I met a girl in Berlin who was 100% convinced I was pranking her when I said the Vatican City is a country. And to be honest, I don’t blame her. The Vatican City quite baffling for non-believers. It’s the smallest country in the world, it’s the home of the most famous living person on Earth (the Pope), it’s got the lowest birth-death ratio and the only country to have a dead language as their official language (latin). However, listing the weird facts about the Vatican is not what I’m here for, and pretending it’s a country when it isn’t for a lame prank totally isn’t my style. So let’s list the reasons why the Vatican City is still worth visiting, even if you’re not sold on catholicism.
St Peter’s BasilicaOkay, so maybe a church isn’t going to convince you to buy a ticket to Rome this instant. However, St Peter’s Basilica isn’t just any church. It’s the church. It is the largest in the world and what most consider the centre of Christianity. It has a surface area of above 15,000 square metres which is enough to fit 60,000 visitors at a time.For non-believers, the views from the dome might be the selling point. It was designed by Michelangelo and you have the option of taking the lift or the stairs (the latter being the cheaper option) and climbing to the top to see panoramic views of Rome and the Vatican.The Art
You don’t need to be an art buff or a Ninja Turtles fan to know some of the big names who worked on the frescoes inside the Vatican and you don’t need an art history degree to recognise some of the beautiful pieces. The Sistine Chapel is home to Michelangelo’s ‘Creation of Adam’ and ‘Last Judgement’, two of the most famous pieces in history.Unfortunately, snapping pictures is forbidden, not because of it being a place or worship or anything and the flash won’t damage the frescoes. It’s because the art has been copyrighted by Television. Yeah.Another famous piece to look out for is Raphael’s ‘School of Athens’ in the Raphael rooms. I remember studying this piece in philosophy. Plato points up to heavens to answer what is unknown, and Aristotle, the empiricist points down at the world for solid evidence and all that jazz. Raphael also paints himself and his idol, Michelangelo in this piece, which is something interesting to look out for.The MuseumThe Vatican Museum is the sixth most visited art museum in the world and for good reason. It was founded in the early 16th century and has since been built up over the years by the Popes. There are 54 galleries, the most notable being the Sistine chapel. However, one worth mentioning is the Gallery of Maps, which shows 40 maps of Italy frescoed on the wall. For their time, they are surprisingly accurate.Overall, it’s up to you if you think The Vatican City is worth it for atheists. Personally, I thought it was a great place with plenty to see and do, despite being small. If you’re in Rome, make time for it if you think you’ll be interested.