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Vatican City State

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Vatican City
Vatican in its region.svg
Flag of the Vatican City.svg
Quick Facts
Capital Vatican City
Government Theocracy/elective absolute monarchy
Currency euro (EUR)
Area 0.44 sq km
Population 821 (July 2007 est.)
Language Latin (official), Italian (official)
Religion Roman Catholic (100% and official)
Electricity 230V/50Hz (European or Italian plug)
Country code +39
Internet TLD .va
Time Zone UTC +1

The Vatican City is the worlds smallest country which is surrounded by Italy.


Vatican City (Italian: Stato della Città del Vaticano) is an independent country, the temporal seat of the Pope, head of the worldwide Catholic Church; entirely surrounded by the city of Rome, in Italy, the Vatican is also the world's smallest country. Outside Vatican City itself, thirteen buildings in Rome and one at Castel Gandolfo (the Pope's summer residence) also enjoy extraterritorial rights. On March 13, 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected Pontiff and thus ruler of the Vatican, taking the name Francis.

Borgo is the fourteenth rione (ward) of Rome and is also the closest neighbourhood to the Vatican. Despite its historical, cultural and artistical importance, parts of it were razed in the 1930s in order to build the grandiose - and, arguably, ugly - via della Conciliazione. What remains today of the district is located in the area between the Tiber river, via di Porta Cavalleggeri, Vatican City, Castel Sant'Angelo and piazza del Risorgimento. The ward itself can be divided as follows:

  • Borgo S. Spirito is the area between via di Porta Cavalleggeri, the Tiber river and via della Conciliazione;
  • Borgo Pio lies between said boulevard and the Leonine Walls;
  • Borgo Vittorio is located on the other side of the walls, while the adjacent Borgo Angelico borders with piazza del Risorgimento (in the Prati district);
  • Borgo Sant'Angelo lies between Castel Sant'Angelo to the West and via della Conciliazione to the South.

The main streets in the ward are also called borghi (and not vie as in the rest of the city); generally speaking, the further you get from St. Peter's, the less touristy the neighbourhood becomes. Of course, always keep in mind that often it's not possible to escape completely the touristy hustle-and-bustle of the city centre.

Prati is the twenty-second, and last, rione of the city. An elegant district laid out in the late 19th century, it was designed to house (along with the Esquilino neighbourhood and the area around piazza della Repubblica) the civil servants of the newly-established Kingdom of Italy. Unlike the Esquilino - which housed the less wealthy among the State employees - the district was home to the city's rising burgeoisie, and it showed in 1912 when Prati was the first neighbourhood in city to be provided with electricity. Its most important squares are the recently renovated piazza Cavour and piazza del Risorgimento (near the Vatican Museums) while the main boulevard is via Cola di Rienzo, also one of Rome's most famous shopping streets.

The neighbourhood was built during a time of tensions between the Pope and the Italian state and therefore, city planners designed its street layout in such a way to make impossible for anyone to see St. Peter's dome from its wide and carefully planned streets. The district hosts, among the other things, a Waldensian church (on piazza Cavour).

With its 139 metres, Monte Mario is the highest rise in Rome; however, it's not part of the historical seven hills. From its summit, locally known as the Zodiaco (meaning "zodiac"), you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city. Between the hill's foot and Vatican City, there are two districts - Trionfale and Della Vittoria; both are relatively recent (early 1900s/1960s) and provide cheaper housing alternatives than Prati. The Trionfale neighbourhood is also home to a food market, located on via Andrea Doria.


The origin of the Papal States, which over the years have varied considerably in extent, may be traced back to AD 756 with the Donation of Pepin. However, the Popes were the de facto rulers of Rome and the surrounding province since the fall of the Roman Empire and the subsequent retreat of Byzantine power in Italy; the Popes, in their secular role, ruled parts of the central portion of the Italian peninsula for more than a thousand years until 1860, when most of the Papal States were seized by the newly-formed Kingdom of Italy. On September 20, 1870, the Papal States ceased to exist when Rome itself was annexed.

Disputes between a series of "prisoner" Popes and the Kingdom of Italy were resolved in 1929 by three Lateran Treaties which established the independent state of Vatican City, established its territorial extent and, among other things, granted Roman Catholicism special status in Italy.

In 1984, a concordat between the Holy See and the Italian Republic modified some of the earlier treaty provisions, including the primacy of Roman Catholicism as the Italian state religion.

The Pope is elected for life by the College of Cardinals. When the election was last held (March 13, 2013 - Pope Francis I), it attracted large crowds.

Present concerns of the Holy See include interreligious dialogue and reconciliation, and the application of Church doctrine in an era of rapid change and globalization. About a billion people worldwide profess the Catholic faith.

