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The Vatican

Famous for being the smallest nation in the world, Vatican City is home to the Pope and the highest per-capita crime rate in the world; I’m sure that the two are unrelated. It’s not really a party town, but there are several parallels between the Vatican and an exclusive nightclub:

 

1. There are surely bouncers: The Vatican’s exclusive gendarmes are the famous “Swiss Guards,” who, like bouncers, don’t take any crap and are often mal-adjusted (in 1998, on killed two people and killed himself).

 

2. There is a strict dress code. No short sleeved shirts, no excessive jewelry, and no attire sporting vulgar slogans. Also, remember ladies (and pudgy men): no cleavage.

 

3. It’s always too crowded. The Vatican is a tourist hotspot because of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. Get there early and off-season if you want to avoid the crowds.

 

The Vatican is the only site on the UNESCO world heritage list that consists of an entire country. Everyone has heard about St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, but you really have to see it in person to appreciate it. The works by Michelangelo and Botticelli are some of the finest artistic works in the history of humanity, and are must-sees for anyone who is even remotely interested in art. If you’re a Catholic, Vatican City has a special significance for you, since it is here that all decisions regarding doctrine are made. Inscrutably popular, poorly written books by Dan Brown (which inflate the Vatican’s control over the world) notwithstanding, It’s really pretty amazing that such a tiny country can have a such a disproportionately huge influence on world events through its moral and spiritual authority alone.

 

The Vatican also has arguably the best and most efficient postal service in the world, to the point that Romans will drive to the Vatican to drop off international mail rather than mail locally from Italian postal boxes. If you need to mail anything, now is your chance.

 

Anyone looking to read competant fiction about intrigue within the Catholic Church should pick up a copy of The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco