Its stones were quarried for other buildings and it was not until the 18th and 19th centuries that systematic excavations brought the ancient buildings to light from under a 10-meter layer of earth and rubble.Highlights not to miss are the Temple of Antoninus Pius, the Temple of Castor and Pollux, the Temple of Saturn, the Arch of Septimus Severus, the Curia, the Temple of Vesta, and the Arch of Titus.The Vatican is the smallest independent state in the world, with an area of less than half a square kilometer, most of it enclosed by the Vatican walls. This compact space offers much for tourists to see, between its museums and the great basilica itself. Peter's Basilica is Michelangelo's masterpiece, Pieta, along with statuary and altars by Bernini and others.The unquestioned highlight of the Vatican museums is the Sistine Chapel, whose magnificent frescoed ceiling is Michelangelo's most famous work.Inside the Vatican Palace are the Raphael Rooms, the Borgia Apartments, the Vatican Library, and a number of museums that include the Picture Gallery, Museum of Secular Art, Etruscan Museum, and others.The collections you can see in these cover everything from papal coaches to 20th-century art reflecting religious themes.
The fountain was created for Pope Clement XII between 17 by Nicolò Salvi, and built against the rear wall of the palace of the Dukes of Poli.
The Colosseum was large enough for theatrical performances, festivals, circuses, or games, which the Imperial Court and high officials watched from the lowest level, aristocratic Roman families on the second, the populace on the third and fourth.
Beside the Colosseum stands the almost equally familiar Arch of Constantine, a triumphal arch erected by the Senate to honor the emperor as "liberator of the city and bringer of peace" after his victory in the battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312. Peter's Square, an area ruled by the Pope, supreme head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Ticket lines for the Vatican's top attractions are incredibly long, and you can spend several hours waiting in line.
To save time, purchase a Skip the Line: Vatican Museums with St.