Vatican City, in the heart of Rome, is full of awe-inspiring sights, from historic landmarks and artifacts to famed paintings and sculptures. While the Holy See, as it is also known, may be small in terms of size, there is so much within the walls of the city that it can be difficult to see everything in one day. Here are a few highlights of Vatican City that travelers should check out when their affordable travel plans include a trip to the Vatican.
St. Peter's Square
It's actually rather impossible to miss this destination, as visitors to Vatican City will find themselves standing in it the moment they enter the Holy See. Travelers can see St. Peter's Basilica as well as the Vatican Palace, which is the official residence of the Pope and is also called the Apostolic Palace and the Palace of Sixtus V. Large crowds gather in the square for the Papal Blessing, which is held on Wednesdays when the Pope is in Rome. In the center of the square, visitors will see a 4,000-year-old Egyptian obelisk standing tall as well.
St. Peter's Basilica
This massive cathedral was built on the spot where Saint Peter was buried thousands of years ago. The building that stands today was designed in part by famous artists Michelangelo and Rafael, according to Rome.info. Up to 22,000 people can fit inside the basilica, and the interior is covered from floor to ceiling with mosaics, paintings and sculptures including Michelangelo's "Pieta," making it a beautiful sight to behold.
There's no doubt that the Sistine Chapel is one of the highlights of a trip to the Holy See, and this church, with its famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo, is just a small part of the Vatican Museums network. Travelers can also see various collections of tapestries, mosaics, ceramics, sculptures and historical documents. The Chariot Room, for example, houses a marble statue of a chariot and two horses that was carved in the first century, A.D., according to The Vatican City State website. Visitors can explore paintings from the 12th through 14th century at the Pinacoteca, and see many other works and artifacts at other exhibitions in the Vatican Museums.
These are among the major sites of Vatican City, and they contain some of the most remarkable examples of art and culture in the world. Visitors who come to the Holy See may find it hard to see everything the Vatican has to offer during their senior group travel, but if they plan their escorted vacation in advance, they'll have the chance to visit the sights most important to them.