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Historical Sites in Vatican City

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St. Peters Basilica
The largest church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica is more than just the most important building in Christendom. It is a jewel within Vatican City from where Popes have spread the word of God throughout the world. The Basilica is a focal point of millions of pilgrims each year, but it is also a true cultural, historical and architectural landmark. The classic Renaissance structure holds within itself treasures from millennia including paintings, sculptures, artefacts and the art decorated on the walls. A visit to St. Peter’s Basilica is a treat to the senses and the soul!
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Roman Colosseum
Known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Roman Colosseum is one of the capital's most remarkable monuments. Every year over 6 million people visit it. The Colosseum is the main symbol of Rome. It is an imposing construction that, with almost 2,000 years of history, will bring you back in time to discover the way of life in the Roman Empire. The construction of the Colosseum began in the year 72 under the empire of Vespasian and was finished in the year 80 during the rule of the emperor Titus. After completion, the Colosseum became the greatest Roman amphitheatre, measuring 188 meters in length, 156 meters in width and 57 meters in height. During the Roman Empire and under the motto of "Bread and Circuses" the Roman Colosseum (known then as Flavian Amphitheatre) allowed more than 50,000 people to enjoy its finest spectacles. The exhibitions of exotic animals, executions of prisoners, recreations of battles and gladiator fights kept the Roman people entertained for years. The Colosseum remained active for over 500 years. The last recorded games in history were celebrated in the 6th century. Since the 6th century the Colosseum has suffered lootings, earthquakes and even bombings during World War Two. Demonstrating a great survival instinct, the Colosseum was used for decades as a storehouse, church, cemetery and even a castle for nobility. At present the Colosseum is, along with the Vatican City, Rome's greatest tourist attraction. Each year 6 million tourists visit it. On 7 July 2007 the Colosseum became one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
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Trajan's Market
Situated on Via dei Fori Imperiali, Trajan's Market is an archaeological complex that currently holds the Museum of Imperial Forums (Museo dei Fori Imperiali). It is considered to be Rome’s first “shopping center”. The complex, made of red brick and concrete, had six levels in which there was once up to 150 different shops and apartments. When you visit the Imperial Forum Museum, you can stroll through Mercati di Traiano's various levels, as well as admiring several exhibitions that show the Imperial Forums' different aspects. The exhibitions are comprised of models and videos that accompany the various remains that are left from the Imperial Forums to try to transport visitors to classical Roman times. Although it does not enjoy as much fame as the Colosseum, Trajan's Market maintains an important part of its original appearance and offers a really interesting visit.
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Palatine Hill
Located 40 meters above the Roman Forum, the Palatine Hill is the most central of the seven hills of Rome and forms one of the oldest parts of the city. The Palatine Hill is considered to be the birthplace of the Italian capital and is believed to have been inhabited since the year 1000 B.C. During the Republican Period Roman citizens belonging to the upper class settled in the Palatine Hill and built sumptuous palaces, of which important traces are still preserved. n the Palatine Hill you can see hundreds of ruins of the imposing buildings that were created for high Roman society in ancient times. Although the whole scene is impressive, these are some of the points that deserve special attention: Domus Flavia, House of Livia, House of Augustus, Farnese Gardens, Hippodrome of Domitian and Palatine museum. The Palatine Hill is a very pleasant place for a quiet stroll under the shadow of the trees while passing many of the preserved corners of ancient Rome.
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Roman Forum
The Roman Forum was where religious and public life in ancient Rome took place. The Forum is, along with the Colosseum, the greatest sign of the splendour of the Roman Empire that can be seen today. After the fall of the Empire, the Roman Forum was forgotten and little by little it was buried under the earth. Although in the 16th century the existence and location of the Forum was already known, it was not until the 20th century that excavations were carried out. Interestingly, the place where the Forum was built was originally a marshy area. In the 6th century B.C. the area was drained by means of the Cloaca Maxima, one of the first sewer systems in the world.
