"Named after the hill on which..." Vatican City Favorite Tip by fga
Vatican City General: 181 reviews and 206 photos
Favorite thing: Named after the hill on which it stands and which in the Middle Ages was surrounded by a malarial swamp, the Vatican has been a papal residence for over 600 years, but a sovereing atate independent of Italy only since the Lateran Pact of 1929.
If you have the time, try to visit St. Peterīs and the museums of the Vatican palace on separate days. The richies here pose the cityīs biggest threat of fatigue and visual overload. In any case, itīs a good idea to divide your visit in two with a relaxed lunch. But check opening times: the Vaticanīs museums are usually open all day around Easter and in the summer months, but close at 2 p.m. the rest of the year.
Best of all, have a picnic and siesta in the nearby gardens of Janiculum Hill (Gianicolo), where, in the more stormy times of the Risorgimiento, as an equestrian statue proclaims, Garibaldi fought one of his fiercest battles.
To apreciate the unique panorama of St. peterīs and its square, take your courage in both feet and walk. Start out by crossing the Tiber to the Castel Sant?Ángelo, which was originally Hadrianīs mausoleum built in A.D. 139. Its name derives from Pope Gregoryīs vision of the Archangel Michael, now represented by a statue on top, heralding the end of a plague in 590. (If you take walking all the way, take the pretty Sant?Angelo Bridge, adorned by ten Bernini angels).
It was 6th century barbarians who commandeered the massive round pile as a fortress, using ancient statues as missiles to hurl on the heads of their enemies below. Linked to the Vatican by a thick-walled passage, it served as a hideout for popes in times of danger, notably Pope Clement VII, who holed up here for a month during the sack of Rome by Habsburg troops in 1527. Philosopher Giordano Bruno and sculptotgoldsmith Benvenuto Cellini were imprisoned in the dungeons, which can be visited on a guide tour of what is now a museum of Renaissance art, furnishings an weapons.
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