Top Ten Vatican City Attractions

Top Ten Vatican City Attractions

Vatican CitySt. Peters BasilicaVatican Museum2Saint Peter’s Square1

       Vatican City is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of just over 800. This makes Vatican City the smallest independent state in the world by both area and population. Vatican City was established in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri, on behalf of the Holy See and by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini on behalf of the Kingdom of Italy. Vatican City State is distinct from the Holy See, which dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of 1.2 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. In each case very few passports are issued. The Lateran Treaty in 1929, which brought the city-state into existence, spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756–1870) that had previously encompassed much of central Italy. Most of this territory was absorbed into the Kingdom of Italy in 1860, and the final portion, namely the city of Rome with Lazio, ten years later, in 1870. Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state, ruled by the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergymen of various national origins. It is the sovereign territory of the Holy See (Sancta Sedes) and the location of the Pope’s residence, referred to as the Apostolic Palace. The Popes have generally resided in the area that in 1929 became Vatican City since the return from Avignon in 1377, but have also at times resided in the Quirinal Palace in Rome and elsewhere. Previously, they resided in the Lateran Palace on the Caelian Hill on the far side of Rome from the Vatican. Emperor Constantine gave this site to Pope Miltiades in 313. The signing of the agreements that established the new state took place in the latter building, giving rise to the name of Lateran Pacts, by which they are known.

  1. St. Peters Basilica, Vatican City
    St. Peters BasilicaSt. Peters Basilica1St. Peters Basilica2St. Peters Basilica3St. Peters Basilica4St. Peters Basilica5St. Peters Basilica6St. Peters Basilica7St. Peters Basilica8St. Peters Basilica9
    The Papal Basilica of Saint Peter, officially known in Italian as Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano and commonly known as Saint Peter’s Basilica, is a Late Renaissance church located within the Vatican City. Saint Peter’s Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world. While it is neither the official mother church of the Roman Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Pope as Bishop of Rome, Saint Peter’s is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic sites. It has been described as “holding a unique position in the Christian world” and as “the greatest of all churches of Christendom.” In Roman Catholic tradition, the basilica is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and, according to tradition, the first Bishop of Rome and therefore first in the line of the papal succession. Tradition and some historical evidence hold that Saint Peter’s tomb is directly below the altar of the basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St. Peter’s since the Early Christian period. There has been a church on this site since the 4th century. Construction of the present basilica, over the old Constantinian basilica, began on April 18, 1506 and was completed on November 18, 1626. St. Peter’s is famous as a place of pilgrimage, for its liturgical functions and for its historical associations. It is associated with the papacy, with the Counter-reformation and with numerous artists, most significantly Michelangelo. As a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age. Contrary to popular misconception, Saint Peter’s is not a cathedral, as it is not the seat of a bishop. It is properly termed a papal basilica. The Archbasilica of St. John Lateran is the cathedral church of Rome.
    Links: Top Ten PilgrimagesSculptures, Top Ten Basilicas, Top Ten Tombs, Top Ten Thrones, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Peter%27s_Basilica,
  2. Vatican Secret Archives
    Vatican Secret ArchivesVatican Secret Archives1Vatican Secret Archives2Vatican Secret Archives3Vatican Secret Archives4
    The Vatican Secret Archives (Latin: Archivum Secretum Vaticanum), located in Vatican City, is the central repository for all of the acts promulgated by the Holy See. The Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, having primal incumbency until death, owns the archives until the next appointed Papal successor. The archives also contain the state papers, correspondence, papal account books and many other documents which the church has accumulated over the centuries. In the 17th century, under the orders of Pope Paul V, the Secret Archives were separated from the Vatican Library, where scholars had some very limited access to them, and remained absolutely closed to outsiders until 1881, when Pope Leo XIII opened them to researchers, of whom now more than a thousand examine its documents each year. The use of the word “secret” in the title “Vatican Secret Archives” does not denote the modern meaning of confidentiality. Instead, it indicates that the archives are the Pope’s personal property, not belonging to those of any particular department of the Roman Curia or the Holy See. The word “secret” was generally used in this sense as also reflected in phrases such as “secret servants,” “secret cupbearer,” “secret carver,” much like an esteemed position of honor and regard comparable to a VIP.
    Links: Top Ten Libraries, Top Ten Ancient Libraries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_Secret_Archives,
  3. Vatican Museum
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    The Vatican Museums, Musei Vaticani, are located in Viale Vaticano, Rome, inside Vatican City. They are among the greatest museums in the world, since they display works from the immense collection built up by the Roman Catholic Church throughout the centuries. Pope Julius II founded the museums in the 16th century. The Sistine Chapel and the Stanze della Segnatura decorated by Raphael are on the visitor route through the Vatican Museums. They were visited by 4,310,083 people in 2007.
    Links: Museums and Galleries, Top Ten Italian Museums, Top 100 Italian Paintings, Top Ten Italian Painters, Top Ten Vatican Works of Art, http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Home.html,
  4. Vatican Library
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    The Vatican Library is the library of the Holy See, currently located in Vatican City. It is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. Formally established in 1475, though in fact much older, it has 75,000 codices from throughout history. From July 2007, the library had been temporarily closed to the public for rebuilding, and reopened in September 2010.
    Links: Top Ten Libraries, Top Ten Ancient Libraries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_library,
  5. Saint Peter’s Square
    St. Peters BasilicaSaint Peter’s Square1Saint Peter’s Square2
    Saint Peter’s Square is located directly in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, the papal enclave within Rome (the Piazza borders to the East the rione of Borgo).
    Links: Top Ten Squares, Top Ten Fountains, Top Ten Sculptures by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Peter%27s_Square,
  6. Belvedere Courtyard
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           The Cortile del Belvedere, the Belvedere Courtyard, designed by Donato Bramante from 1506 onwards, was a major architectural work of the High Renaissance at the Vatican Palace in Rome; its concept and details reverberating in courtyard design, formalized piazzas and garden plans throughout Western Europe for centuries. Conceived as a single enclosed space, the long Belvedere court connected the Vatican Palace with the Villa Belvedere in a series of terraces connected by stairs, and was contained on its sides by narrow wings. Bramante did not see the work completed, and before the end of the sixteenth century it had been irretrievably altered by a building across the court, dividing it into two separate courtyards.
    Links: The Pineal Gland, Sun Gazing, DMT and Om, Top 100 Symbols, Sculptures,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belvedere_Courtyard,
  7. Apostolic Palace
    Apostolic Palace
    The Apostolic Palace is the official residence of the Pope, which is located in Vatican City. It is also known as the Sacred Palace, the Papal Palace and the Palace of the Vatican. The Vatican itself refers to the building as the Palace of Sixtus V in honor of Pope Sixtus V.
    Links: Palaces, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostolic_Palace,
  8. Links: Top Ten Italian Attractions, Top Ten Popes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_City,

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