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Castel Sant Angelo
Known as Hadrian's Tomb, the Castel Sant'Angelo is a fortress located on the right bank of the Tiber, a short distance from the Vatican City. Construction of the building began in the year 135 under the direction of the Emperor Hadrian, who intended to use it as mausoleum for himself and his family. It was finished in the year 139 and a short time later, it became a military building, which in the year 403 would be integrated to the Aurelian Walls. The Castel Sant'Angelo is split into five floors which can be reached by a spiral ramp that first reaches the chamber of ashes and subsequently the cells in which a number of historical figures were incarcerated. Advancing toward the upper part of the castle you will find different rooms that functioned as a Papal residence, decorated with perfectly preserved frescoes from the Renaissance period, besides the extensive collection of weapons. In the upper floor there is a large terrace where you can take amazing photographs of the city from above. Advancing toward the upper part of the castle you will find different rooms that functioned as a Papal residence, decorated with perfectly preserved frescoes from the Renaissance period, besides the extensive collection of weapons. In the upper floor there is a large terrace where you can take amazing photographs of the city from above.
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Catacombs of Rome
The Catacombs of Rome are former underground burial grounds that date from the second to the fifth century and were principally used by Christians and Jews. The catacombs possess a huge number of subterranean passageways that form real labyrinths that are several kilometres long, along which rows of rectangular niches were dug out. Roman law at the time prohibited the burial of the deceased in the interior of the city, for which reason all of the catacombs were located outside of the walls. These separated and hidden places below ground constituted the perfect refuge in which the Christians could bury their own, freely using Christian symbols. The catacombs of Rome offer a very special visit in which the funeral remains of those buried many centuries ago can be seen. It is fascinating to travel through the dark and damp passageways, where you can see, in addition to the niches, some inscriptions with the names of the people that once occupied them. Due to the high infant mortality at that time, you can see a large quantity of spaces prepared for these children, alongside some larger graves in which the whole family was buried. During the visit, a guide who is specialized in the topic gives the visitors several interesting facts relating to the catacombs and the period in which they were operating.
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Basilica of St. Peter
St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the holiest temples for Christendom and one of the largest churches in the world. Besides, it is where the Pope presides many liturgies all year round. The construction of the new basilica began in 1506, when the old basilica had been torn down, and was finished in 1626. It was consecrated on 18 November, 1626. Several renowned architects designed the temple, highlighting the works of Bramante, Michelangelo and Carlo Maderno. The basilica was called St Peter’s after one of Jesus’s twelve disciples known as Saint Peter, who became one of the founders of the Catholic Church and was executed in Rome and buried where the Basilica now stands. Visiting St Peter’s Basilica is an unforgettable experience when staying in Rome. Visitors mustn’t miss out on climbing to the top of the dome, where a stunning view of St Peter’s Square, and if the day is clear of most of the city, awaits them.
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Palazzo dei Papi
The Pope's residence was established in the bishop's palace which, for the occasion, it was enlarged and adapted to the magnificence and solemnity required for a papal seat.
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The Parco dei Mostri (Park of Monsters) of Bomarzo
The Parco dei Mostri (Park of Monsters) of Bomarzo, a large park with gardens, buildings and fantastic sculptures, is a fun and different excursion, one that also inspired Salvador Dalì; meanwhile, the ancient village of Montecalvello develops around a castle where the famous Balthus, a contemporary painter, lived for thirty years.
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Fontana Maggiore
The Fontana Maggiore was created between 1278 and 1280 by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano to celebrate the completion of the new aqueduct. It was designed by Friar Bevignate, with the aid, for the hydraulic side, of Boninsegna from Venice.
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The Civic Museum of Palazzo Pubblico
The Museo Civico, the city museum of Siena is situated at the heart of the city, in the first floor of the city hall known as Palazzo Pubblico in the main square of Piazza del Campo. Palazzo Pubblico is still used for its original function, for the municipal offices of Siena.
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The Tower of Mangia
Looming 102 meters over the Piazza del Campo, the elegant, sleek tower to the Palazzo Pubblico is the third tallest in all of Italy. Built from red brick, as a symbol of its affinity to the “commoner” the tower is 87 meters tall of brick and the remaining is a white travertine, most probably to make it visually more prominent.
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Herculaneum
Ercolano, known to many as Herculaneum, is just a few miles from Pompeii and 150 miles south of Rome, close to Naples. In many respects Ercolano is a smaller version of Pompeii, both are buried Roman cities that have been remarkably preserved when excavated. A lot of people prefer Ercolano to Pompeii as it is a much more compact size and has significantly less visitors. Both sites are managed by the same people and it is easy to visit both in one day using a combined ticket and the local train which connects both. Both sites are managed by the same people and it is easy to visit both in one day using a combined ticket and the local train which connects both.
