Twelve hundred years later, the original St. Peter's was replaced by this, the most glorious church in all Christendom. Rick: A stamp for my passport please. Vatican Museums: Follow Rick Steves' advice - See 38,927 traveler reviews, 46,000 candid photos, and great deals for Vatican City, Italy, at Tripadvisor. Then the emperor Caligula moved it to imperial Rome, where it stood impassively watching the slaughter of Christians at the racecourse and the torture of Protestants by the Inquisition. Vatican City is embedded in the city of Rome. Two centuries ago, there were dozens of independent states in German-speaking Europe. Everything you need is here. The Palazzo Pubblico, or “Palace of the People,” is guarded by some of San Marino's tiny security force, in their distinctive uniforms. And these rooms celebrate pre-Christian philosophy. This is the smallest independent country on earth. Any guesses? The mountains that kept the principality both isolated and poor are now a source of its prosperity. You can survey the entire country from this lofty perch. If paying an entrance fee to lose money is not your idea of fun, you can access all games for free in the plebeian, American-style casino, adjacent to the old casino. The Vatican Museums can be extremely crowded, with waits of up to two hours just to buy tickets. The entire day is devoted for the Vatican City. When the modern nation of Italy was united, it absorbed most of the Papal States, including the city of Rome. The long rectangular building is the Vatican Museum with the adjacent Sistine Chapel. The Vatican is the big little winner. The casino is intended to make you feel comfortable while losing money. The Vatican has its own postal service. Humble Monaco was suddenly on the Grand Tour map — the place for the vacationing aristocracy to play. It's visited by hordes of tourists daily, and it's the capital of a holy empire with more than a billion subjects worldwide. Many offer low or no taxes, which encourage businesses and individuals from other countries to come and support the local economy. For sixty years the pope was holed up here, behind the Vatican Walls. To this day Liechtenstein enjoys a close working relationship with its Swiss neighbors. Each one has survived centuries of warfare, treaties, and reshaped borders — usually thanks to a combination of diplomatic skill and luck. The museums are open until 6:00 PM - they start clearing the galleries at 5:30 - so you'd still have plenty of time left after (what I assume is) a 3-hour tour. No problem — just head back to Switzerland, and check another country off your list. In about 65 A.D., the apostle Peter was crucified within sight of this obelisk. Children ask Babbo Natale for gifts. We will be in Rome December 16-21. 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