Holy See

It is widely believed that the Vatican City and the Holy See are one and the same, whereas in reality they are not. The Holy See dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of more than a billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe. Ordinances of Vatican City are published in Italian; official documents of the Holy See are issued mainly in Latin. The two entities have distinct passports: the Holy See, not being a country, issues only diplomatic and service passports whereas Vatican City State issues normal passports.


The Vatican sits on a low hill between 19 m and 75 m above sea level. With a boundary only 3.2 km around, the enclosed land area is smaller than some shopping malls; however, the buildings are far more historic and architecturally interesting. Note that, when talking about the country's terrain, most of it is part of the Vatican Gardens.


Although roughly 1,000 people live within Vatican City, many dignitaries, priests, nuns, guards, and 3,000 lay workers live outside the Vatican. Officially, there are about 800 citizens making it the smallest nation in demographic size on the globe. The Vatican even fields a soccer team composed of the Swiss Guard who hold dual citizenship.

Get in

Map of Vatican City borders and its surroundings.

Although not a member of either the European Union or the European Economic Area, the Vatican maintains an open border with Italy and is treated as part of the Schengen Area.

It's easy to get to the Vatican by taxi, bus, Metro (the adjacent Prati district is served by line A), tram or by foot from Rome (the closest neighbourhood on the other side of the Tiber being the area around piazza Navona). A beautiful experience can be get to St. Peter's by walking from piazza Venezia, along via del Plebiscito, corso Vittorio Emanuele II and then via della Conciliazione (or, if you want, from Termini walking along via Nazionale) in one of the closest approximation to the Washingtonian "National Mall" or the Parisian "Voie Imperiale" that Rome has to offer you (the other is via dei Fori Imperiali). Take Metro line A to the "Ottaviano - S. Pietro - Musei Vaticani" for the Museums and St. Peter's or tram #19 to piazza del Risorgimento.

From central Rome, the #64 bus goes right to the southern end of the Vatican... however, it's a favourite among pickpockets so guard your valuables!

Visitors and tourists are not permitted to drive inside the Vatican without specific permission, which is normally granted only to those who have business with some office in the Vatican.

Get around

With only 109 acres (44 hectares) within its walls, the Vatican is easily travelled by foot; however, most of this area is inaccessible to tourists. The most popular areas open to tourists are the St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums.

If you're heading up Monte Mario, wear comfortable shoes - it's quite a climb!


Latin enthusiasts rejoice! The Holy See holds Latin as its official language, and the able traveller is invited to check out the urban legend that you can indeed get by within the city only using the "dead" language. Italian, however, is the official language of Vatican City and remains the more useful of the two.

English is widely spoken here, as are most major languages of the world; this is the Vatican, a city for the world's Catholics and all who wish to see St. Peter's Basilica.


Swiss Guard

Swiss Guards

The Swiss Guard (Italian: Guardia Svizzera Pontificia; French: Garde Suisse Pontificale; German: Päpstliche Schweizergarde; Latin: Pontificia Cohors Helvetica) is tasked with protecting the Pontiff himself. They wear very colourful clothing, similar to the uniforms worn by Renaissance-era soldiers; winter palette of clothing differs from summer palette. Contrary to popular belief, Michelangelo did not design the Guards' uniforms - rather, they were created by one of the Guard's commanders, Jules Repond, in the 19th century. The Pontifical Swiss Guard is also the smallest and oldest standing army in the world, founded in 1506 by the "warrior Pope" Julius II (the same Pope who kick-started the construction of this 'new' basilica and making Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel). The origins of the Swiss guards, however, go much further; the Popes, as well as a lot of European rulers, regularly employed Swiss mercenaries since the 15th century. Said Swiss mercenaries were a major "export" of Switzerland (before they decided in 1515 not to be involved in military conflicts anymore) and turned particularly useful during the Sack of Rome of 1527.

St. Peter's Basilica

Dome of St. Peter's basilica in Vatican City

The centre of the Catholic world, this magnificent basilica with its dome (designed by Michelangelo) has an awe-inspiring interior. This place is huge, but everything is in such proportion that the scale escapes you. To give you a comparison, you can fit the Statue of Liberty, statue and pedestal (height from ground of pedestal to torch: 93m), underneath the dome (interior height of 120m from floor to top of dome) with room to spare.

To get in, you will first go through a metal detector (after all, this is an important building). Don't be put off if there is a long line in front of the detectors; the whole thing moves quickly. The line is usually shorter in the morning and during mid week.

