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Basilica San Pietro Roma

One of the places you are going to see (whether you plan for it or not) is The Vatican (aka Citta del Vaticano or short Il Vaticano). This is a detail of the main entrance of the Basilica San Pietro Rome.


Piazza di San Pietro Rome

The Basilica San Pietro is clearly the major attraction of Vatican City, along with the Piazza di San Pietro right in front of it. When you are entering the Piazza, you are already on the grounds of the fully independent Vatican City! The Piazza was built from 1656 to 1667 by Bernini who was quite active in Rome. This is regarded as his masterpiece. Today the place can take up to 60,000 believers.


Piazza di San Pietro Rome

A photo of the colonnades surrounding the Piazza in a huge oval. Here you will wait in a queue to enter San Pietro. Be prepared for a full security check (identical to the checks performed at airports). Also, please bring long trousers and blouses, as they won't let you enter the Vatican wearing 'too casual' clothes (e.g. mini skirts or shorts).


Bernini Piazza di San Pietro Rome

Another photo of the columns surrounding the Piazza di San Pietro. Tip: Try to avoid Sundays when visiting the Vatican! On Sundays, the queue establishes early in the morning, and you will have to wait endlessly before being allowed to enter. There is less traffic on weekdays, and we definitely recommend to go then (less waiting = more fun!).


Swiss Guards Vatican City

As Vatican City is fully independent, it has its own small army - the Swiss Guards (Guardia Pontificia Svizzera). They protect the pope since 1506. Today, 110 soldiers work in the name of the pope, and they are all from Switzerland.

Vatican Swiss Guard

Another photo of a soldier of the Swiss Guards. By the way, the colourful costumes of the guards have not been designed by Michelangelo (as is stated quite often) but by a member of the guards in the 20th century. When the guards are on internal duties, they are wearing plain blue uniforms.


Vatican Gardens

This is the view towards West from the top of the St. Peter's Dome. It is the government building of Vatican City, and the nice greens belong to the Vatican Gardens (Giardini Vaticani).


Giardini Vaticani

View towards North-West from the top of the St. Peter's Dome. The nice greens belong to the gardens of the Vatican (Giardini Vaticani).

View from St. Peter's Dome Rome

Now let's have a look towards East across the Piazza and the Via della Conciliazione with the Castel Sant' Angelo and the Ponte Sant' Angelo at its end. Now, this is clearly the most beautiful view of Rome that you can encounter, and I guess that everybody takes a photo from this position. And you will do so, too. :-)

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