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Pompeii
Pompeii was probably founded by the Oscans around the 8th century BC. This ancient Italic people settled on the southern slopes of Mount Vesuvius along the banks of the Sarno River, which was navigable at the time. Pompeii became an important commercial center early on, catching the interest of the invading Greeks and Etruscans. The Etruscans were conquered on the waters off Cuma, and the city came under domination by the Samnites in the 5th century BC
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Castello Arechi
This castle, located on the Bonadies Mountain, was built in the VII century on behalf of the Lombard Prince Arechi II who moved the capital of the Dukedom from Benevento to Salerno. To this day, the castle still dominates and guards over the city.
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The Palazzo Vecchio Museum & Tower
Palazzo Vecchio offers Roman ruins, a Medieval fortress and amazing Renaissance chambers and paintings. A microcosm where art and history have been indissolubly bound for centuries. Palazzo Vecchio is the main symbol of civil power for the city of Florence, whose original project is attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio. Construction on the solid fortress began in 1299 above the ruins of the destroyed Uberti Ghibelline towers, testimony of the final victory of the Guelph faction. The entire construction also rests on top of the ancient theater of the Roman colony of Florentia (dating back to the first century A.D.), whose ruins can be admired in the underground level. This area can be visited with a separate ticket or a combination ticket which includes the Palazzo Vecchio Museum and the Archaeological site. The area is suggestive organized with information and an interesting film to help you understand exactly what you are looking at underground.
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Piazza della Signoria
The Piazza della Signoria has been the center of political life in Florence since the 14th century with the prominent Palazzo Vecchio overlooking the square. It was the scene of great triumphs, such as the return of the Medici in 1530 as well as the Bonfire of the Vanities instigated by Savonarola, who was then himself burned at the stake here in 1498 after he was denounced by the Inquisition as a heretic. A marble circle inscription on the piazza shows the location where he was burned. The sculptures in Piazza della Signoria bristle with political connotations, many of which are fiercely contradictory. The David (the original is in the Galleria dell'Accademia) by Michelangelo was placed outside the Palazzo Vecchio as a symbol of the Republic's defiance of the tyrannical Medici.
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Domus Del Chirurgo
In the heart of the modern city of Rimini you’ll find some of the best preserved domestic mosaics from the roman world – the so-called ‘Surgeon’s House’ (Domus Del Chirurgo).
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The Tiberius Bridge
il Ponte di Tiberio, was started during the reign of Augustus, as part of his extensive series of public works for Rimini, but takes its name from Tiberius, the Emporor under whose reign the bridge was finished. Built in seven years, between 14 and 21.AD.
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Piazza delle Vettovaglie
Piazza dei Cavalieri and Piazza Dante Alighieri are the centres of student life and in the streets around about there are many typical and affordable restaurants. In Piazza delle Vettovaglie there is the historic food market.
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Knights Square
The Knights’ Square or Piazza dei Cavalieri, lined with splendidly decorated buildings, has for centuries been the political heart of Pisa and is the second most important square after The Square of Miracles. A visit to the Renaissance church of Santo Stefano dei Cavalieri will give you a real insight in the colourful maritime history of the city. The Knights’ Square – what can you see there? - Palazzo dei Cavalieri was also known as “della Carovana” (Palace of the Convoy). This name derives from the three-year training period undertaken by the initiates of the Order, called “la Carovana”. Vasari embellished it with exquisite sgrafitti, that represent allegorical figures and signs of the zodiac, and the busts of the Grandukes of Tuscany. In front of it stands the huge statue of a victorious Cosimo I proudly ‘squashing’ the head of a dolphin, as a symbol of his naval victories. Today the palace hosts the Normale di Pisa University. The Church of the Knights of the Holy and Military Order of St. Stephen was also designed by Vasari (1565–1569). It contains Ottoman and Saracen naval banners captured by the Knights of St. Stephen. The ceiling shows off paintings with historical episodes involving the order, like the “Return of the Fleet” from the Battle of Lepanto.
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The Leaning Tower
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is one of the most remarkable architectural structures from medieval Europe.Tower of Pisa stands at 60 metres and until 1990 was leaning at about a 10 degree angle.
