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Type:
Attraction
Cultural
Historic
Museum
 (1)
Named after Pope Sixtus IV, the Sistine Chapel is perhaps the most famous chapel in the world. It is renowned both for its function as the Papal Conclave and for its incredible artwork.... more

The ceiling and western wall of the Sistine Chapel are adorned with some of the most astonishing paintings in the world created by the famous artist – Michelangelo Buonarroti.

Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in 1508 and he completed his work in 1512. The middle section depicts nine stories from the Book of Genesis, including the renowned ‘Creation of Adam’ where the hand of God is seen reaching to Adam to instill him with life.

In 1535 Michelangelo was commissioned once again to paint the western wall over the altar. He completed this spectacular painting of the‘Last Judgment’ in 1541. The painting depicts the end-of-days and second coming of Christ when according to Christian faith all souls will be judged by Jesus,the Saints and God and sent to heaven or hell.

Despite being one of the most celebrated works of art in history, Michelangelo was originally hesitant to paint the ceiling of the chapel for he considered himself as more of a sculptor than a painter.

The original ‘Last Judgment’ painting included fully nude human figures, but these were later covered by another artist due to the demands of some Papal members who claimed that the nudity was obscene and improper.

The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was painted by Michelangelo who depicted nine stories from the book of Genesis including the famous 'Creation of Adam'.

The first three stories are:
1. The Separation of Light from Darkness: Genesis 1:1-5;
2. The Creation of the sun, moon and planets: Genesis 1:11-19;
3. The Separation of Land from Sea: Genesis 1,9-10)

Following these paintings of the Sistine Chapel ceiling in the Vatican are the mid-section patintings:
1. The Creation of Adam & Eve (Genesis 1:26- 2:25), with the figures of man and woman in their nakedness.
2. The Banishment from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:22-24).

The last three frescoes of Michelangelo include:
1. The Sacrifice of Noah: (Genesis 8:15-20)
2. The Flood (Genesis 6:5-8,20)
3. The Drunkenness of Noah (Genesis 9:20-27)
* All these show the fall and rebirth of humanity

The ceiling and western wall of the Sistine Chapel are adorned with some of the most celebrated paintings in the world created by the famous artist – Michelangelo Buonarroti. Michelangelo was commissioned to paint the ceiling in 1508 and he completed his work in 1512.

Despite being one of the most adored works of art in history, Michelangelo was originally hesitant to paint the ceiling of the chapel for he saw himself as more of a sculptor than a painter. The original ‘Last Judgment’ painting included fully nude human figures, but these were later covered by another artist due to the demands of some Papal members who claimed that the nudity was obscene and improper.

The middle section of the ceiling depicts 9 stories fromthe Book of Genesis, including the iconic ‘Creation of Adam’ where the hand ofGod is seen reaching to Adam to give him life. In 1535 Michelangelo was commissioned once again to paint thewestern wall over the altar.

Michelangelo completed this spectacular painting of the‘Last Judgment’ in 1541. The painting depicts the end-of-days and second comingof Christ when according to Christian faith all souls will be judged by Jesus,the Saints and God and sent to heaven or hell.
Type:
Attraction
Cultural
Historic
Museum
The Raphael rooms (Vatican museums) The Raphael rooms (Stanze di Raphael) are four rooms which were used as the residence of the popes between 1507 and 1585. The first pope to use ... morethe Raphael rooms as his residence was Pope Julius II. Pope Gregory XIII was the last Pope to use these rooms as his residence. Today, the Raphael rooms are part of the Vatican museum.

The Raphael rooms form part of the apartment located on the second floor of the Pontifical Palace that was first chosen by Pope Julius II della Rovere as his own residence and was later used by his successors for the same purpose. The decoration of the rooms was done by Raphael and his pupils between 1508 and 1524. Although Raphael died in 1520, his pupils continued with the project until its completion in 1524.

The Raphael rooms are: Room of Constantine, Room of Heliodorus, Room of the Segnatura and Room of the Fire in the Borgo.

Room of Constantine: this is the largest room of the four Raphael rooms. It is the room which is dedicated to the victory of Christianity over paganism. The frescoes contained in this room represent the struggles from the life of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Some of the features in the Room of Constantine include: the Vision of the Cross, the Baptism of Constantine, the Battle of Milvian Bridge and the Donation of Constantine.

Room of Heliodorus: this is the private chamber that symbolizes the heavenly protection provided by Christ to the Church. The room contains four paintings, namely: the Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple, the Mass at Bolsena, the Meeting of Pope Leo I and Attila, and the Deliverance of Saint Peter from Prison.

Room of the Segnatura: it was the study room of Pope Julius II. The room symbolizes bringing into harmony the spirits of Antiquity and Christianity. Here is where most of the papal documents were signed and sealed among these were: The Disputation of the Holy Sacrament, the School of Athens, the Parnassus, the Cardinal Virtues, among others.

Room of the Fire in the Borgo: it shows Pope Leo IV making the sign of the cross to put out a raging fire in the Borgo. During the reign of Pope Leo X, this room was used as a music room. Most of the frescos in the room portray events that took place from the lives of Pope Leo III and Pope Leo IV. Some of the paintings in this room include: the Oath of Leo III, the Coronation of Charlemagne, Fire in the Borgo and the Battle of Ostia.

The Raphael rooms are decorated with paintings that make them look magnificent. The rooms are located a few steps away from the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Cathedral. The next time you visit Rome, pay a visit to these rooms and you will be astonished by the paintings within them. The Raphael rooms are one of the most visited parts of the Vatican museums and they have a grand history which is significant for the Roman Catholic Church.
Type:
Attraction, Historic, Museum
The Gallery of Maps is called the Galleria delle carte geografiche in Italian.  Situated in the Vatican on the west side of the Belvedere Courtyard, the gallery contains a series of ... morepainted topographical maps of Italy. These maps were based on drawings by Ignazio Danti a Dominican Italian friar, mathematician, astronomer, cosmographer and geographer which was born as Pellegrino Rainaldi Danti in Perugia in 1536.

The galley was commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII in 1580 . Pope Gregory XIII ordered it made as well as many other works of art. The Pope commissioned these works of art in order to decorate the Vatican. The completion of the work on the gallery took Danti three years (1580–1583). Today the gallery consists of 40 panels which go along the 120 m gallery. 

The panels map the entirety of the Italian peninsula including Sardinia and Corsica. The maps are in fact frescoes. Each fresco features a different region. Special detail was given to the region's most prominent city. With the Apennines serving as the dividing line, one side features the area surrounded by the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas and the other shows the area near the Adriatic Sea.

The maps are both beautiful and informative as they reveal the way that the renaissance Italians saw themselves and their surroundings in pre- national Italy. Italy was not one nation in the time of the renaissance when the maps were made. The maps also provide insight to the art of cartography ( making of maps) of these times.The gallery is a fascinating place to visit whether you take a special interest in maps or not.

In the gallery of maps the vaulted ceiling is also decorated. These decorations were done by a group of Mannerist artists including Girolamo Muziano and Cesare Nebbia.
Type:
Historic
 (5)
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.
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
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:
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, 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.
Attractions, things to see and places of interest in Vatican City.