changed AD to CE
Perhaps the '''Vatican''' needs no introduction. As the centre of the
Roman Catholic Church, the '''Vatican City''' state - along with the surrounding Italian districts of '''Borgo''', '''Prati''' and the area around the '''Monte Mario''' - is filled with more history and artwork than most cities in the world.
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,
€10 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:
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
A. D. 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 A. D. and continuing until his death in 67 A. D. 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 A. D. 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===
<see name="The Vatican Museums" alt="" address="" directions="" phone="" url="http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Home.html" hours="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" price="
€16, Concessions €8" lat="" long="" email="" fax="">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!</see>
[[Image:Vatican Museum.JPG|thumb|right|250px|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
Sa, M, the last Su of the mo, 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 €31 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 [http://biglietteriamusei.vatican.va/musei/tickets/do]. 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.
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: [https://www.ecoarttravel.com/vatican-tours/]
* <sleep name="Angel Hotel" alt="" address="via Marianna Dionigi, 16" directions="" phone="" lat="" long="" tollfree="" email="" fax="" url="http://www.angelhotelroma.it/en/" checkin="" checkout="" price="">Two-star Hotel near Castel Sant'Angelo with easy access to public transport.</sleep>
*<sleep name="Armony Suites B&B" alt="" address="via Orazio, 3" directions="" phone="+39 6 97841129" url="http://www.romearmonysuites.com/" checkin="" checkout="" price="From €80" lat="41.90846," long="12.46590" email="[email protected]mearmonysuites.com" fax="+39 6 97841129">Elegant bed and breakfast. Recently refurbished, has six rooms, all with private bathroom and super-equipped with every comfort.</sleep>
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'' .