Theme Week Vatican City – St. Peter’s Basilica

29 December 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, UNESCO World Heritage

Tiber, Ponte Sant'Angelo and St. Peter's Basilica © Rabax63/cc-by-sa-4.0

Tiber, Ponte Sant’Angelo and St. Peter’s Basilica © Rabax63/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, or simply St. Peter’s Basilica, is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome. Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter’s is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. While it is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, St. Peter’s is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines. It has been described as “holding a unique position in the Christian world” and as “the greatest of all churches of Christendom“.   read more…

Theme Week Vatican City – Vatican Museums

28 December 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

Main complex of the Vatican Museums © F. Bucher/cc-by-2.5

Main complex of the Vatican Museums © F. Bucher/cc-by-2.5

The Vatican Museums (Italian: Musei Vaticani; Latin: Musea Vaticana) are Christian and art museums located within the city boundaries of the Vatican City. They display works from the immense collection amassed by popes throughout the centuries including several of the most renowned Roman sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the world. The museums contain roughly 70,000 works, of which 20,000 are on display, and currently employ 640 people who work in 40 different administrative, scholarly, and restoration departments. Pope Julius II founded the museums in the early 16th century. The Sistine Chapel, with its ceiling decorated by Michelangelo and the Stanze di Raffaello decorated by Raphael, are on the visitor route through the Vatican Museums. In 2017, they were visited by 6 million people, which combined makes it the 5th most visited art museum in the world. There are 54 galleries, or sale, in total, with the Sistine Chapel, notably, being the very last sala within the Museum. It is one of the largest museums in the world. In 2017, the Museum’s official website and social media presence was completely redone, in accord with current standards and appearances for modern websites. The Museums had 6,427,277 visitors in 2017, making them the fourth-most-visited art museum in the world.   read more…

Theme Week Vatican City – Apostolic Palace

27 December 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

Pope Benedict XVI during the traditional weekly mess © Oliver-Bonjoch/cc-by-sa-3.0

Pope Benedict XVI during the traditional weekly mess © Oliver-Bonjoch/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Apostolic Palace (Latin: Palatium Apostolicum; Italian: Palazzo Apostolico) is the official residence of the Roman Catholic Pope and Bishop of Rome, which is located in Vatican City. It is also known as the Papal Palace, Palace of the Vatican and Vatican Palace. The Vatican itself refers to the building as the Palace of Sixtus V in honor of Pope Sixtus V. The building contains the Papal Apartments, various offices of the Catholic Church and the Holy See, private and public chapels, Vatican Museums, and the Vatican Library, including the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, and Borgia Apartment. The modern tourist can see these last and other parts of the palace, but other parts, such as the Sala Regia and Cappella Paolina, are closed to tourists. The Scala Regia can be seen into from one end but not entered.   read more…

Theme Week Vatican City – St. Peter’s Square

26 December 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, UNESCO World Heritage

© Greudin

© Greudin

St. Peter’s Square (Italian: Piazza San Pietro) is a large plaza located directly in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City, the papal enclave inside Rome, directly west of the neighbourhood or rione of Borgo. Both the square and the basilica are named after Saint Peter, an apostle of Jesus and the first Catholic Pope. At the centre of the square is an ancient Egyptian obelisk, erected at the current site in 1586. Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed the square almost 100 years later, including the massive Doric colonnades, four columns deep, which embrace visitors in “the maternal arms of Mother Church”. A granite fountain constructed by Bernini in 1675 matches another fountain designed by Carlo Maderno in 1613.   read more…

Theme Week Vatican City – Vatican Gardens

25 December 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

© Marek.69/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Marek.69/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Gardens of Vatican City (Latin: Horti Civitatis Vaticanae), also informally known as the Vatican Gardens (Italian: Giardini Vaticani) in Vatican City, are private urban gardens and parks which cover more than half of the country, located in the west of the territory and owned by the Pope. There are some buildings, such as Radio Vatican and the Governor’s Palace, within the gardens. The gardens cover approximately 23 hectares (57 acres) which is most of the Vatican Hill. The highest point is 60 metres (200 ft) above mean sea level. Stone walls bound the area in the North, South and West. The gardens and parks were established during the Renaissance and Baroque era and are decorated with fountains and sculptures. There is no general public access, but guided tours are available to limited numbers. The gardens also enshrine 16 Marian images venerated worldwide at the designation of the Roman Pontiff, who is the owner of the gardens.   read more…

Theme Week Vatican City

24 December 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage

Palace of the Governorate of the Vatican City State © Staselnik/cc-by-sa-3.0

Palace of the Governorate of the Vatican City State © Staselnik/cc-by-sa-3.0

Vatican City is an independent city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. Established with the Lateran Treaty (1929), it is distinct from yet under “full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction” of the Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes). With an area of 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of about 1,000, it is the smallest state in the world by both area and population. The Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotalmonarchical state (a type of theocracy) ruled by the pope who is, religiously speaking, the bishop of Rome and head of the Catholic Church. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergy of various national origins. Since the return of the popes from Avignon in 1377, they have generally resided at the Apostolic Palace within what is now Vatican City, although at times residing instead in the Quirinal Palace in Rome or elsewhere.   read more…

Theme Week Rome – Vatican City

3 September 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, UNESCO World Heritage

Vatican City State Panorama from St. Peters Basilica © Marcus Winter

Vatican City State Panorama from St. Peters Basilica © Marcus Winter

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. The Vatican City is the world’s smallest state, being only around 44 ha (110 acres). In July 2007, the Vatican agreed to become the first carbon neutral state. They plan to accomplish this by offsetting carbon dioxide emissions with the creation of a Vatican Climate Forest in Hungary. 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.   read more…

The Sistine Chapel

13 June 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, House of the Month, Museums, Exhibitions

Sistine Chapel © Maus-Trauden/GFDL

Sistine Chapel © Maus-Trauden/GFDL

Sistine Chapel is the best-known chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in the Vatican City. It is famous for its architecture and its decoration that was frescoed throughout by Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio and others. Under the patronage of Pope Julius II, Michelangelo painted 1,100 m2 (12,000 sq ft) of the chapel ceiling between 1508 and 1512. The ceiling, and especially The Last Judgment (1535–1541), is widely believed to be Michelangelo’s crowning achievement in painting.   read more…

Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, the national library of the Vatican

23 July 2014 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions, Opera Houses, Theaters, Libraries

Vatican Library entrance © Benoit Lhoest/cc-by-sa-3.0

Vatican Library entrance © Benoit Lhoest/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Vatican Apostolic Library (Latin: Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana), more commonly called simply 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. On 20 March 2014, the Holy See announced that NTT Data Corporation and the Library concluded an agreement to digitize approximately 3,000 of the Library’s manuscripts within four years. It noted that there is the possibility of subsequently digitizing another 79,000 of the Library’s holdings. These will be high-definition images available on the Library’s Internet site.   read more…

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