Where Does the Pope Live?

The official residence of the Pope in Vatican City.
The official residence of the Pope in Vatican City.

The Pope lives in an official place called the Apostolic Palace. While many refer to it as the apostolic palace, others know it as the Vatican Palace, Papal Palace, or palace of the Vatican. Located in Vatican City, which is a country on its own, the palace is under the reign of the Pope. Once a pope takes office, the apostolic palace is set and renovated according to his desires. During the months of July to September, the Pope lives in an official residence meant for summer, Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace. Anyone elected as Pope has the right to decide as to whether to stay in the palace or to stay in a place of his preference.

History of the Papal Palace

In the fifth century, a papal palace was constructed near the old St. Peters Basilica. Pope Symmachus constructed the palace to serve as an alternative residence to the Lateran Palace. Pope Eugene III sponsored the construction of a second fortified palace. The palace underwent modifications in the 12th century under Pope Innocent III. Major additions and decorations of the palace took place under the leadership of various popes including Pope Sixtus V, Pope Urban VII, and Pope Innocent XI among others. Construction of the current palace at the Vatican took place mainly between 1471 and 1605. The palace covers 162,000 meters square. The palace contains papal apartments, Roman Catholic offices, chapels, art galleries, museums, and the Vatican Library.

Facilities Within the Apostolic Palace

The Apostolic Palace is complex; it has several apartments, museums, Catholic Church offices, public and private chapels, libraries, and other buildings that serve different purposes. Most of the administrative offices held at the palace do not serve papal activities but other functions related to the church. It also contains renowned rooms like Raphael's rooms and the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican palace, therefore, serves religious purposes as well as administrative functions of the Vatican. The purposes include exercising its role in social, political, and economic responsibilities as a sovereign state. The palace also houses the Vatican Observatory.

Tours of the Apostolic Palace

There are several museums and palace sites, which consist of rooms or galleries. Galleries and museums inter-connect in such a way that visitors can easily move in a sequential series. Among the renowned museums are Etruscan and Gregorian Egyptian museums, which are a home to various important antiquities. Pictures and paintings running from 12th century to 19th-century, rest in Pinacoteca Art Gallery while donations from Catholic missionaries are stored in Ethnological Missionary Museum. Sistine Chapel has the greatest roomful of artistic Christian works. It is also in this chapel that highlights like the life of Moses, Christ, making Peter the head of the church, and Temptations of Jesus lie.


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