Smallest City in the World
Photo Credit: TN

Photo Credit: TN

Smallest City in the World

Dr. Diana Rangaves
Dr. Diana Rangaves Jul 31, 2023

Many people identify cities with enormous geographical areas, tall skyscrapers, and congested streets jam-packed with people and traffic. However, certain cities worldwide contradict this idea due to their lesser populations. The Vatican is one such city.

Vatican City (properly, a city-state) is one of the smallest cities (technically, a sovereign country) in the world, with about 0.17 square miles in area. This is less than a quarter the size of the next smallest country, Monaco. It has a population of roughly 800 individuals, with slightly more than half being citizens. However, many Vatican City passport holders live abroad and serve in diplomatic postings.

What To See And Do In The Smallest City In The World

Although located in Rome, Vatican City is an independent city-state with its own government, laws, administration, and infrastructure. Following the signing of the Lateran Treaty in 1929, it gained independence from the rest of Rome. Governance of Vatican City falls upon the Roman Catholic Church.

An estimated 5 million people visit the city each year. Here are some of the top attractions you should not miss when you visit Vatican City.

Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel should undoubtedly be at the top of one’s itinerary when visiting the smallest city in the world. The Sistine Chapel, the Cappella Magna, was constructed between 1473 and 1481.

Michaelangelo’s one-of-a-kind paintings on the Chapel ceiling and the west wall behind the altar are magnificent. Michelangelo was so obsessed with artwork that he labored day and night for eight years, all by himself, to complete this massive project. His paintings predominantly depict scenes from the bible.

St Peter’s Square

Gian Lorenzo Bernini redesigned St. Peter’s Square under the direction of Pope Alexander VII. This redesign ensures that most people can watch services of the church.

Aside from its size, the most striking feature of the lovely oval square is its 284 columns and 88 pilasters. On top of these columns are 140 statues of various figures from the history of the church, all sculpted by Bernini’s students. Walking around Saint Peter’s Square and photographing the columns are among the best things to do while visiting the Vatican.

Vatican Museums

The Vatican Museum is one of the world’s finest museums, housing the best art and artifact collections under one roof. The museums house pieces ranging from Renaissance wall paintings to the Gallery of Maps and everything in between. Explore the ancient mosaics, ceiling decorating, statue-filled courtyards, Egyptian mummies, optical illusions, and Etruscan bronzes. The Vatican Museums are a must-see for every art lover, culture visitor, and history buff.

Saint Peter’s Basilica

A vacation to Rome would only be complete with a stop at Saint Peter’s Basilica.

Thanks to the master architects Michelangelo, Bernini, Raphael, and Bramante, it is regarded as one of the most exquisite buildings in the entire world. Prepare to be astounded by the church’s interiors, adorned with famous art pieces, marble, gold, fine sculptures, brilliant mosaics, and rare relics.

How To Get Around The Vatican

By foot: Walking around this small city is easy because everything is within walking distance. It will take you 35 minutes to walk to the top two sights. You will take a 35-minute walk to St. Peter’s Square and a 15-minute stroll to the Vatican Museums’ gate.

By metro: There are two metro stations immediately outside the Vatican walls: Ottaviano and Cipro, both of which stop only a few minutes walk from the Vatican.

By bus: Buses 40, 49, and 64 all stop near the Vatican. Buses 40 and 64 depart from Roma Termini and are the most frequent. Bus No. 40 stops at Piazza Pia, just near the Vatican and a few minutes walk from St. Peter’s Square. Bus 49 stops directly in front of the Vatican Museums on the square.

Do You Require A Tour Guide In The Smallest City In The World?

With so many museums and miles of historical marvels to view, hiring a tour guide is a fantastic option. They will ensure you see all of the main places and learn about their intriguing history.

When Is The Most Appropriate Time to Tour The Vatican?

The months of April to October are ideal for a visit to the world’s smallest city. This is because the weather is usually pleasant and there are few tourists.  If you can endure the cold, wintertime in December is also a terrific time to visit.

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