Baldacchino and the dome, St. Peter's basilica

Aside from going inside, you can take an elevator up to the roof and then make a long climb up 323 steps to the top of the dome for a spectacular view. It costs €8 for the elevator (€6 to climb the stairs) and allow an hour to go up and down. During the climb and before reaching the very top, you will find yourself standing on the inside of the dome, looking down into the basilica itself. Be warned that there are a lot of stairs so it is not for the faint at heart (literally or figuratively) nor the claustrophobic as the very last section of the ascent is through a little more than shoulder-width spiral staircase. Instead of leaving out the doors you came in, go down into the crypt to see the tomb of Pope John Paul II, the crypt leaves out the front.

Note: a strict dress code is enforced (as in many other places of worship), so have your shoulders covered, wear trousers or a not-too-short dress, and men must take your hats off (which is the custom in churches in Europe. You might be required to check bags at the entrance. Photos are allowed to be taken inside, but not with a flash. The lack of light will probably cause your pictures not to turn out very well, so you may want to buy a few postcards to keep as souvenirs.

The basilica is open Apr-Sep 07:00-19:00 daily and Oct-Mar 07:00-18:00; closed W mornings for papal audiences.

Daily masses M-Sa 08:30, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, and 17:00, and Su and holidays at 08:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:10, 13:00, 16:00, and 17:30.

Free 90 minute tours leave daily from the Tourist Information at 2:15PM, many days also at 3PM. Telephone: 06-6988-1662. €5 audio-guides can be rented from the checkroom.

Tours are the only way to see the Vatican Gardens, €12, book at least a day in advance by calling 06-6988-4676, Tu,Th, & Sa at 10:00, depart from tour desk and finish in St. Peter's square. To tour the Necropolis and the Saint's Tomb, call the excavations office at least a week in advance at 06-6988-5318, or email at [email protected] - €13 for 2-hour tour, office open M-Sa 09:00-17:00.

If you want to see the Pope, you can either see a usual blessing from his apartment at noon on Sunday, just show up (however, in the summer he gives it from his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, 40 km/25 mi from Rome) or you can go to the more formal Wednesday appearance. The pope arrives in the popemobile at 10:30 to bless crowds from a balcony or platform, except in winter, when he speaks in the Aula Paolo VI auditorium next to the square. You can easily watch from a distance or get a free ticket, which you must get on the Tuesday before. There are a number of ways:

Interior of St. Peter's basilica
  • Your hotelier may be able to book one for you
  • You could wait in a long line at St. Peter's on Tuesday where the Swiss Guards hand out tickets at their post to the right of the basilica, after 12:00 on Tuesday
  • You can contact the S. Susanna parish in order to get a ticket, which you can pick up there on Tuesday between 17:00 & 18:45, on via XX Settembre (Metro line A, stop: "Repubblica"). Call 06-4201-4554, or go to [42]
  • Finally, if you want to book a free spot in the square or in the auditorium, call 06-6988-4631

Note that the Pope may occasionally be away on a state visit, however.

St. Peter's square

St. Peter's

St. Peter's square is, actually, an ellipse. There are two stones (one on each side of the square) between the obelisk and the fountains. If you step on either of these stones, the four columns on the colonnades merge into one.

The fountains were designed by two different architects, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

The obelisk in the middle of the square was transported from Egypt to Rome in 37 C.E. by the Emperor Caligula to mark the spine of a circus eventually completed by Nero. The so-called Circus of Nero was parallel to and to the south of the east-west axis of the current basilica. It was in this circus that St. Peter was crucified in the first official persecutions of Christians undertaken by Nero beginning in 64 C.E. and continuing until his death in 67 C.E. The original location of the obelisk is marked with a plaque located near the sacristy on the south side of the basilica, where it remained until it was moved in 1586 C.E. by Pope Sixtus V to its present location.

During the Middle Ages, the bronze ball on top of the obelisk was believed to contain the ashes of Julius Caesar. When it was relocated to the present reliquary, the Chigi Star in honour of Pope Alexander VII was added, containing pieces of the True Cross. This is the only obelisk in Rome that never toppled since it was placed in ancient Rome and is the second largest Egyptian obelisk after the Lateran obelisk. This celebrated obelisk nearly shattered while it was being moved. Upon orders of the pope, no one was to speak a word otherwise he would be excommunicated. However, a sailor shouted to water the ropes to prevent them from burning. He was forgiven and in gratitude for saving the day, the palms for Palm Sunday still come from the sailor's home town of Bordighera. The moving of this obelisk was celebrated in engravings during its time to commemorate the Renaissance's recovery and mastery of ancient knowledge.

The Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museums, [1]. M-Sa 09:00-18:00 (last tickets at 16:00). Closed Su except last Su of the mo; when it is free, crowded, and open 09:00-14:00. The museum is closed for holidays on: 1 1 & 6 Jan, 11 Feb, 19 Mar, 4 & 5 Apr, 1 May , 29 Jun, 14 & 15 Aug, 1 Nov, and 8, 25 & 26 Dec. One of the greatest art galleries in the world, the museum is most famous for its spiral staircase, the Raphael Rooms and the exquisitely decorated Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo's frescoes. It's organised in such a way that the visitor has to follow a one-way route; do see it! Don't put it off, because it closes before the rest of the museum does! €17, Concessions €8.

Double Spiral Staircase, exit of Vatican Museum

You can get to the Vatican Museums by taking Metro line A (direction: "Battistini") and getting off at the "Ottaviano - S.Pietro - Musei Vaticani" or "Cipro" stops (10 minutes walk). Bus #49 stops in front of the museum entrance, buses #32, #81 and #982, along with tram line #19, stop on piazza del Risorgimento (5 minutes walk); buses #492 and #990 stop at via Leone IV and via degli Scipioni, respectively (5 minutes walk).

The Museums are, usually, most crowded on Sat, M, the last Sun of the month it's Free, rainy days, and the days before or after a holiday. Dress code: no short shorts or bare shoulders. Telephone: +39 06 69884947. There are often lengthy queues from the entrance that stretch around the block in the early morning. Non-guided visitors should join the queue that is to the left as you are facing the entrance; the queue on the right is intended for guided group visitors. Always check if there is actually a queue before getting a guide on the street to skip it, many guides will tell you that there is a huge queue ahead even when there is none or a short one. Two hour English tours cost €33 and includes museum admission, and leave at 10:30, 12:00, 14:00 in summer, 10:30 and 11:15 in winter. To reserve, book online [43]. Other contact details: for groups [email protected], for individuals: [email protected], tel. + 39 06 69883145 or +39 06 69884676, fax + 39 06 69873250.

With a booking you skip the queue and enter through the exit, next to entry, to go to the guided tours desk. There are also audio-guides available from the top of the escalator/ramp for €7. Two people to share a single unit plugging in a standard set of earphones.

You can book on-line for admission only (no tour) for an extra €4pp and still skip the queue.

Accessing the Sistine Chapel requires walking through many other (spectacular) halls and buildings (including the Raphael's Rooms) and it takes about an hour, but if you are confined to a wheelchair or travelling with a baby pram or stroller you can use the lifts and go straight to the Sistine Chapel. It takes 5-10 minutes unless you stop along the long corridor. Note that although the Museum is quite large, no free map is available (only a simple leaflet with the order of the rooms) - you must bring your own, or purchase a guidebook in the shop for €10 or more.

Also, be aware that it is not allowed to take pictures or to talk loudly in the Sistine Chapel (although everybody flagrantly violates these rules). While one may agree with this policy or not, the visit would be a much more pleasant one without the guards having to yell out "Shh!" or: "No foto e no video!" every two minutes. The bottom line is: respect the rules and let every visitor enjoy the best of the experience, even if no one else does. If you try to sneak a picture (again, like everyone does), you'll get a bad photograph and a screaming guard as your reward. You may even be kicked out and forced to delete the pictures if you are taking them too boldly.


  • Castel Sant'Angelo, [2]. 09:00-19.00, last entry at 18:30, closed Ms. Perhaps the most fascinating building in Rome. The core of the structure began life as the mausoleum of the Emperor Hadrian, built between 135 and 139 AD. Subsequent strongholds were built on top of the mausoleum during the Middle Ages and were in turn incorporated into a residence and castle by the Popes. The building was used as a prison until 1870, but now houses a museum. Opera buffs will be exhilarated to visit the balcony from which Tosca leaps to her death; film buffs will recognise as a setting from Angels and Demons. €8.5, with reductions. Roma Pass accepted.
  • Palazzo di Giustizia (Palace of Justice), piazza Cavour ("buses). Designed by architect Guglielmo Calderini and built from 1889 to 1911 in order to house the Corte di Cassazione (the Italian equivalent of the Supreme Court), this imposing neo-Renaissance palace underwent extensive restoration in 1970, when its foundations nearly sunk into the alluvial terrain. Another partial restoration followed in 1984. The adjoining piazza Cavour was laid out by architect Nicodemo Severi in 1885, and a sculpture by Stefano Galletti celebrating Count Camillo Benso di Cavour (the éminence grise behind the Italian Unification) lies at the centre of the gardens. The square itself has been refurbished following the construction of an underground parking lot in 2012. .


