The Holy See – Vatican City

No matter your feelings for the Catholic Church, a visit to the Vatican will provoke a sense of awe even in the most staunch of non-believers. The feeling that you get when you walk into this historic city is one of reverence with a bit of trepidation.

We were not there when the Pope was present, which was probably fortunate, as the crowds most likely would have been unbearable. As it was it was fairly crowded, but we were able to tour St. Peter's Basilica. This is another destination that it helps to find a guide that can give you a sense of the history of the place, including the fact that St. Peter is supposedly buried here. Also, you want to be sure to dress appropriately: no bare legs and no bare shoulders. You will get turned away so be as conservative as you can.

When there, the most obvious 'must see' is the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michelangelo in the early 1500's. This is the site of the Papal conclaves (where they decide the new Pope), so you can imagine the heated discussions that have occurred here in the past.

While you cannot go much further into the city than the Basilica, the Vatican, with its enormous and well documented past, has successfully brought itself up to the present. The website even has a link where you can investigate its Secret Archives, if you are so inclined.

There is so much that is impressive about the Vatican in works of art, architecture and historical significance that there is too much to list. If you are a fan of Michelangelo, you should know that his hand is felt all over the city, and if you do not know much about him, wow, you have got an exciting set of discoveries ahead of you.

Must See: I listed before that the obvious 'must see' was the Sistine Chapel. However, this did not impress me nearly as much as Michelangelo's Pieta. It is not hard to find, be sure to check it out.

Read previous post:
Almighty Rome

Let's face it, Rome is an historian's dream vacation. So much happened there that influenced our society that one could...

Close