10 Things to Do in Vatican City That You Shouldn't Miss

December 24, 2017 Brandee Mangan

Sure, Vatican City is tiny—110 acres—but it houses the world's largest Catholic church (St. Peter's Basilica) and has perhaps the best collection of artistic masterpieces in the world (the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo's Pieta, the Laocoon Group, etc.). And maybe only 800 people live here, but one of them's the Pope. It's a pretty good argument for quality over quantity.
Restaurants in Vatican City

1. St. Peter's Basilica

Piazza di San Pietro, 00120 Vatican City, Italy +39 06 6988 3731
Excellent
83%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 32 reviews

St. Peter's Basilica

Arguably one of the finest Cathedrals in the entire world, St. Peter's is the spiritual center of the Vatican and the product of many of Italy's great Renaissance's architects, among them Bramante, Raphael and Michelangelo.

Reviewed By desinerg - Sydney, Australia

Join a tour to avoid ridiculous queues and hours of waiting and get to hear and appreciate the history. The basilica is extraordinary and in some ways grotesque in the grandeur.

Piazza del Colosseo, 00184 Rome, Italy (+39) 06 39967700
Excellent
73%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 117 reviews

Colosseum

Perhaps the best-preserved of the monuments of ancient Rome, this huge marble structure was built to hold more than 50,000 spectators to witness bloody contests of might and the slaughter of wild beasts.

Reviewed By HeidiElizabeth7 - Leeds, United Kingdom

We were lucky enough to be staying in a hotel that was a 5 mins walk from the Colosseum.. because of this we never bothered to prebook tickets or pay for skip-the-line. We walked down to the ticket office at 8am, had a little wonder around and took some photos and then joined the ticket office queue around 8.20. There were probably 50 people in front of us at this time and by 8.30 (the Colosseum opening time) a further 70-80 people now queuing behind us so I would recommend getting there for 8am to avoid the long wait.
The queue for security check moved pretty quickly and we were inside in no time!
This was our second visit, the first being on a guided tour so we had a leisurely walk around this time.
The Colosseum is wonderful, the hoards of tourists can be annoying but you have to expect this. The girls in the ticket office were very friendly and provided any information needed. The staff inside at security were a little more stern but given their job and the hundreds of often rude tourists pushing their way through id be stern too!
The book shop inside is small but reasonably priced. I paid 5e for a Colosseum guide book, 10e for a Forum book and 12.90e for a book on the archaeological sites of Rome. The staff inside were friendly and worked down the queue at the tills fast.
The Colosseum is magnificent. Go and enjoy. Pre book if you cant get there early but if you are able to then arrive for 8am and this should help you avoid the long wait for tickets.

3. Sistine Chapel

Citta del Vaticano 1, 00120 Vatican City, Italy +39 06 6988 4676
Excellent
70%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
3%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 15 reviews

Sistine Chapel

Probably the most famous chapel in the world because of its incredible artwork, notably "The Last Judgment," Michelangelo's stunning fresco covering 10,000 square feet of the ceiling and wall.

Reviewed By Grant I

Beautiful ceiling and awesome paintings. You are constantly pushing next to people while the Vatican security guards are yelling silence and stand up. It is funny to see all the f-yous that Michelangelo put into his works, towards people that made him mad.

Piazza della Rotonda, 00186 Rome, Italy +39 06 6830 0230
Excellent
72%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 62 reviews

Pantheon

Dedicated to the seven planetary divinities and featuring an interior of gorgeous marble, the Pantheon is one of the most impressive monuments of Augustan Rome.

Reviewed By Concierge3725 - Manila, Philippines

Pantheon falls under the category of must see in Rome. The architecture is superb and the the dome inside the temple must be one of the most photographed items. The arts displayed here are exquisite and elaborate and this attraction can be very crowded since the entrance fee is free. It is such a beautiful building structure to behold.

