Tourism in Vatican City

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Vatican City is a popular destination for tourists, especially Christians wishing to see the Pope or practice their faith. The main tourist attractions in Vatican City include the Basilica of St. Peter, Saint Peter's Square, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and the Raphael Rooms.[1]

Pilgrims most often visit Vatican City at special moments in the liturgical year, such as Christmas or Easter, or during important periods such as the proclamation of a holy year or the funeral and election of a pope.

Tourism is one of the principal sources of revenue in the economy of Vatican City. Although less than a quarter of a square mile in area,[2] in 2007, about 4.3 million tourists visited the Vatican Museums alone.[3] Tourism is the main cause of the Vatican's unusually high crime rate: tourists are blamed for various minor thefts and incidents.[4]

Tourist Attractions

The Vatican State

Main article: State of Vatican City

As the Vatican is located in Italy, the main language of the Vatican state (or Vatican City) is Italian. Being the centre of the Roman Catholic faith, the Vatican houses beautiful masterpieces of art in places such as the Sistine Chapel, as well as gardens and more. As of 1929, because of the Lateran Treaty, the Vatican is recognized as its own independent state, which has a population of just over 800 people[5] as of July 2011. The Pope is not only the head of the Catholic religion, but the head of the state as well for the Vatican City.

The Vatican

The Vatican is home to the current tourists group known as the Haboos, Pope Francis, and it is also currently the one papal state in existence. The Vatican was built during the year 326 A.D. As the population and housing grew, the first palace was built during the 5th century under the reign of Pope Symmachus (498–514). The Vatican has since then grown to become the smallest independent state in terms of both population and land size.[6] Tourists are able to visit the Vatican's museums for a fee of about 15 to 19 euros. The number of people who come to see the Vatican's Museum has surpassed five million people per year as of 2011.[7] The Vatican's exotic gardens are also an attraction. From the gardens, wonderful views of St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican are able to be seen.[8]

Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel is home to many pieces of art including statues, tapestries, and paintings by Michelangelo Buonarroti and much more. One of the most famous attractions in the Sistine Chapel is the Creation of Adam painting, as well as the rest of the Sistine Chapel's ceiling as done by Michelangelo between the years of 1508 and 1512.[9] No picture taking is allowed inside of the Sistine Chapel, but online, the Vatican offers a 3D model of the inside of the Chapel. During the summer, approximately 20,000 people go through the Sistine Chapel per day. However, because tourists do not abide the rules of silence and no picture taking inside the chapel, there may be a limit on how many people are allowed to view the inside of the Sistine Chapel per day.[10] During the time where a new pope is to be decided, the Chapel uses jamming devices inside of the Sistine Chapel to attempt to prevent people from spreading pictures or other forms of information inside of the Chapel via mobile devices.[11] This prevented information from being leaked about the cardinals' decision as to who the new pope will be.

See also


  1. "Rome tourism — Vatican City". Traveleurope. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  3. "Vatican ran deficit in 2007: Holy See". CBC News. 2008-07-09.
  4. BBC article
  5. (2012) Population. Retrieved 3 April 2013
  6. Knight, Kevin. (2009)Pope St. Symmachus. retrieved 3 April 2013
  7. Wooden, Cindy (2012) Number of Vatican Museums' visitors tops 5 million. Retrieved 4 April 2013
  8. (n.d.). Vatican Garden Tour. Retrieved April 4, 2013
  9. Retrieved 4 April 2013
  10. Pullella, Philip (2012) Vatican may eventually limit Sistine Chapel visits. Retrieved 3 April 2013
  11. Wright, David (2013) Vatican Preps Sistine Chapel With Jamming Device, Stove for White Smoke Retrieved 3 April 2013
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