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Vatican City - ITALY

Città del Vaticano (Vatican City)
The Città del Vaticano is the smallest country in the world. It is the political, financial and legal seat of the Holy See as well as its property.
It mints its own coin, prints stamps, has got an army of volunteers from the Swiss Guards. Its flag is white and yellow.


(Piazza San Pietro (St Peter Square))
Rome, 100 mt
- Piazza San Pietro (Saint Peter Square)
It is the architectonic masterpiece by Bernini, who surrounded the elliptical area with two imponent semicircles, each one made up of four rows of doric columns. In the inner side of the trabeation you can see 140 statues of saints standing towards the columns. An obelisk, built by order of Caligola, rises in the middle of the square; on both sides there are two XVII-century fountains made by Moderno and Bernini and at the bottom of the square you can see the imponent Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano (Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican).
A lot of artists such as Bramante, Raffaello, Peruzzi, Michelangelo, Vignola, etc. worked at the construction of the Church.
The statues of Christ, St John the Baptist and the other Apostles by Bernini are on the facade's trabeation whereas the statues of St Peter and St Paul flank the flight of steps.
You can enter the Church through five doors: the Death's door, the Good's and Evil's door, the Central door, the Sacraments' door and the Saint Door, which is opened only in the Jubilee years.
Inside St Peter's Basilica you can visit:
  • nave: at the last pillar on the right you can see the bronze statue of San Pietro in trono (St Peter on the throne) and the bright cupola decorated with mosaics;
  • right aisle: here you can see Pietà (Mercy) by Michelangelo and monumento di Clemente XIII (Clement XIII's monument) by Antonio Canova;
  • apse: there are cattedra di San Pietro (St Peter's Chair) by Bernini, monumento di Urbano VIII (Urban VIII's monument) and monumento di Paolo III (Paul III's monument) whereas on the left side of the Basilica you can see the tomba di Alessandro VII (Alexander VII's tomb) by Bernini;
  • Sacristy: through it you can get to the historic and artistic museum and to St Peter's treasure;
  • Sacred Vatican Caves: they are under the nave; they contain sculptures, mosaics, paintings and tombs, among which the tomb of Pope John XXIII, dating back to several periods.


(Castel Sant'Angelo (St Angel Castle))
Rome, 100 mt
- Castel Sant'Angelo (St Angel Castle)
Castel Sant'Angelo is visible on the right bank of the River Tevere opposite Vittorio Emanuele II Bridge. Emperor Publio Elio Adriano made it build in 130 A.D. as his own monumental tomb. However the castle had a military function when it was included inside the city wall in 271 A.D. . During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance the castle underwent several interventions which changed it. In the second half of the fifteenth century the castle was equipped with fortified pentagonal-shaped walls by order of Niccolò V and Alessandro VI and it became the Pope's residence.
The Castle's name comes from a XVIII-century bronze statue portraying an angel: according to a legend an angel perched on the mausoleum putting an end to the plague in 590.
Today it is the seat of Museo Nazionale di Castel Sant'Angelo (St Angel Castle National Museum): you can visit the Roman remains of the imperial mausoleum, the fortified castle, the picture gallery made up of bequests from the Menotti family's and Contini Bonaccossi family's collections. You can also visit the pope's rooms, where there are sculptures, paintings, furniture and other objects.

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