It's not everyday you can visit a country within a city. The Vatican is one of the world's smallest states with its own post office, gas station, supermarket... And, of course, church!
This was one of my favorite visits in Rome: the Vatican museum is stuffed with jaw-dropping artwork, primarily from Renaissance and Baroque periods. We took a guided tour and our guide was talented enough to (mostly!) keep our boys' attention on the art and its many backstories. St. Peter's was also impressive: not only is it the biggest cathedral in the world, it's also home to much art. One letdown: the Sistine Chapel. It may be an amazing work of art but it was way too dark in there to properly appreciate it.
Next time we're in Rome, I'd definitely put the Vatican museum on our list of activities, there's a ton to see.
- As with the Colosseum, Palatine, and Forum, plan on spending a whole day (and bring water)
- Make sure you send a few postcards from the Vatican's two post offices, one on each side of St. Peter's
- The post office on the right of St. Peter's as you exit has tables you sit at to write your postcards. While you're there, check out the Vatican bookshop next door
- Postcards are much cheaper in the Vatican and there are pictures of sites all over Rome
- Visit the Vatican museum first: this will avoid standing in line to see St. Peter's as you end up inside the cathedral at the end of your museum tour after the Sistine Chapel
- Get a guide for the museum: you'll avoid the lines and it's money well spent. There are precious few signs & explanations in this huge museum, a good guide will increase your enjoyment tremendously
- I liked climbing up to the top of St. Peter's: it only costs 5 euro and the view is great. You also get a view of the inside of the copula and afterwards you exit inside the church, so you may avoid