The Vatican City may be the heart of Catholicism but as anyone who has ever been there knows, it is also the centre of a thriving and ruthless tourist trade. This is nothing new – pilgrims have meant big business for hundreds of years.
The hard sell starts on the Ponte S. Angelo leading to Castel S. Angelo where street vendors flog fake Prada and Fendi bags. It continues on Via della Conciliazione, which leads up to the basilica, with tourist shops selling a multitude of guidebooks, postcards and kitsch paraphernalia. Mobile stands sell overpriced snacks, street sellers proffer rosaries and other trinkets, restaurant staff hand out fliers, and dozens of English-speaking tour guides pitch visits of the basilica and the Vatican museums.Read More