The smallest country on Earth: What you need to know about Vatican City

Vatican City is the smallest country in terms of population on Earth and is one of the most visited places in the world but what should you know about it?

Many people ask the question, “Can I live in Vatican City?”. The answer is no, unless you are a member of the clergy and are granted a stay or if you are a member of the Swiss Guard that serves as the guards for the holiest city of Christianity.

Today, May 18 is the birthday of the former Pope, John Paul, II. So naturally, we are taking a closer look at Vatican City and what it offers those who are visiting.

Vatican City is located in Italy and surrounded by Rome. It is less than 200 acres total in land and has just 825 residents. The city is considered a country and the government is called The Holy See which is ruled by the Pope. It is the home of the Roman Catholic Church.

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN – MAY 06: New recruits of the Vatican’s elite Swiss Guard stand at attention during the swearing in ceremony for for 34 new members at the Cortile di San Damaso on May 06, 2021 in Vatican City, Vatican. It was on this date, 6 May 1527, almost 500 years ago, that 147 Swiss Guards gave their lives in defence of the Holy Father during the Sack of Rome. Now, each year on the anniversary, new recruits are sworn in, taking an oath of loyalty to serve the reigning Pontiff and his successors, even to the point of sacrificing their lives. It is the second year the event will take place without an audience, in accordance with current protection regulations to avoid infection due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

You don’t have to be a Catholic to visit Vatican City and you really don’t need to believe in God. The city is an ornate historical tour of art and incredible museums. It is the home of the world-famous Michaelangelo painting in the Sistine Chapel.

Visit Raphael’s rooms to learn about the School of Athens. Raphael’s rooms consist of four rooms that make up the Stanze of Raffaello.  His painted murals cover the walls of the four rooms.

In 2019, TripAdvisor listed Vatican City as the top traveler’s choice for the best cultural experience. and was in the top 5 in 2018.

A visit to Rome should absolutely include a visit to Vatican City but you will need to purchase tickets in advance to get into the museums, you can do that here. 

Entry into the city is free but know this before you go, lines are extremely long and security into Vatican City is excruciatingly tight making the wait longer. You can enter and visit St. Peter’s Basilica for free but tickets are required for the museums, purchasing advanced tickets will get you into the city quicker and through the museums without fighting much of the crowds.

In general, you can’t just walk into the city as most of it secured off but the museums are once in a lifetime opportunities that can’t be missed and shouldn’t be missed.