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Why Visit Vatican City

Not all people know this but yes, the Vatican is a country, actually the smallest sovereign country in the world which is set right within the borders of Rome. This unique place is the official home of the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope and is an absolute must-do when going on trips to Rome, Italy.

The area of the Vatican is about 44 hectares (110 acres), its population is less than 1000 too, making it the smallest state in the world both by size and the number of residents. It is also often referred to as the Holy See, yet these two terms are not to be mistaken.

The Holy See dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of 1.2 billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe, located within Vatican City - an independent city-state which gained sovereignty from Italy in 1929.

Interestingly, this miniature beauty has many gems both architectural and natural. The St. Peter's Basilica set on St. Peter's Square, Vatican Gardens that take up most of its territory and are adorned with Renaissance sculptures and fountains, buildings of the Papal Apostolic Palace complex are worth seeing as well.

Yet what other exciting treasures are enclosed in Vatican City State? The most incredible pieces of art in the world are housed in this petite spiritual center. The Vatican Museums were established in 1506, with the priceless collection formed as a result of the activity of different Popes throughout many centuries.

The masterpieces include Michelangelo's breathtaking "Last Judgment" on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Roman sculptures such as the "Laocoon and his Sons", baroque masterpieces of Bernini in St. Peter's Basilica, the Renaissance frescoes in the Raphael Rooms and many modern works of art as well.

Visitors entering Vatican City from the surrounding Italian territory don't have to go through the process of passing passport controls and have free public access to Saint Peter's Square and the Basilica.

Nevertheless, a security check procedure is obligatory, plus, since it's a religious territory, a certain dress-code applies: no sleeveless shirts, shorts or skirts above the knee.

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