The two main entrances to Vatican City for tourists are A) the Vatican Museums, accessible from viale Vaticano on the northern side of the city state and B) St. Peter's basilica, on the southeastern side of the city and accessible from via della Conciliazione. The basilica is open usually from 07:00-19:00. The Vatican Museums is open to the public M-Sa 09:00-16:00. Visitors can stay inside until 18:00. The Vatican Museums are closed on Su except for the last Su of each month when it is open from 09:00-12:30. Visitors can stay inside until 14:00. Take note that this day is usually extremely busy so it is preferable to visit another day if you are able to afford it.

While guidebooks do their best to provide an aid for viewing the collections inside the Vatican, a guided tour is a far better way to make sure you get the most out of your visit.

If you are into photography, the St. Peter's square is perhaps very a irritating location because of always being full of people, barricades, security and speakers and lights hanging from places. Even on weekdays when it is raining, the area is just very crowded. Do not have high hopes of getting a nice natural picture in the Vatican.

Vatican Tours

Guided tours are provided by the Vatican itself for €32. Tours can be booked, 60 days before the requested tour date, here: [44]. Guided tours are also offered by several other companies.

List of Companies offering Vatican Tours:

EcoArt Travel - Small group Vatican tours offered in the Morning, afternoon and during night openings in summer. Morning tours include breakfast inside the Vatican Museums. View their direct website here: [45]

  • STPETERSBASILICAWHEELCHAIR - Wheelchairs for rent in Rome, Via Sebastiano Veniero, 21 (Rome), +39 3348898387 (), [3]. Mon-Sat: 08:00 - 17:30, Sun: 10:00 - 16:00. Wheelchair Friendly Vatican tours for people with reduced mobility or disability, as well rental of wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and more aids equipments. “€15".


ATM in Latin language

The Vatican has a unique, noncommercial economy that is supported financially by contributions (known as Peter's Pence) from Roman Catholics throughout the world. It also sells postage stamps, tourist mementos, and publications. Fees for admission to museums also go into church coffers.

Vatican City State has the euro (€) as its sole currency along with 24 other countries that use this common European money. These 24 countries are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain (official euro members which are all European Union member states) as well as Andorra, Kosovo, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino and the Vatican which use it without having a say in eurozone affairs and without being European Union members. Together, these countries have a population of more than 330 million.

One euro is divided into 100 cents. While each official euro member (as well as Monaco, San Marino and Vatican) issues its own coins with a unique obverse, the reverse, as well as all bank notes, look the same throughout the eurozone. Every coin is legal tender in any of the eurozone countries.

The Vatican euro is the rarest in circulation among the European countries, so don't spend it! It is worth a lot more than its face value. The Vatican is also the only country in the world where ATM instructions are available in Latin.


The Vatican Museums have a reasonable cafeteria-style restaurant, a bar and a pizzeria - all of which are open during museum opening hours and until about one hour after closing. Furthermore, the Vatican Apostolic Library and Vatican Secret Archives, which are only open to admitted researchers and Vatican staff, share a courtyard that has access to an Italian-style bar with cafe fare and a limited selection of alcoholic beverages. See also Rome.

Numerous other eateries are just outside the walls of Vatican City.

  • Hoi Restaurant Rome, via Tunisi 1/B (at the corner with via Sebastiano Veniero) [46]. Telephone + 39 06 90270954 • Cell. +39 06 68309439. A high quality restaurant located in front of the Vatican Museums. Fresh fish, sushi, crustacean food and much more.
  • Old Bridge. Located across the street from the Leonine walls, near the Vatican Museums. Very cheap
  • Pastasciutta, Via Delle Grazie, 5 (100m from St. Peter's Basilica square), 3336503758, [4]. 6 types of fresh pasta (pasta fresca). Cheap, 4.5-6 eur.
  • The Loft, Via Leone IV 34 (Metro A Ottaviano stop, 2 blocks up Via Cesare, on corner), 3470045169. morning -night. excellent authentic cuisine, owners & staff make one feel at home


  • Siciliainbocca, via Emilio Faà di Bruno, 26 ("Metro), 06 373 584 00, [5]. nice Sicilian restaurant in the quiet (and somewhat boring) part of northern Prati. Try the swordfish and the lemon sorbet! reasonable. Fish plate around €15, but do order some antipasti and pasta.
  • Insalata Ricca, via Fulcieri Paulucci de' Calboli (near piazza Mazzini), [6]. Part of a Rome-based chain, offers good salads and other food to both tourists and locals. Cheap.
  • Gelarmony, via Marcantonio Colonna, 34 (Metro line A, "Lepanto" stop). One of the best gelaterie in city, a favourite among locals.
  • Castroni, via Cola di Rienzo, 196/198. A shop with a huge selection of foods from all over Europe. It's pricey, but it's worth it.
  • Franchi, via Cola di Rienzo, 200. Another shop with an impressive assortment of cheeses and cold cuts; dishes for a quick bite are also available.


