The Vatican City is one of the most unique tourist destinations in the world. Irrespective of the fact that the Vatican is one of the few states in the world completely included within the confines of a city (a city which, for that matter, is part of another country), we speak, after all, of a state which, in contrast with its modest geographical dimensions, has had a tremendous influence on the history of Europe and of Christendom.

It’s obvious the tourist magnetism of the Vatican lies precisely in its historical and cultural heritage. The institution of papacy had a lot to say not only in the foundation and the political evolution of the Vatican, but it also had a major influence on the cultural development of the entire continent, not to mention of Italy, of Rome and of its close surroundings. The popes have built palaces and villas, have founded institutions and museums, and have generally fueled the cultural development of Italy by acting as patrons of art and sponsoring the affirmation and the activity of plenty of artists, men of science, literates and the like (though they have also often acted against not only the rules of common sense, but against their proclaimed principles of spirituality, the case of the infamous Pope Borgia being the climax of all that has ever been rotten in this institution).

A history of the Vatican and of the papacy can hardly be rendered in few words, but what matters is in its achievements, as well as in its failures, the Vatican remains one of the most important city-states in the world. Hence, also by force of the huge historical and cultural patrimony, it is also one of the first-hand tourist destinations worldwide.

Also, it would be nothing but a tourist loss to make a vacation in Rome and to miss out a visit to the Vatican. Its museums, overpowering by the wealth of exhibits they shelter, and its lush gardens, its glorious Saint Peter’s Basilica (not to mention the churches and palaces owned by the Vatican, but located extraterritorially to the city), all these turn the Vatican into one of the must-visits of Rome in its own right, on a par with the epic Coliseum, with the Pantheon and with the impeccable Piazza Navona, just to list a few of Rome’s most iconic attractions.

Museums in Vatican: Vatican Museums

Gardens in Vatican: Vatican Gardens

Churches in Vatican: Saint Peter’s Basilica

Fountains in Vatican: Fontana della Pigna