Encircled by Rome, Vatican City is the world’s tiniest country, created by the Lateran Treaty in 1929. Previously this 44 hectare (110 acre) bit of real estate was part of the 1100-year-old Papal States. Vatican City’s tiny size does not reflect its dominant power over the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. Its collection of art, sculpture and historical documents is beyond comparison. Plus it’s the only place you can find ATM instructions in Latin! All 1000 citizens are Catholic; only 30 citizens are female; all functionaries are clergy; the sale of postage stamps, coins, museum admissions and souvenirs funds the treasury – don’t confuse Vatican City with the wealthy Holy See!
Important note: The Vatican’s magnificent setting, architecture, museums, masterpieces of art and sculpture, and most importantly, its historical and religious significance, make it one of the world’s premier tourist attractions. Visitors flock to it in huge numbers, including those who are not members of the ‘flock.’ You should too. But be aware: the marketing claims of tour companies to Vatican City are overblown and misleading. Since every tour company offers Skip-the-line tickets, there are huge lines for ‘skip-the-line.’ Only by being there super-early (which all companies advise) and literally running at top speed can you be among the first in the Sistine Chapel. Early entrance, early early entrance, VIP entrance, Sistine express – it doesn’t matter what the promise – no one gets in before the doors open. There are lines even in frigid weather… If you don’t get the crowds at the start, you’ll bog down in the middle. So what to do? You need a really, really good guide. Read on…
VATICAN CITY TOURS
Vatican City has more to see than the average tourist could manage in a month. It is the stress of over-choice, but most companies don’t give you a choice. Selected Tours believes that a perfect Vatican tour has a great guide who knows the buildings backwards, forwards and blindfolded so that they can get you around bottlenecks. They are broadly informed but at the same time know how to present the Vatican according to your interests. Contact us so we can ask you the right questions before booking – first timers or repeat visitors? In-depth touring or quick highlights? Early risers or prefer a later start? Child-friendly tours, pry-teens-away-from-their-cell phones tours, wheelchair or slow walker tours? We customize your Vatican experience so it is the best tour for YOU, taking into account the constraints of the season. Here are our most popular options, just for starters:
Note: All sightseeing tours are accompanied by expert local guides.