Saint Peter's Square Vatican City (Top Photo Group)

San Pietro Park and city Vatican City (Top Photo Group)

The Vatican and San Angelo Bridge at night, Rome, Italy (iStockphoto)

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What to do in Vatican City

Throughout history, people have sent messages in many ways—Pony Express, carrier pigeon, Twitter—but if you’re part of the Pope’s entourage, all you need is a loud voice. Vatican City is the world’s smallest state at just a quarter of a square mile, though its hand reaches much farther than that. Established as home to the pope in 1929, it is the spiritual head of the Catholic religion, where prayers are said under Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. An estimated 4.2 million tourists (Catholic and not) come each year to see the collection of art the church has amassed during the past 3,000 years and to tour the city’s four museums. Those wanting an “audience” with the pope should plan on visiting on a Wednesday, when he greets visitors in St. Peter’s Square (except during the summer months, when he’s at his summer residence).

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