The Vatican needs no introduction as it is known to the world as the centre of the Catholic Church. The Vatican comprises of the Vatican City, the neighborhoods surrounding the city like the Prati, Vaticano as well as Monte Mario neighborhoods. While it is a small portion of the Vatican City, it boasts world class artwork and history, more than most cities in the world. The Holy See, as it is referred to, is a papal state ruled by the pope who is the head of the Catholic Church worldwide.
When to visit the Vatican
The best time to visit the Vatican and Rome as a whole is during the Easter holiday. This is because the Easter celebrations are led by the pope in Rome and the Vatican City. In Rome, the Easter holiday commences on Palm Sunday when a special mass is led by the holy pope at the St. Peters square. This procession takes place until Easter Sunday where the pope leads a mass held at the St. Peters square. At midday, the pope delivers his Easter message and Easter blessing in Saint Peter’s Basilica’s central loggia.
During this celebration, you can expect to indulge in the tasty meals of Rome as this celebration also marks the end of the lent season. You can sample the traditional lamb, special Easter breads, artichokes, colomba and pannetone. These Easter specials can be bought in many stores and the Easter break can be gotten from the bakeries. Apart from visiting the Vatican during Easter, you can also visit it on other holidays as it has a lot to offer; especially if you are of the catholic faith.
Where to stay
When you enter the Vatican, you can choose to stay at a bed and breakfast facility or a hotel. There are several places one can stay at in proximity to the Vatican. These places include:
· The Alimandi Viale Vaticano hotel
· Farnese hotel
· Il Gattopardo Relias
· Residenza paolo VI
Places to visit in the Vatican
The museums – the Vatican museum happens to be the world’s largest museum complex and it has more than 1400 rooms. This museum complex comprises of the museum, Sistine chapel, galleries hosting art work dating back to 3000 years ago and portions that make up the papal palace. This museum displays a large collection of art; even a whole room dedicated to works done by Raphael. Enjoy amazing pictures; mostly Renaissance works at the Pinacoteca Vaticana. You cannot leave the Vatican without visiting the hall of maps that holds the papal land’s old maps.
The Sistine chapel - this chapel was built in the 13th century. This is the pope’s private chapel and is still the same place where the elections for the next pope are held by the cardinals. The décor inside the chapel has biblical significance; the ceiling has a central scene that depicts creation while the alter wall is decorated with the story of Noah.
Commuting inside the Vatican
The Holy See is quite small so you can make it around it by foot. However, it is advisable to get a car rental if you are to explore the rest for Rome at your comfort. You can find various car hire agencies in Rome and you can get cheap car hire services from some of the local car hire agencies. Car hire is more affordable in Rome as compared to other private means of transport.