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The Vatican

Top Reasons to Go to the Vatican

Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling: The most sublime example of artistry in the world, this 10,000-square-foot fresco took the artist four long, neck-craning years to finish.

St. Peter's Dome: Climb the claustrophobic and twisting Renaissance stairs to the very top for a view that you will really feel you've earned (or take the elevator on the right of the main church portico).

Papal Blessing: Join the singing, flag-waving throngs from around the world at the Wednesday general audience on St. Peter's Square (October–June only, weather permitting).

Vatican Museums: Savor one of the Western world's best art collections—from the Apollo Belvedere to Raphael's Transfiguration, this is pure Masterpiece Theater. Taken all together, culture here approaches critical mass.

St. Peter's Basilica: Stand in awe of both the seat of world Catholicism and a Renaissance masterwork.

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