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Pisa Cathedral
Pisa Cathedral is a medieval Roman Catholic cathedral dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, in the Piazza dei Miracoli. Founded in 1064 and consecrated with great pomp on September 26th 1118, the Cathedral was built in two stages, one by architect Buscheto, who created the original layout with the basilican body with four aisles and one nave, a transept with one nave and two aisles, and the dome on the cross vault, and one by Rainaldo, who extended the building and the façade. The outer facing of the Cathedral is decorated in alternating black and white shades in stripes of Arab influence and a massive use of reused materials from Roman monuments that emphasised the greatness of the city of Pisa, “altera Roma”. Inside, the nave is edged by two rows of monolithic columns made of granite from the Isle of Elba, flanked by four aisles separated by smaller colonnades with large womenís galleries on top, covered by cross vaults and looking out onto the nave through some double-lancet and four-lancet windows. The nave is covered by a wooden coffered ceiling that in the XVII century replaced the original exposed trusses.
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Square of Miracles
The Campo dei Miracoli in Pisa, or the Square of Miracles, was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO 25 years ago. The square is not located in the center of the city as you might imagine but to the north-west of the fortified wall, almost out of the town; there probably wasn’t enough space to use at the time the project got underway so this is the site decided upon. Since the times of the Etruscans, the three structures found in the piazza have been considered central to religious life, symbolizing the main stages of a human’s life
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Baptistery
The Baptistery of San Giovanni was founded on 15 August 1152. It is here that the Sacrament of Baptism is administered and the Christian embarks upon the path of Faith. The reason that such a fascinating and enigmatic building was constructed was certainly the wish to endow the cathedral with a worthy adjunct: a Baptistery that, in terms of position, size, materials and style, would be in harmony with the majestic building that already stood opposite.
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Camposanto Monumentale
The Cemetery is the last monument on Piazza del Duomo, its long marble wall flanking the northern boundary and completing its shape. It was founded in 1277 to accommodate the graves that until then were scattered all around the Cathedral. Archbishop Federico Visconti wanted the building to be a “large and dignified, secluded and enclosed place”. This is how one of the oldest Christian Medieval architectures for the devotion of the dead came into being.
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National Archaeological Museum
The National Archaeological Museum of Olbia is one of the places to see in the Sardinian commune. The exhibition area illustrates the history of the city of Olbia, the "happy city" of the Greeks, crossed by different civilizations, from the Phoenician, to the Greek, to the Roman.
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The Pinacoteca Art Gallery
The Pinacoteca is located not far from The Due Torri (the Two Towers, symbols of Bologna), inside the former St. Ignatius Jesuit Novitiate, built in the second half of the 15th century house young men who were to join the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order). Besides the Pinacoteca, the building is also the headquarters of the Accademia delle Belle Arti (Figurative Arts Academy) as well as the Historical Artistic and Ethno-anthropological Heritage Authority
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Land Gate
The entrance to the Old Town is through the Land Gate (Kopnena vrata) at the south of the Old Town. The gate’s front is covered by a triumphal arch built in honour of commander Leonardo Foscolo, who was instrumental in the defence of Dalmatia during the 17th century.
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Roman Forum Zadar
The forum in Zadar has been built by the first Roman emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Octavian of what the inscriptions in stone dating back to the 3rd century give evidence when the construction came to an end. It was once closed by a portico with galleries on the first floor, and under the portico there were shops. Since the first century B.C. the forum has been the main gathering place for Roman soldiers, religious people, bureaucrats of the Republic and later of the Empire, as also for traders and all Zadar citizens in ancient times. In the time of its full glory, the forum was surrounded from three sides by a magnificent portico. It is indispensable for a walk and also one of the symbols of the city.
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Rectors Palace
Historical sources mention Rector´s Palace in Zadar as soon as the 13th century. From that time until today the edifice has gone through many changes including the last reconstruction and the opening on February 10th 2017.
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People's Square
Everything that ever mattered in Zadar, since the medieval period, happened or was heard of on the People's Square. It is the centre of urban life, a source that sucks you in with its energy and beauty, and then leaves the people passing-by to some of the other urban sensations. The People's Square in Zadar is the medieval Platea Magna, the centre of life and nowadays centre of town administration together with the City Loggia. From the People's square all the ways lead in all directions; to the Kalelarga, the Waterfront, the Five Wells Square or to the market and fish market. In The City Loggia on People's Square, that was built already in the 13th century, Zadar inhabitants have been gathering and have been discussing the most important city matters, while on the other side can be found the City Guard from the second half of the 16th century with a watch on a tower that has been in function incessantly since 1803.
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