5. Vatican Museums

Viale Vaticano, 00120 Vatican City, Italy +39 06 6988 4676
Excellent
64%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
3%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 29 reviews

Vatican Museums

With more than five miles of corridors, this vast complex of museums chronicles the history and accomplishments of mankind over the last 2000 years, featuring classic masterpieces such as Rodin's "Thinker" and the Sistine Chapel.

Reviewed By FionaTidd - Rochester, United Kingdom

Lots of museum galleries with various collections of sculpture, art and artefacts. Ticket includes entry to Sistine chapel, which is at the far end of the buildings, so if that’s your main interest you may want to move through the museums fairly quickly. Many of the galleries are beautifully decorated, especially ceilings, so remember to look up as well as at the objects on display. Rafael rooms and Borgia apartments near the Sistine chapel have stunning frescos.
Cafe in the courtyard of the pine cone is a good place for a coffee and cake stop.

6. Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore 42, 00185 Rome, Italy +39 06 6988 6800
Excellent
72%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 12 reviews

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

One of seven pilgrimage basilicas in the world, this church was founded in 432 AD and is where the famous architect Bernini is buried.

Reviewed By randomtravler2016 - Los Angeles, California

I titled this Jesus Crib because the relics of his baby Crib are in a wonderful receiver under the main altar. What can't be beat for this visit are the incredible frescos and gold ceiling.
This church is a few short blocks from the Termini station for the metro and easy to get to and is free. You will have your bag searched so allow 15 minutes to get through security.
This is a must-see.

7. La Pieta

Chapel of the Pieta | Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican City, Italy +39 06 6988 1840
Excellent
83%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 3 reviews

La Pieta

The most beautiful work inside St. Peter's Cathedral is Michelangelo's famous La Pietà, considered by many to be the most moving piece of sculpture ever created.

Reviewed By AnabelleYmanaFerber - Hanau, Germany

After our Sistine Chapel tour , we were guided towards the doors of the St Peter's Basilica and on the right , there was again , people haha , one just have to be patient and just enjoy every moment.
So , yes , La Pieta was at the end of the way . This sculpture is mesmerising , the compassion that the Mother feels for her son !!!
This exemplary work from Michelangelo is awesome , made from Carrara marble , which the older it gets the shinier it becomes . He was only 23 years old if I'm not mistaken.
Not to be missed when you tour the Vatican .

8. Roman Forum

Piazza Santa Maria Nova, 53, 00186 Rome, Italy (+39) 06 39967700
Excellent
70%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 18 reviews

Roman Forum

Reviewed By Gildz74 - Chester

This was my favourite part of sightseeing! A very large, interesting place to wander round, it would be tranquil if it wasn't for the millions of other tourists! It lacks well signed toilet facilities & places to get a drink/food. If you plan to spend a whole day here, take snack/drinks! If you're disabled/ wheelchair user/ struggle with mobility, I think you would have a hard time here... very hilly & uneven ground!

9. Galleria Borghese

Piazzale del Museo Borghese 5, 00197 Rome, Italy +39 06 32810
Excellent
79%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 14 reviews

Galleria Borghese

The Museum in the beautiful setting of Villa Borghese in Rome preserves sculptures, reliefs and ancient mosaics, and paintings and sculptures from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century. The collection, made up initially by Cardinal Scipione Borghese in the early seventeenth century, preserves masterpieces of Antonello da Messina, Giovanni Bellini, Raffaello, Tiziano, Correggio, Caravaggio and beautiful sculptures of Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Canova.

Reviewed By linda e - Biggar, United Kingdom

We were keen to see the art works and the mosaics here and were not disappointed. The mosaics were complete and left nothing to the imagination. Well worth the visit and a beautiful park to walk in on the way from the centre.

10. Stanze di Raffaello

Viale Vaticano, Vatican City, Italy
Excellent
82%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
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5 based on 948 reviews

Stanze di Raffaello

Reviewed By Alexandra-Iulia D

Located in the heart of Vatican museums, in the Raffael apartments, this Fresca has an amazing history. The level of detail is impressive and the story behind it is even more fascinating. Is was also the picture on our tickets ;)

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