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Vatican City is a popular destination for tourists, especially Christians wishing to see the Pope or practice their faith.

The main tourist attractions in Vatican City include the Basilica of St. Peter, Saint Peter's Square, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and the Raphael Rooms.[1]

Pilgrims will most often visit Vatican City at special moments in the liturgical year, such as Christmas or Easter, or during important periods such as the proclamation of a holy year or the funeral and election of a pope.

Tourism is one of the principal sources of revenue in the economy of Vatican City. Although less than a quarter of a square mile in area,[2] in 2007, about 4.3 million people visited the Vatican Museums alone.[3]

Tourism is the main cause of the Vatican's unusually high crime rate: tourists are blamed for various minor thefts and incidents.[4]

Tourist Attractions[edit]

The Vatican State[edit]

Main article: Vatican City

As the Vatican is located in Italy, the main language of the Vatican state (or Vatican city) is Italian. Being the centre of the Roman Catholic faith, the Vatican houses some of the most beautiful masterpieces of art in places such as the Sistine Chapel. Besides the famous artwork, there are also wonderful gardens and much more to be seen throughout the Vatican state. As of 1929 because of the Lateran Treaty, the Vatican is recognized as its own independent state, which has a population of just over 800 people [5] as of July 2011. The Pope is not only the head of the Catholic religion, but the head of the state as well for the Vatican city.

The Vatican[edit]

The Vatican Is home to the current Pope Francis, and it is also currently the one papal state in existence. The Vatican was built during the year 326 A.D. As the population and housing continued to grow, the first palace was built during the 5th century under the reign of Pope Symmachus (498–514). The Vatican has since then grown to become the smallest know independent state in terms of both population and land size.[6] People are able to visit the Vatican's museums, and for a fee of about 15 to 19 euros, anyone is able to go inside and witness all of the architecture, as well as the variety of art that is store in the Vatican's museum. The number of people who come to see the Vatican's Museum has surpassed over five million people per year as of 2011.[7] Not only does the Vatican contain wonderful museums, they also have exotic gardens for those who wish to be away from the crowds of people that form in the building of the Vatican state. From the gardens, wonderful views of St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican are able to been seen.[8]

Sistine Chapel[edit]

The Sistine Chapel is home to many pieces of art including statues, tapestries, paintings by Michelangelo Buonarroti and much more. One of the most famous attractions in the Sistine Chapel is the Creation of Adam painting, as well as the rest of the Sistine Chapels ceiling as done by Michelangelo between the years of 1508 and 1512.[9] It is truly a marvel to see; however, no picture taking is allowed inside of the Sistine Chapel. There is nothing to fear though. Online, the Vatican offers a 3D model for the inside of the Chapel. During the summer, approximately 20,000 people go through the Sistine Chapel per day. Unfortunately, due to the fact that tourists do not abide the rules of silence and no picture taking inside the chapel, there may be a limit on how many people are allowed to view the inside of the Sistine Chapel per day.[10] During the time where a new pope is to be decided, the Chapel attempts to prevent people from spreading pictures or other forms of information inside of the Chapel via mobile devices. The do this by having jamming devices [11] inside of the Sistine Chapel as an attempt to discourage people from using their smart phones and other mobile devices. This prevented information from being leaked about the Cardinals decision as to who the new pope will be.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Rome tourism — Vatican City". Traveleurope. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  2. ^ http://geography.about.com/cs/countries/a/smallcountries.htm
  3. ^ "Vatican ran deficit in 2007: Holy See". CBC News. 2008-07-09. 
  4. ^ BBC article
  5. ^ (2012) Population. Retrieved 3 April 2013 http://www.vaticanstate.va/content/vaticanstate/en/stato-e-governo/note-generali/popolazione.html
  6. ^ Knight, Kevin. (2009)Pope St. Symmachus. retrieved 3 April 2013 http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14377a.htm
  7. ^ Wooden, Cindy (2012)Number of Vatican Museums' visitors tops 5 million. retrieved 4 April 2013 http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1200122.htm
  8. ^ (n.d.). Vatican Garden Tour. Retrieved April 4, 2013 http://www.rome-museum.com/vatican_gardens_tour.php
  9. ^ http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/CSN/CSN_Volta.html Retrieved 4 April 2013
  10. ^ Pullella, Philip (2012) Vatican may eventually limit Sistine Chapel visits. Retrieved 3 April 2013 http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/31/us-vatican-sistine-idUSBRE89U0XF20121031
  11. ^ Wright, David (2013) Vatican Preps Sistine Chapel With Jamming Device, Stove for White Smoke http://abcnews.go.com/International/vatican-preps-sistine-chapel-jamming-device-stove-white/story?id=18665371#.UV2NNqXU5SU Retrieved 3 April 2013

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