You don’t need to be religious to visit this little country, and neither do you require a visa. You simply cross the white line separating St. Peter’s Square from the rest of Rome and there you are. Enclaved within the city of Rome, Vatican City is officially the smallest recognised state in the whole world. Home to the Pope Vatican is the beautifully preserved state of the Catholic Church. In 2014 I was excited to tick one more box next to my wish list as I was in the World’s smallest, independent recognized country since 1929, with around 800 people living within 44 hectares.
On tope of Vatican Dome overlooking St Peter’s Square where thousands line up every week to get a glimpse of The Pope
Security guards at the entrance of St peter’s Basilica
To get to St. Peter’s Square, the famous entrance to this magnificent historical landmark, I took a walk along Via Ottaviano (about 800m), if you do not want to walk, you can take the tram or the bus and get off at Piazza del Risorgimento and proceed on foot. In a few minutes I arrived in St. Peter’s Square, always a meeting place for thousands of tourists and faithful Catholics from around the world. Pope appears in public every Wednesday if he is in the country. Though I did not visit on Wednesday, the roads were not so crowded and it took me 15 minutes to get inside St peter’s Basilica Church. The entry to lower part of the church is free however if you don’t arrive here early you can take up to 1-2 hours before you enter. It can be a real painful experience as there are no shades to escape rain or bright sun. the security guard will catch your attention immediately as they are the most colorfully dressed security I ever witnessed so far.
Inside the crowded church
But be careful!
To get to the museums, the queue is always very long, however you have the option to book a guided tour online, in order to immediately start your tour. I missed the Vatican museum as I was mesmerized with the Vatican Dome and I did not have the time to complete both. The ticket to reach up is around 8 Euros and additional 5 Euros if you want to take the elevator. I chose to climb up as I had read about the spiral stairs and that was my area of interest. Its 350 plus stairs. It can be tiring so carry a bottle of water to stay hydrated and take short breaks in between. Some areas of the staircase can get very narrow and cramped and you might not be able to take breaks when you are following a large group as the stairs are really narrow. To make way for others you gotta go moving.