We’re not going to mince words: A visitor on a Rome vacation could spend the entire time in this autonomous, farm-sized nation alone. The first thing you’ll see is St. Peter’s grand square, the arms of colonnades—complete with 284 columns—reaching out to embrace each and every visitor. The Basilica of St. Peter’s, the architectural cherry crowning Vatican City, was completed in the early 17th century, exactly 1,300 years after the first St. Peter’s was completed on this site. An all-star team of legendary Renaissance and Baroque architects and artists gave a hand in building the “new” St. Peters, including Bramante, Michelangelo, Raphael and Bernini. Interior highlights that can’t be missed are Michelangelo’s “Pieta” and Bernini’s monumental brass “Baldacchino,” a 100-foot tall “canopy” that serves as the focal point of the church. And don’t miss the Vatican Museums. The collection was founded 400 years ago and consists of some of the world’s most well-known art, including frescoes by Raphael, Da Vinci and, of course, Michelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, one of the best things to do in Rome for those who appreciate inspiring art. The long fresco-bedecked halls, crammed with ancient statuary and centuries-old maps of the then-known world, make for a fascinating and tiring day of gawking at art.
Attractions & Landmarks, Religious
- Nearest Train: Ottaviano-San Pietro