Coffee (caffè) in the morning, mineral water for lunch - either gassata/frizzante (sparkling) or liscia (plain mineral water) - and try to find rosé wine in the evening: it goes very well with all Italian dishes, and keeps one and one's company fresh and summery. Care and solid experience is advised when arriving from colder climates, to absorb the many new, ever so pleasant, environments and tastes, and the delicates of balancing wine and water, with creamy sauces and vinegars.


Unless you count the Pope as a good friend (and he concurs), there are no lodging opportunities in the Vatican City itself. However, there are many hotels in the surrounding neighbourhoods of Rome.


  • Angel Hotel, via Marianna Dionigi, 16, [7]. Two-star Hotel near Castel Sant'Angelo with easy access to public transport.
  • Armony Suites B&B, via Orazio, 3, +39 6 97841129 (, fax: +39 6 97841129), [8]. Elegant bed and breakfast. Recently refurbished, has six rooms, all with private bathroom and super-equipped with every comfort. From €80. (41.90846,,12.46590)
  • B&B Eldorado, via Fabio Massimo, 72, +39 329 0707988, [9]. Bed and Breakfast with 5 double bedrooms. Three rooms with private bathroom, two with a shared one. Double €50/100 (Breakfast included. Rates change according to the season).
  • Best BB, via Francesco Sivori, 14 (a few metres from the Vatican Museums), +39 3894330366 (), [10]. The entire bed & breakfast is inspired by the world of video games and in particular the 8-bit world. From €25.
  • Casa Frida, via Angelo Emo, 97, +39 339 2768290 (), [11]. Holiday House next to the Vatican and the Metro Line A. From €70 per room.
  • Guest House Chester Suites Rome – Via Cola di Rienzo, 265 - 00192 Rome, Italy [47]. Telefono +39 320 655 6797 • Only five rooms with all the services necessary. Private bathroom with hydro massage shower, air conditioning, TV, and wi-fi and breakfast included. Rates: Single N/A; Double €104-€152.
  • Excel St. Peter Hotel, via Catone, 34, +39 06 39735082 (fax: +39 6 39754358), [12]. With single, twin, double, triple and quadruple rooms. All with private bath, shower, internet access, TV and telephone. Singles €32, double €39.
  • Hotel Colors, via Boezio, 31, + 39 6 6874030 (fax: + 39 6 6867947), [13]. Seven dorms and wide selection of bedrooms with private showers, TV and a shared kitchen for this two star accommodation placed next to the Vatican City and the St. Peter's, able to host any kind of clientele, either family and young travelers.
  • LtRooms, via Umberto Moricca, 5 (a few steps from the Baldo degli Ubaldi stop of Metro line A), +39 338 4280189 (), [14]. From €50.
  • Maison Vaticana, via Ottaviano, 42, +39 6 39728070 (fax: +39 6 233249447), [15]. Comfortable bed and breakfast with single, double, triple and quadruple guestrooms with private bathroom, wi-fi connection, satellite TV and tea and coffee facilities. Double bedrooms €85.
  • Oasi Verde a San Pietro, Via Ormisda 10/a - Roma 00165, +39 06.39388499 (), [16]. L'Oasi Verde a San Pietro B&B offers rooms in Rome, a 15-minute walk from Saint Peter’s Square. It features a garden and free Wi-Fi throughout. Double bedrooms min 50€ max 110€.
  • The Bridge Suites Rome - Via Magenta, 39 - Cap 00185 Rome. Phone +39 320 6556797 • Mobile +39 320 6556797 4251. [48]. Single, double, triple and family rooms with private en-suites bath, shower, TV, air conditioning, free Wi-Fi and breakfast included. Single room: Euros 42. Double: Euros 46.
  • Vatican Station Rome, via Vito Artale, 6, + 39 6 45664168 (), [17]. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 10:00. Fast Internet Wi-fi and Breakfast included. In addition to its proximity to the Metro A (300 m), also very close to the bus stop (50 m) where it is possible to take several bus lines (913, 990). All the rooms are air conditioned, paved in marble, have a comfortable bed queen-size with latex mattress and a separate private bathroom equipped with: big shower, hairdryer, towels and soap set. From €50.
  • Vatican Santamaura 39, via Santamaura, 39, +39 0687768950 (), [18]. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 10:00. Holiday house in central Rome with fast Internet Wi-Fi, flat Tv and use of kitchen. The accommodation is located beside the Vatican Museums and at m. 300 far from the Metro A - Ottaviano. From €50.

