The official Vatican City travel guide was released, aimed at making life easier for pilgrims and tourists, and offering accurate and exhaustive details for scholars and historians.
The "General Guide to Vatican City" says it's trying to fill the gap
created over the 80 years since the Vatican published its first official
guide one year after the city-state was established in 1929.
Even though there are many other travel guides out there, "what was
still missing was an essential, rigorous work that illustrates" every
aspect of Vatican City, the guide's introduction says.
The dark blue paperback was published in English, Spanish, French and
Italian in a joint venture by Jaca Book -- a Milanese publishing company
-- the Vatican Museums and the Vatican publishing house, Libreria
In 447 pages, the 2012 guide packs in colorful photos, maps, contact
information and extensive details about the artistic, archaeological,
architectural and historical patrimony housed on Vatican City State's
The smallest country in the world has "one of the highest concentrations of art works in the world," the guide says.
What makes the guide unlike other travel guides is that the sections
about the Vatican Museums were written by the museum departments' own
curators; the sections on the Vatican Library and Secret Archives were
written by the offices' top officials; and other sections were written
by Vatican experts or top-notch outside scholars.
Detailed itineraries are offered for St. Peter's Basilica, St. Peter's
tomb, the Apostolic Palace and the Vatican gardens, grottos and museums.
The guide's appendices give practical details about visiting Vatican
City State, including how to get tickets to a papal Mass or audience.
It provides opening hours for major Vatican offices as well as contact
information and details for many Vatican services such as how to request
a papal blessing on parchment.