Musei Vaticani, Prati Apartments

Saint Peter’s Basilica:
Probably the most magnificent and impressive religious building ever. The best artists worked on it for over a hundred years (since 1506 until 1626, date of its dedication): Bramante, Rafael, Michelangelo, Bernini, Donatello, just to remember some of them. It was built on the old Basilica built by emperor Constantine in the IV century, which was partly demolished, in the exact position where the apostle Peter was buried after his crucifixion. It would be impossible to describe in few lines the whole building process, all the historical facts linked to the Basilica; anyways it’s important to know that the dome section was projected and made by Michelangelo based on a Bramante’s first project and the square and its arcade was a Bernini’s work.

The Vatican Museums:
First, even compared to Florence’s Uffizi Art Gallery, the Vatican Museums are the most visited touristic destination in Italy with over 4 million visitors per year.
It is a huge collection of paintings, tapestries, frescos, sculptures and archeological finds (it has a very important Egyptian Museum and an Etrurian one)
During the visit of the Museums you can also stare for hours admiring the most famous ceiling ever made, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel’s fresco.
The Museums are closed during Catholic festivities and on Sundays (except for the last one each month), otherwise they’re always open. One exception was made in 1939 when Adolf Hitler came to visit Mussolini in Rome. That time Pope Pio IX closed the Museum’s gates to avoid to meet him and to keep him off the Vatican.

Prati’s district:
It’s weird to imagine the now crowded neighborhood around Saint Peter’s Basilica was about 140 years ago, nothing more than countryside and swamp, but it was. The first urbanization process started around 1870. That’s why it’s the only district in the center made with a modern geometrical streets plan. The elegant buildings are Umbertinian style and the villas are Liberty. The most important areas are: Piazza del Risorgimento, Piazza Cavour and last but not least Via Cola di Rienzo with its hundreds of shops.