6 Things to Know Before Traveling to the Vatican for the First Time

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Vatican City is a very small territory, which has the status of a state. It is located in Rome, Italy, but it is interesting that one of the first facts you will learn is that in fact, the Vatican is not Italy. It may sound strange, but in this article, we will explain every possible aspect of this small country.

When we hear about the Vatican, we must first think of the Pope and the seat of the Roman Catholic Church – and you are (and we are) absolutely right about that.

This is the smallest country in the world in terms of size, but also in terms of population. It has the status of sacred spiritual independence and is a sovereign entity with its own arrangement. The significance is religious because there is also the Basilica of St. Peter and the Sistine Chapel, but also the Vatican Museum where important works from the history of early Christianity are housed. Of course, the economy is also a special topic, as it is maintained by donations and the sale of religious souvenirs and publications, as well as by tickets to the sights. If you click here, you will be able to see the prices, and just know how you, as a tourist, can contribute to the country’s economy.

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Visiting the Vatican can be a truly unique experience, whether you belong to the Catholic Church yourself or are just interested in the tourist aspects of the country. What we cannot deny is that the artifacts and works there are of historical importance to the whole world, not just to Catholics or to any church.

Of course, before you go there, you need to know a few things:

1. The Vatican City is not in Italy

Although on the map it looks like it is in the territory of Italy and it is in fact so, in fact when you enter the Vatican you are no longer in Italy. It is true that according to any logical explanation it would be Italian territory, but still, it is not. The Vatican, as we said at the beginning, is the smallest sovereign state in the world, with a population of less than a thousand people. The country declared independence in 1929 and was part of Rome until then.

2. You can enter the country by public transport

Interesting, but if you want to visit the Vatican, you can go there by subway, train or bus. Tickets are sold in the most common places where you can buy tickets all over Italy. And of course, you do not need visas or additional entry documents for that.

3. You must respect the dress code

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Since this is a large religious center, it is expected that you must be as covered as possible with your clothes. For a visit to the Vatican, it is not decent to show and expose your cleavage, exposed shoulders, short skirts, and pants that reveal the whole legs and avoid wearing slippers and slippers on the feet. If you are warm, bring a larger scarf to cover yourself, especially if you are entering a religious building. Foods and objects that are heavy and potentially cold weapons are not allowed in museums and churches.

Some of the rules you need to follow:

-Cover your shoulders. Do not wear tank tops, halters, or even T-shirts if they reveal too much.

-The knees should also be covered. Women can wear skirts below the knees. If you wear pants, choose convertible models if you know you will be warm after that.

-Short dresses, neckline, nudity – absolutely forbidden.

-If you wear a hat, take it off when you enter a building.

4. Book your tickets early

There are long queues in museums and churches and there is a lot of waiting, because although it is a small country, it is too busy, especially in spring and summer, and sometimes this season lasts until late autumn. If you have already purchased tickets online, then you save a lot of time waiting in front of the ticket offices. Of course, they will be checked, but as experienced tourists, you will know that this way you will spend less time and you can plan more visits for that day.

5. Make a plan of what sights you want to visit

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The Vatican is much more than the Chapel of St. Peter and the Sistine Chapel. Definitely worth a look at the spiral staircase with a double helix as DNA, then Raphael’s Transfiguration, the great Vatican Museum, then the gallery of geographical maps, and so on.

The Vatican Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. He works once a month and on Sundays.

The Sistine Chapel is a must-see. The tours are led by experienced instructors, who will explain to you the code of conduct, but also about all the interesting things inside.

Of course, no visit to the Vatican would make sense if you did not visit St. Peter’s Basilica, but you must be prepared for long queues, as everyone wants to experience this piece of history and faith authentically.

6. There is an old cemetery under the Basilica of St. Peter

This is one of the most mystical parts of the Vatican. Many people do not know that when they walk through the Basilica, they are actually walking on an old cemetery. Many believe that there is also the tomb of St. Peter, which was crucified, but upside down.


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Religious centers have special rules of decency, and although the Vatican is the smallest country in the world, its significance is even greater than the size of the entire globe. Therefore, be prepared with knowledge, but also with enough information about decent behavior and how to shorten the long waits and have an unforgettable experience.

We hope that this article was helpful for you and that you completely understand the importance of this tiny country and its influence over the whole world.