Mid range

  • Amor Bed & Breakfast, viale Giulio Cesare, 183, +39 335 5689388 (), [19]. checkin: 12:00; checkout: 11:00. A stylish bed & breakfast near the Vatican City. Single €76-95; Double €86-€130.
  • Atlante Star Hotel Rome, Via G. Vitelleschi, 34 - 00193 Rome, Italy, +39 06 687 3233 (fax: +39 06 6872300), [20]. Four star hotel with rooftop terrace restaurant overlooking St. Peter's. Breakfast and wi-fi included. Single €108-€250; Double €143-€265.
  • B&B Gli Artisti, via degli Scipioni, 53, +39 3382078356, [21]. Three colourful rooms are rented out in this B&B, a little less than a kilometre from the main entrance to the Vatican. From €64.
  • B&B Flaminia House, via Flaminia Vecchia, 484, +39 6 99344539 (+39 392 9459587, ), [22]. checkin: 16:00; checkout: 13:00. A family run B&B with all the amenities of a modern hotel. Next to Ponte Milvio and the Vatican City. From €40/person.
  • B&B Sistine, via Duilio, 6, +39 3358714840, [23]. New B&B, rooms comes with sat tv, dvd player and free wifi From €120 pp.
  • Best Vatican, via degli Scipioni 135, +39 3358714840, [24]. New, modern B&B. Private bathrooms, LCD TVs with DVD players. From €120/person.
  • Colonnna 18 Gust House Rome – Via Vittoria Colonna 18 - 00193 Rome, Italy [49] Telephone +39 380 1313465 • Nineteen bedrooms and suites with private en-suites bathroom, shower, free Wi-Fi and complimentary breakfast. Double and twins bedrooms from Euros 160.
  • Domus Quiritum B&B, via Duilio, 7 ("500), +39 338 2996291 (), [25]. Lovely and Friendly B&B. €80/140.
  • Filomena e Francesca B&B (F&F), via della Giuliana, 72, +39 6 37513625 (), [26]. Bed and Breakfast. Three rooms with private bathrooms and an air-conditioning system. From €40/person. (41.9146552,12.4538794)
  • Franklin Feel The Sound Hotel, via Rodi, 29, +39 6 39030165 (, fax: +39 6 39751652), [27]. Hotel with a unique music theme. The decor is very modern and stylish. Staff was helpful friendly and polite, continental breakfast is varied and plentiful. The rooms are clean, funky and very comfortable. €119-189.
  • Grand Hotel Gianicolo, viale delle Mura Gianicolensi, 107, +39 6 58333405 (fax: +39 6 58179434), [28]. Four-star accommodation with twin, double with jacuzzi, triple and dus (double for single use). All with private bath and shower. Swimming pool, a private garden and a fantastic panoramic view of Rome. Single €140, double €170.
  • Hotel Alimandi Tunisi, via Tunisi, 8, +39 6 39723941, [29]. Nice three star hotel, 35 bedrooms with air conditioning and free Wi-Fi, large common area, complimentary breakfast, and terrace with panoramic view of the Roman roofs. From €140.
  • Hotel Joli, via Cola di Rienzo, 243, +39 6 324 1854 (fax: +39 6 36006637), [30]. Two star accommodation located around the Vatican area with 17 bedrooms dived in single, double, triple and family. Most of the rooms have private bath. Breakfast included. Singles €99, doubles €109.
  • Leone B&B, via Leone IV, 109 ("Less), +39 338 6112656 (, fax: +39 6 3203663), [31]. Located one block from the entrance to Vatican City, this independent bed and breakfast is clean and cozy. Free breakfast. €70/90.
  • Little Aurelius Guest House Rome – Via Cicerone, 24 - 00193 Rome, Italy. [50] • Telephone +39 06 6624500 • Fax +39 06 62202701. Guest House with breakfast included, where you can have 7 double or twin bedrooms with private bathroom, shower, satellite TV, air conditioning and Wi-Fi access included in the room price. Standard doubleroom: Euros 168. Superior: Euros 178.
  • Mocenigo Vatican Suites, via Mocenigo, 16, +39 3383823606 (), [32]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 10:00. Opened in February 2009, this seven room guest house is only 100 m from the main entrance to the Vatican Museums. From €75.
  • Hotel Pacific Rome – Viale Medaglie d'Oro, 51, 00136, Rome, Italy. [51]. Telephone +39 06 39732085 • Fax +39 06 39732072. This hotel presents single, double, twin and triple rooms with private bath, shower, free Wi-Fi, satellite TV and breakfast included. Starting from 55 euros for a single up to 110 for a triple.
  • Hotel Franklin Feel the Sound Rome - Via Rodi 29 - 00195 Rome, Italy [52]. Telephone +39 06 3903 0165 • Fax +39 06 3975 1652. Bedrooms and decor with music theme, private bath, free wi-fi and breakfast included. Rates: Single €76-95; Double €86-€130.
  • La Dimora dei Sogni B&B Rome - Via Premuda, 3, 00198 Rome, Italy. [53] • Telephone +39 333.5882988. Rooms with LCD TV, air conditioning, heating, orthopedic mattresses, desk, chair, mirror, closet, bed linen and towels. Breakfast is included. Also available rooms with private bath. Rates: Double rooms Euros 70, Triple Euros 80.
  • Papa Vista Relais, via Tunisi, 3, +39 6 65420553, [33]. Recently opened guesthouse fairly close to the Vatican's main entrance, near the Metro station Cipro. From €80.
  • Prati BB, via degli Scipioni, 135, +39 6 3211329 (), [34]. A small Bed and Breakfast offering two rooms with private bathrooms and air-conditioning. From €45/person.
  • Ralph and Malph B&B, via Attilio Regolo, 12d, +39 6 97619435 (). Set in a modern apartment and 5-min walk away from the Vatican City. Single, Double, Triple rooms available. Three bathrooms and kitchen. Free WiFi. Minutes away from Lepanto Metro station. From €45. (41.90906,12.46483)
  • Rental Point, via Vespasiano, 24, +39 3401479011 (), [35]. A selected choice of apartments in city centre. From €150. (41.907072,,12.456699)
  • Residenza dei Gracchi, via dei Gracchi, 84, +39 6 320 8226, [36]. Cosy guest house with single, double and family rooms. All with Wi-Fi, flat TV, private bath, shower, air conditioning and cleaning services. Double room from €80-180.
  • Rinascimento Hotel Rome – Via del Pellegrino, 122, 00186 Rome, Italy. [54] • Telephone + 39 06.675191 • Fax +39 06.6794496. Bedrooms and suites with private bath, shower, living room, satellite flat TV, Wi-Fi and telephone. Double rooms: 120 Euros. Single: 87 Euros. Breakfast included.
  • St. Peter's Six Temporary Room, via della Conciliazione, 15 (100 m from St. Peter's square), +39 6 68809883 (), [37]. comfortable and friendly guest house. €80/190.
  • Silla Hotel, via Silla, 3, +39 6 3721922 (fax: +39 6 3721922), [38]. Two-star hotel with single, double, triple and quadruple rooms. All with en-suite private bath, shower, telephone and TV. Air conditioning and breakfast are available for a little supplement. The prices change according to the season. Single from €70-110, double from €85-150, triple from €120-175, quadruple from €140-200.


