter’s Square include: Easter and Christmas Masses.

St. Peter’s Square is known for its spectacular beauty and the fountains may be listed among its many outstanding features. Most of these fountains were constructed during ancient days and they have contributed ever since to the beauty of the square. The fountains have been renovated and are well conserved making them worth visiting if you are visiting the Vatican and Rome.

The following are some of the fountains that can be found in St. Peter’s Square:

Maderno Fountain: this fountain was redesigned by architect Carlo Maderno after being commissioned by Pope Paul V. The design is that of an octagonal base with a large irregular basin at the top. It also has small columns and steps which hold water. The new design is also comprised of a large lower stone vasque, which the old fountain had possessed also as well as four stone scrolls. The top of the fountain is a cap in shape of a mushroom, which is covered with stone scales. Water from the top of the fountain pours down over the top of the upper vasque. The fountain was designed in such a way that it did not operate by pumps but purely by gravity. This was facilitated by the fact that the source of water for the Maderno Fountain was higher than the fountain itself. 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.

Bernini Fountain: it is located on the southern side of St. Peter’s Square. It was created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini between 1667 and 1677. The fountain was commissioned by Pope Clement X. Bernini built the fountain for ten years and its design followed earlier designs.

These fountains continuously give St. Peter’s Square a spectacular atmosphere in which the sounds of trickling water made by these fountains can be heard from a distance. Therefore as you approach St. Peter’s Square, you will start hearing the relaxing sounds supplied by the fountains’ waters. The fountains have remained a great tourist attraction and are among the most beautiful fountains in Rome, Italy.

Therefore if you are planning to visit Rome, do not miss out on a visit St. Peters square and its fountains. They are among the tallest and most beautiful fountains in the Vatican City. You will meet attendants who will give a brief history of the fountains and explain every detail about these fountains. If you are allowed to enter St. Peter’s square then there are no restrictions on viewing and taking photos of these fountains. The fountains also discharge very clean water and are well maintained.
Type:
Attraction, Historic
The Apostolic Palace The Apostolic Palace is the official residence of the reigning pope. The palace is located in Vatican City; North-East of St. Peter’s Basilica and next to the ... moreBastion of Nicholas V and the Palace of Gregory XIII. The Apostolic Palace is also referred to as the Vatican Palace, the Papal Palace, the Sacred Palace and also the Palace of the Vatican. The construction of the current Apostolic Palace started on the 30th of April 1589 during the reign of Pope Sixtus V and it was completed by his successors Pope Urban VII, Pope Innocent XI and Pope Clement VIII.

Originally, the person in charge of the activities at the Apostolic Palace was the prefect of the Apostolic Palace. However this position only existed between the 15th century and the 1800s. The Papal States had some economic crises and as a way of saving some money, the position of the prefect of the Apostolic Palace was reviewed and a committee was created by Leo XIII to run the palace.

The Apostolic Palace is a complex building comprising of several Papal Apartments, the Vatican Museums, some of the Catholic Church’s government offices, the Vatican Library, and a number of both private and public chapels among other buildings. Generally, there are over 1000 rooms within the Apostolic Palace. The palace houses offices of different functions including administrative offices that are not necessarily related to the Pope's duties. Some of the renowned rooms within the Apostolic Palace include the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael’s Rooms.

Therefore, despite the Apostolic Palace's name, it is not merely the pope's residence. It is also used for other administrative functions of the Holy See. For instance, there are several administrative offices within the Apostolic Palace which are used to administer government functions of the Vatican State. In many ways the Apostolic Palace can be compared with the White House, which is the term used to describe the general presidential administration of the United States. Hence the Apostolic palace is not only used for religious purposes but for the Vatican's general administration including the exercising of its political, economic and social responsibilities as a State.

The Apostolic Palace has several outstanding features and it has become one of the top tourist attractions in Rome, Italy. The palace has within it several beautiful gardens, fishponds, museums, natural conservatories, cattle premises (which produce plenty of milk to serve the whole palace) and a library. It is also the home to the Vatican Observatory.

There are several residences meant for the reigning pope and the Apostolic Palace is among the places where the Pope spends most of his time. once a new pope is elected, he takes over the Apostolic Palace as his residence. Some of the popes liked to spend time reflecting in the gardens within the Apostolic Palace. The Apostolic is also where several administrative meetings of the Vatican take place.
Type:
Attraction
Church
Cultural
Historic
Museum
The Vatican Necropolis The Vatican Necropolis is located under the Vatican City, at a depth of 5 to 12 meters below Saint Peter’s Basilica. Major archaeological excavations took place ... moreunder Saint Peter’s in the years 1940 to 1949, with the sponsorship of the Vatican. This excavation work was done at the request of the then Pope Pius XI who wanted to be buried very close to Peter the Apostle. St Peter is believed to have been the first Pope. It is said that he was martyred in a Roman Circus and that his remains were then buried at the site of the Vatican. These excavations were done so as to locate the actual site of the grave of St. Peter, which had been assumed to be under St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Necropolis of the Vatican is also home to the Tomb of the Julii family (The family of Julius Ceaser). During Ancient times people were not allowed to be buried within the walls of the city of Rome and this led to the establishment of the Vatican necropolis. The Vatican necropolis was originally established as a burial place built on the southern slope of the Vatican Hill. The Vatican hill was located next to a circus built by Emperor Caligula.

There have been some reconstructions done in the Vatican necropolis including one reconstruction in the area around the grave of the Apostle Peter. Some archaeologists who were involved in the early excavations of the Vatican necropolis in search of St. Peter’s grave suggested that at the time of the construction of Constantinian basilica, the remains of the Apostle Peter were removed from his original grave and placed in the opening.

Every year, millions of people from different parts of the world visit the Vatican for various reasons. A big percentage of these people visit the Vatican necropolis, the place where Peter the Apostle and other popes are believed to have been buried. This site is one of the holiest places in Rome. Saint Peter was crucified on Nero’s circus in the center of St. Peter’s Basilica and his body was moved and buried to a cemetery. According to history, this cemetery is said to be the current Vatican necropolis .Many people who take a tour of Vatican appreciate the conservancy of this place.There are guided tours which can be arranged in advance online in different languages. You will be taken through the chambers until you reach the Tomb of Saint Peter.In the tours you will enjoy magnificent monuments, inscriptions and works of art which symbolize the history of Christianity and the City of Vatican. A tour of Vatican necropolis will last approximately one hour and fifteen minutes. Please note that only a small group of people of between ten and fifteen is allowed in at a time. On a tour of the area you can also enjoy the view of Vatican hill, the Vatican Gardens, museums, St. Peter’s Square, and the Apostolic Palace, among other monuments.
Attractions, things to see and places of interest in Città Del Vaticano.