UNESCO Hunt #10 : Vatican City


UNESCO Site #286 Says: 

“A unique collection of artistic and architectural masterpieces lie within the boundaries of this small state. At its centre is St Peter’s Basilica, with its double colonnade and a circular piazza in front and bordered by palaces and gardens.”

Getting in to Vatican City

Vatican City is the smallest independent country on earth and we had to visit it since we were already in Rome for a few days. Reading through an information leaflet, there are about 800 citizens of Vatican City but around 1,000 people live within the state while the rest of the community such as dignitaries, priests, nuns, guards live outside of this city. The Vatican City is also the only ENTIRE country on UNESCO’s List of World Heritage Sites.

The city can be toured in half a day and getting to Vatican City is easy with Rome’s public bus services. We went to the Central Station to board the bus number 64 to Vatican. Besides the bus there’s also the Metro red line (line A) that goes to either to Ottaviano or Cipro stop. Once you arrive from either these two transportation stations, it’s just a short walk to the Basilica (about 5-10 minutes).

Outside the Vatican City Dome

While most of the area is inaccessible to tourists, the most popular areas such as the St. Peter’s basilica and the Vatican Museums are opened to tourists. Since entrance to the Vatican is free, you’ll need to go through a metal detector gate before entering. There will be a very long line starting from here but it moves quickly. If you prefer a shorter queue it’s best to go there in the early morning and on weekdays. Even then the line will still be long but bearable. Outside at the Piazza area are huge Roman columns which are part of the architecture of the building. A large banner of the Pope hangs from the top of the building and to our left was the view of the Basilica dome which, an iconic landmark of Vatican City.

Vatican City

A long arch surrounds the Vatican City.

Dome of St. Peter's basilica in Vatican City

Dome of St. Peter’s basilica in Vatican City


A view from inside out.


Inside the Vatican City Dome

After two hours of waiting, we finally walked into the St. Peter’s Basilica which is the largest church in the world. It can hold up to 60,000 people and even more with its spacious halls. We walked quickly because it got very crowded (and being tiny is not a good thing for crowded places). The drawings and sculpture on the ceiling were very detailed  and had a lot of Roman influences. Along the way we saw visitors sitting at the Confessions Area waiting for their turn to enter the Confessions Booth while a large crowd gathered under the Basilica Dome taking busy taking photos of the arts. Amazingly according to history, St. Peter’s Basilica has been around for more then 300 years longer than the Vatican City which became and official independent nation in 1929.

Large columns with intricate sculpture on the walls of the Dome.

Large columns with intricate sculpture on the walls of the Dome.

Baldacchino and the dome, St. Peter's basilica

Baldacchino and the dome, St. Peter’s basilica

All is quiet at the confession booths.

All is quiet at the confession booths.


The Tiny Post Office in Vatican City

After visiting the interior of the St. Basilica Dome, you can continue to the Vatican Museum which has over 120,000 pieces of art! I think it’ll take us days to finish the tour if we want to look at every single piece of art in the building. If not head out and straight on the Post Office (yes they do have their own post office) to send yourself or your friends a postcard from this city. Even if you’re not able to get a passport stamp, at least you can give yourself a lovely souvenir of memories in this city with the postcard. Stamp collectors like myself would enjoy the unique stamps that they sell in the post office.

Inside the smallest post office of Vatican City.

Inside the smallest post office of Vatican City.

Queuing up to buy stamps at the post office in Vatican City

Queuing up to buy stamps at the post office in Vatican City


Location: Vatican City | Admission: FREE for the Square, Euro 6 (St Peters’ Dome) | Opening Hours: 07:00 – 18:00 everyday, except on Wednesdays. | Brownie points: That huge art collection at the Museum and the post office!

About Yafieda Jamil

A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.

2 Responses to UNESCO Hunt #10 : Vatican City

  1. Awesome! I loved checking out the Vatican city and did indeed send myself a postcard. I had housemates though, so the message on the postcard read “Dear Stu, this is not a postcard for you. Love Liyana”

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