  • Alimandi Vaticano Rome – Viale Vaticano, 99, 00165 Roma, Italy [55] Telephone +39 06 397 45562 • Fax +39 06 397 60569. Suites and bedrooms with private bath, shower, free Wi-Fi, TV and breakfast included. Double: E. 120, Triple: 200.
  • B&B Maison Candia, via Candia, 20, +39 6 39745693, [39]. A luxury guest house near the Vatican Museums.
  • Best Western Spring House, via Mocenigo, 7, +39 6 39720948 (, fax: +39 6 39721047), [40]. A small 3 star hotel. The rooms, a bit small, are comfortable and quiet. Great breakfast, wonderful service (maids and reception). The hotel staff speaks pretty good English. €120-240.

Stay safe

Although there is little crime in the Vatican, pickpockets and scammers from the surrounding city do sneak in so be careful how you hold your money on you and be wary of a deal that seems too good to be true (especially since many items these people bring are cheap and possibly dangerous product rip-offs that are illegal to buy). Possession of these illegal rip-offs or stolen products may earn you a fine.

Homosexuality, although legal, is a hot topic in the Roman Catholic Church. Vatican City sees homosexuality as a sin and no public accommodations are LGBT friendly. Attacks may rarely occur and police may be complicit or unsympathetic. LBGT are encouraged to keep their sexuality private.

The Vatican is conservative in what they want you to wear, so if you visit a church there, make sure your clothing covers as much skin as it can, particularly your legs. Wearing skimpy outfits along with being condemned by people around you will limit what places you can gain entry to.


Mail a letter. Since Vatican City is a separate country it also has its own postal system; send a postcard to your friends and it will be postmarked from Vatican City.


Respect and reverence to the Roman Catholic Church and its practices and doctrine is encouraged.

Those who aren't Catholic and are openly declaring it by blatantly attacking the Church's views and beliefs might be treated as less than an equal. Try to keep your beliefs to yourself and avoid debating over them.

Sleeveless shirts and short pants or skirts are not permitted within the border of the Vatican. This is rarely enforced, but you will be refused entry to the Basilica and museum (or anywhere else with a security check).Create category

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