Rome and Vatican City travel guide
Country: Italy (Italia)
Cities: Rome (Roma), Vatican City (Città del Vaticano)
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Interesting facts about Rome
- Rome is the largest city and the capital of Italy.
- With a history spreading almost 3000 years in time, Rome is known as the Eternal city.
- According to the legend Rome was founded in 753 BC by Romulus and Remus. They were twins, sons of god Mars and the priestess Rhea Silvia. As it was forbidden for the priestess to have children, king Amulius imprisoned the priestess and sentenced her children to death. The servant who had to carry out the sentence, spared their lives and abandoned them in a basket on Tiber river. The babies were found and raised by she-wolf. Later Romulus killed his brother during a quarrel where to found Rome. Romulus became the first ruler of the city and named it after himself.
- If you want to visit all churches in Rome and each day you visit 3, you will need 3 years to see all them! There are around 900 churches in Rome and at least half of them are worth to visit.
- The vestal virgins were women priests who served Vesta, the goddess of the hearth fire. The vestals were chosen as kids. They had to live their entire life in the temple. They keep the Rome’s sacred flame burning. If any of them lost her virginity, she would be buried alive. You can still see the remains of the temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum.
- Have you ever asked yourself what can you do if you have some spare bones and skulls? Maybe you will bury them in the ground where they belong? No, this wasn’t the decision of the monks from the order of Capuchin. They used the bones of their dead brothers (about 4000 monks) to beatify the walls of the Capuchin Crypt.
- Many died during the gladiatorial fights at the Colosseum. To be more precise over 500 000 people and twice as much animals were killed there. Romans even flooded the Colosseum for boat battles. The last gladiatorial fight was in 435 AD.
- Shopping malls aren’t a new thing in Rome. The Trajan’s Market is one of the oldest shopping malls. It was built during the reign of Emperor Trajan in 110 AD.
- The famous “Mouth of Truth” (La Bocca della Verità) in Rome is an ancient lie detector. According to the legends, if you put your hand inside and tell a lie, it will cut off your hand. Do you dare to try?
Interesting facts about Vatican City
- Vatican City is the smallest state by area and population (800 people) in the world. Although its size, the city has the largest complex of museums in the world. You will need days if you want to see everything and not to be in a rush.
- The name Vatican dates before the Christianity. It most likely derived from an ancient Etruscan settlement, called Vatica or Vaticum.
- Vatican City is an absolute monarchy ruled by the Pope. The popes haven’t lived always at the Vatican City. Their first home was the Lateran palace in Rome. In the beginning of the 14th century when a French Pope was elected, the papacy moved to Avignon. When they returned in Rome 70 years later, the Lateran palace was in ruins. The popes moved to the Vatican City and since then it is their home.
- Although the popes have lived in the Vatican since 14th century, only in 1929 it was set as an independent state by Mussolini. So in fact Vatican is less than 100 years old.
- It is the only country where the citizenship is not claimed by birth. You can become a citizen only if you work in the state. Your citizenship will expire when you leave your work.
- Vatican issues its own 1 EUR coins. They have a portrait of the Pope and they are rare to find.
- The state has its own post office and you can send a postcard from there to your friends!
- St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest Catholic Church in the world.
- Have you ever wonder where you can use one of those dead languages like Latin? Here you will have the chance. The ATM machines in Vatican City have an option for instructions in Latin language.
Rome and Vatican City travel guide
Airports in Rome
There are two main airports in Rome: Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (Fiumicino – Aeroporto Internazionale Leonardo da Vinci) and Rome Ciampino Airport (Ciampino–Aeroporto Internazionale G. B. Pastine).
Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport is located south-west of Rome. It is the main international airport. Find out here how to reach it and here some useful maps. The easiest way to get to the city and back is by using a private arrival transfer and a private departure transfer.
Rome Ciampino Airport is located beside Ciampino, south-east of Rome. It is the city’s low-cost airline airport. Find out how to get there here. The easiest way to get to the city and back is by using a private arrival transfer and a private departure transfer.
Major train station
Best time to visit Rome
Every year on 21st of April, Rome fetes its founding. There are gladiatorial fights, street parades and recreations of historical events all over the city.
On the 2nd of June the Italians celebrate with a military parade their national holiday, Republic day. This is the day of the founding of the Italian Republic in 1946.
Posts about Rome and Vatican City
Day trips out of Rome
Pompeii Day Trip: Hike up Mount Vesuvius and then explore the UNESCO-listed ruins of Pompeii on a must-do day trip from Rome.
Tuscany in One Day Sightseeing Tour: Traveling to the stunning Val d’Orcia region, south of Siena, you’ll be introduced to a beautiful landscape where medieval towns cling to sunny hills and rustic farms adorn the countryside.
Tivoli Day Trip: Discover two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Villa d’Este and Hadrian’s Villa, on a guided full-day trip to Tivoli from Rome.
Frascati Wine Tasting Tour: Travel out through the olive groves and vineyards of the Castelli Romani to the Principe Pallavicini estate — one of the oldest and most beautiful vineyards in the Frascati region.
Roman Countryside Electric Bike Tour: Explore the Appian Way, catacombs and Roman countryside on a 6-hour electric bike tour.
Ancient Ostia Day Trip: Escape to Ostia Antica and see why experts are calling it “The Better Pompeii”.