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Vatican City - Italy

St Peter's Square, Vatican City Vatican MuseumSt Peter\'s Basilica, RomeSistine Chapel, VaticanStained Glass, Vatican

The worlds smallest country, the vatican City draws millions of visitors to both the most sacred catholic church and the incredible musuems of treasures collected over the centuries by the popes.

St Peter's Square is huge and so are the queues for the Catholic world's most famous church, the Basilica of St Peter. The square is surrounded by massive columns with a huge Egyptian obelisk in the centre and is very busy with visitors.

The Basilica is massive and cavernous inside. There is a large number of statues within, and fantastic multicoloured marble flooring throughout. The ceilings and columns are equally impressive and there are many smaller chapels inside apart from the main altar. The whole building is topped by an enormous dome which was designed by Michelangelo. You can climb this for a closer look at the detailed ceilings

The other attraction of the Vatican City beside St Peter's is the extensive museum complex. Once inside the building there is a maze of rooms containing all manner of treasures, art and sculpture. There are sections dedicated to Greek, Eqyptian, Etruscan and Roman statues as well as massive tapestries and renaissance frescos. There are wonderfully intricate mosaic floors and ceilings beautifully decorated with all manner of Christian icons and imagery.

The culmination of the tour is the famous Sistine Chapel, built as a private chapel for the Pope, and covered completely in frescos by some of the Renaissance's greatest painters. Dominating the chapel are Micelangelo's masterpieces, the 'Creation' across the entire ceiling, and the 'Last Judgement' behind the altar. These look good at first glance, but it's only when you've had chance to appreciate the sheer size and incredible detail of his works that you realise how amazing they really are. Every time you look, new figures and scenes appear.

The Vatican Museums are more than enough to occupy a day, and certainly a whole morning if time is limited.

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