Vatican City, is a landlocked enclave within the city of Rome in Italy and is the smalled independent state in the world. Established in 1929, Vatican City is ruled by the Bishop of Rome, the Pope,with the official residence being referred to as the Apostolic Palace. The Palace is home of the Vatican Library and the Vatican Museum. Vatican City issues its own currency and is entirely supported by the donations (Peters Pence) from Catholics throughout the world, the sale of postage stamps, souvenirs and admissions fees to the museum.
Vatican City is rich in religion, culture and history. St. Peters Basilica and the Sistine Chapel are located here and are home to art work by Michaelangelo, Botticelli, Bernini and Raphael. By 1984, Vatican City has been listed as a World Heritage Sites and is the only one to comprise and entire state.
Vatican City is a very popular tourist destination for those in hope of seeing the Pope. Some tourists make this pilgrimage in honor of celebrating a holiday mass with the Pope. However, there are also other tourist attractions that draw people to Vatican City.
The Basilica of St. Peter, honors a special position as one of the holiest places in the world. It is said that this is the burial place of St. Peter, who was one of twelve apostles of Christ. The Basilica is one of the most popular churches in Rome, however it is not the first in rank. Construction of the Basilica began in 1506 and was completed in 1626. The Basilica is considered to be an architectural wonder, and one of the greatest buildings of its time period.
Directly in front of the Basilica of St. Peter, is St. Peters Square. The space was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, between 1665 to 1667. The main purpose of the square was so that the Pope could see and give his blessings to a large group of people at one time. Today, St. Peters Square can be accessed by the Ponte Sant'Angelo bridge from Rome and is still the common place where travelers will gather to watch the Pope speak and hold mass from the church facade.
Throughout the centuries the Catholic Church has preserved and collected art, today this art is located inside the Vatican Museum. The Vatican Museum is located in Viale Vaticano, inside the walls of Vatican City. It is home to works by great arts such as Michaelangelo, Raphael, Giotto, and Fra Angelico. By the end of 2007, some 4.7 million people had visited the Vatican Museum.
Perhaps Vatican City is best known for its most famous sites of all, The Sistine Chapel. It is representational of fresco art done during this time period by Michaelangelo, Bernini, Raphael and Sandro Botticelli. The chapel ceiling was painted between 1508 and 1512, and is regarded by many to be best best work ever done by Michaelangelo.
Since there are no hotels located within the walls of Vatican City, tourists must stay in Rome. There are several accommodations that are situated in the heart of Rome and located within walking distance of Vatican City. The Hotel Atlante Star, is a four-star hotel, is within a two-blocks of Vatican City, St. Angels Castle and Navona Square. There are plenty of landmarks, restaurants and shopping in this area as well. The Hotel Anfiteatro, is a small bed-and-breakfast located closely to the Coliseum, Via Nazionale, Piazza di Spanga, Via del Tritone and several other tourist hot spots. The climate of Vatican City makes it an ideal tourist attraction during the months of June through September.