The State of Vatican is the smallest independent state of Europe, located in the heart of Rome, Italy, with a population of under 1,000. The Vatican City includes the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, Vatican gardens, St. Peter's Basilica and St. Peter's Square. The Vatican is located on the west side of river Tevere and separated from the rest of Rome with a wall.
St. Peter's Basilica was built between 1506 and 1626. The Dome was designed by Michelangelo Buonarroti and the facade was done by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. St. Peter's Square is a magnificent square designed in the 17th century by Bernini. The open area is large enough to accommodate thousands of people.
St. Peter's Basilica entertains numerous treasures, including Michaelangelo's Pieta, a bronze statue of St. Peter and numerous marble and gold statues throughout the basilica. Admission to the basilica is free, however visitors must wear proper clothing - no shorts and sleeveless shirts are allowed.
The Vatican Tourist Office, located in St. Peter's Square, offers guided tours of the basilica and the beautiful Vatican gardens. Visitors can take an elevator to the roof of St. Peter's Basilica for a spectacular view of the square below and the city of Rome, and climb to the top of Michaelangelo's Dome (there is a visitor's fee for the gardens and the Dome). Other places to see in the Vatican City include Vatican Grottos, the Necropolis and the Museum of Vatican Treasures.