1. Vatican -
The term "Vatican" was used in ancient times to identify the swampy area on the right bank of the Tiber River. In the Roman period, at the time of both the Monarchy (753 -
The Apostle Peter received the martyrdom there being crucified up-
Thus, many Christians, wished to be buried near the tomb of St. Peter and this became soon among the most significant destinations for Christian Pilgrims. The Vatican necropolis was partially levelled due to the construction of the basilica dedicated to the Apostle commissioned by the Emperor Constantine (306-
2. The Vatican in the Middle Ages: Pope Leo III -
Seven centuries later, the Emperor Charle Magne, great defender of the Roman Catholic Church, was crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire on the Christmas Eve of 800 by Pope Leo III. He thought to secure the Vatican with city walls. In this way, few years later, Pope Leo IV (847-
In 1309 the Papal court was moved to Avignon (in France: the so called "Avignon captivity
Popes came back to Rome only in 1377 thanks to S.te Catherine of Siena
A word to know: Circus
In Ancient Rome the Circus was a building for the exhibition of horse and chariot races, equestrian shows, staged battles, displays featuring trained exotic animals, jugglers and acrobats and other amusements.
3. The Vatican in the Renaissance: Pope Sixtus IV and the Sistine Chapel -
The possibility of completely rebuilding St Peter’s was firstly approached the architect Rossellino whom, on behalf of Pope Nicholas V (1447-
Radical changes were carried out by his nephew, Pope Julius II (1503-
4. The Vatican in the Baroque: Gianlorenzo Bernini and the triumph of the Catholic Church: the new St. Peter's Basilica
On the early 17th century the Church was enlarged by C. Maderno who also made the facade of the Church. Gianlorenzo Bernini won his impossible mission to accomplish: the decoration of St. Peter's Basilica. The Church which was formally inaugurated on St. Michael's day, protector of the Church, on 09/29/1626 after 120 years of construction. Marble, gold, over 3 acres of mosaics, stuccos, inlaid marble, granite: this was the Baroque in Rome and Rome and the Vatican had their main interpreter: GianLorenzo Bernini.
The Vatican complex was then completed again by G.L. Bernini on mid XVIth cent. designing the splendid and sumptous St. Peter's Square which was enclosed by two hemicycles of four rows of columns with 184 statues of the Saints on top.
5. From the Vatican State to the Vatican City State: The Lateran Pacts (1929) -
The Vatican State corresponded more or less to what are today the Italian Regions of: Latium, Umbria, Marche and Romagna. By the time that Italy became an Independent and a unified country having Rome as the Capital of the new Kingdom of Italy (09-
The Vatican City State was founded following the signing of the Lateran Pacts between the Holy See and Italy on February 11th 1929. These Pacts established the "Conciliation" between the two countries. Its nature as a sovereign State distinct from the Holy See is universally recognized under International Law. Since then, the Vatican City is the smallest independent State in the world in terms of inhabitants (rouphly 800) and size: it occupies an area of 44 hectares (109 acres). The borders are mainly represented by its walls and the the two wings of the colonnades in St Peter’s Square. Beyond the territory of the State, Vatican jurisdiction also covers some extraterritorial areas within and outside Rome: hospitals, universities, the Vatican Chancery, monasteries, the Papal Palace of Castelgandolfo, etc.
6. The Vatican Museums -
The Vatican Museums in 2006 celebrated its fifth centenary of history, being originated as a private group of sculptures collected by Pope Julius II (1503-
The popes did not open their magnificent palaces to the ordinary public that until after February 11th 1929, the foundation date of the Vatican City State (see above). Until then, the Vatican Museum was only reserved to dignitaries, nobles and kings.
As of today, inside the Vatican there are a complex of several pontifical galleries that began essentially through two popes, Clement XIV (1769-
Later on, Pius VII (1800-
Pope Gregory XVI (1831-
These last collections (Gregorian Profane Museum, Pio Christian Museum and the Jewish Lapidary) were moved in 1970, under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII (1958-
Vatican Meridien -
The Vatican Museums today also include the Borgia Apartments, where the Spanish Pope Alexander VI lived (1492-
The enchanting Chapel of Nicholas V (1447-
Of course the Sistine Chapel
The three Upper Galleries include the Gallery of Candelabras (by Pope Leo XII, 1896), the Gallery of Tapestries, dating from the 15th and 17th centuries & the Gallery of Maps, decorated during the pontificate of Gregory XIII (1572-
The Lower Galleries include the as the Sistine Room, the old reading room of the Apostolic Library created by Pope Sixtus V (1585-
The Vatican Museums are inclusive as well of the magificient Raphael Rooms and the Loggia, which were decorated by order of both Julius II and Leo X (1513-
In 1973 the Collection of Modern and Contemporary Religious Art was added and inaugurated by Pope Paul VI (1963-
The Vatican Historical Museum
Last, the Carriage and Automobile Museum (Carriage Pavilion) is the last Museum added in the Vatican City State.
In the year 2000, the Vatican Museums opened a new large and modern entrance thanks to the unforgotten John Paul II (1978-
Have a good visit with us !
Cristiano Pellegrini -