Travellers usefull tips
Things to know about Vatican City State
Capital: Vatican City
The Religion of Vatican City State is Catholicism.
Language: Italian and Latin. Latin is used for official documents.
Climate is Mediterranean. In summer the temperature is about 25°C; in winter – about 5°C. From June to September is a warm period, and from December to March – a cold period of the year. So you’re advised to visit Vatican from May to September.
Currency: Euro, which is equal to one hundred euro cents. Circulated banknotes are in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euros, and also coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. Vatican issues its own euro coins – on one side of the coins you can recognise Pope John Paul II.
Means of payment: credit cards aren’t accepted there. You can pay in cash or use traveller’s cheques.
Currency exchange: You can exchange currency out of Vatican – in Italian banks, exchange offices and post offices. Banks are usually open from 8:30am till 05:30pm on weekdays. They have a break from 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Saturday and Sunday are days off. You can also convert currency at airports, where exchange offices are available 24 hours a day, but exchange rate is less profitable there. In the state, you can find machines that accept American dollars.
Calls to Vatican City from other countries
The international dialling code of Vatican City is +396. To make a call to Vatican City, dial +396 – dialling code – phone number.
Calls from Vatican City to other countries
To make a call from a mobile phone from Vatican City, you should dial “+” – country code – phone number. If you call from a landline, you should dial an international access code – country code – necessary phone number.
You can find payphones everywhere outside palaces and sacred objects. Mostly, these are Telecom Italia payphones, as well as Infostrada phones. You’ll need a card of a necessary company to make a call. At post offices, you’ll pay after a call. Phone cards are the most convenient way of payment. You can buy them at any tobacco kiosk. You can also use tokens or small coins, but most machines work with phone cards.
Using of mobile phones is strictly prohibited in church institutions. Italian mobile phone standards serve outdoors.
You can buy a sim-card, which allows you to save money on calls within the country.
Useful phone numbers in Vatican City:
Information desk – 100
Police – 112
Ambulance – 118
Fire Department – 115
Accidents – 113
Emergency vehicle service – 116
Time zone: UTC / GMT +1 hour
Saving time is annually carried out on the last Sunday of March at 2:00am (an hour ahead) and on the last Sunday of October at 3:00am (an hour back).
Floor numbering in Vatican
The ground floor is marked as “T” («pian terreno», which means "overground floor”). The next floor will be the first one etc.
Entry to and exit from Vatican City are not regulated. There is no limit to the amount of currency you can bring in and out. The rules are regulated by the customs legislation of Italy.
From the countries located out of the EU territory you’re allowed to bring in for a person:
- up to 200 cigarettes or 100 small cigarettes , or 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco;
- up to 2 litres of wine or 1 l of alcohol beverage (containing more than 22% of alcohol), or 2 l of beverages (containing less than 22% of alcohol), or 2l of sparkling wine;
- up to 250 ml of perfume of 50 ml of cologne.
From the EU countries you can bring in:
- up to 800 cigarettes or 400 small cigarettes , 200 cigars or 1 kilo of tobacco;
- up to 10l of alcohol beverage (which have more than 22% of alcohol), 20l of beverages (which have less than 22% of alcohol); up to 60l of sparkling wine, 90l of table wine and 110l of beer.
Shopping in Vatican is one of the Italian features. Once you find yourself on the territory of Vatican City, you’ll see that prices in this state are lower than prices in Rome by 20% – 40%. Here you can buy leather, porcelain, crystal goods and other souvenirs. The system of seasonal discounts is widely spread, especially in winter and spring. From January 7 to March 1 is the main Italian sale.
Shops located on the territory of Vatican are open from 8:00am to 7:00pm seven days a week.
1) Walking. It’s useless to go across Vatican by taxi or bus. The territory of the country isn’t more than a half of square kilometer, so it is easy to go on foot.
2) Subway. You can get to Vatican by Roman subway. In this case you’ll need to get off at Ottaviano Station. The fare is about $0.65 for a ticket, or $5.8 for a block of 10 tickets. Vatican also has a season ticket, which is accepted in subway, trams and buses.
3) Tram. You can also come to Vatican by train. From Roma San Pietro Railway Station you can get to Vatican – this single railway line is 700 meters long. Its station built in 1932 is located in the south-west of St Peter's Cathedral. Vatican railway system is connected with the Italian Railway System.
4) Aircraft. The country doesn’t have any airport, but there is a helipad – Vatican Heliport. It was built in 1976. It was designed to provide connection of Vatican City with international Rome airports, such as Fiumicino and Ciampino.
Car rental: To rent a car, you must have a credit card and an international driving license. A modest car to rent will cost no less than 90 American dollars a day. The longer rental period, the lower is daily cost. You should know that most of the streets in Vatican have restricted vehicle access. Parking place next to St Paul’s Square is always full of vehicles, and is very expensive.
Vatican doesn’t have any water transport.
There aren’t hotels in the country.
Tipping in Vatican: you’re advised to leave about 10-15% of the total.
National Holidays in Vatican:
25 December – Christmas Day
8 December – Immaculate Conception
4 November – Day of National Unity
1 November – All Saints Day
15 August – Assumption Day
1 May – Saint Joseph the Worker Day
25 April – Day of Liberation from Fascism
6 January – Epiphany
1 January – New Year
Visa: citizens of the following countries, such as Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the UK, Hungary, Germany (excluding Büsingen on the Upper Rhine), Greece (excluding Athos), Denmark (excluding Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Iceland, Ireland, Italy (excluding enclave Levigno), Cyprus, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway (excluding Svalbard and Bjørnøya), Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Finland, France, Spain, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Estonia can travel around Vatican without a visa. If you are a citizen of another country, you must have an Italian visa or a Schengen visa.
Electricity in Vatican
Mains voltage – 220V, frequency – 50 Hz. Hotels have sockets of European standard, so you may need an adapter.
Behaviour rules in Vatican
Since Vatican is the Catholic capital of the world, people follow Catholic traditions and etiquette there. If you are going to visit a cathedral or a museum in Vatican, you must wear long skirt or trousers and clothes that cover your arms. In Vatican you’d better not spit, swear or behave provocatively. You shouldn’t speak loudly in a holy place. It is prohibited to smoke at public places. It is a rule to give alms to the poor in Vatican.