Vatican City

Occupying a large area in central and eastern Italy, Vatican City is a small state in Rome. It is a state within a state. It is the smallest country in the world and is ruled by the Pope.


Vatican City is the Papal residence. It began as an independent state when Pope Pius XI and Mussolini signed the Lateran Treaty. In this convention, Vatican City was recognized by the Mussolini government as an independent state. Therein, the Vatican was specifically mentioned as a newly created state. Aside from the Lateran Treaty, the Concordat in 1929 also guaranteed Vatican City its identity as a state.

Two-thirds of the ecclesiastical state was conquered in 1866 by the republican troops under Garibaldi. Fortunately, Latium was maintained for the Pope under the support of the French Emperor Napoleon III. However, Napoleon withdrew his troops in 1870. Because of the war wherein France was involved with Germany, he sent his teams here. Latium, the area where the Pope was in Rome, was added to the established Kingdom of Italy in 1861. With that, the ecclesiastical power was almost wiped out no thanks to the liberal nationalists. Despite the fact that the Pope had no power since 1870, he still had a say in diplomatic relations.

After his loss, the Pope still refused to leave the area. He considered himself a prisoner of the Vatican. The popes who succeeded him continued to fight over legitimacy. In 1929, after almost 60 years, they won and the Pope got Vatican City.

Vatican City is the site of the tomb of Saint Peter. The Papal Residence is situated on top of the tomb itself. It is also the home of Renaissance and Baroque art.

Pop speaks at Saint Peter

Accessible to pilgrims and tourists

  • The St. Peter’s Basilica
  • St. Peter’s Square
  • The Sistine Chapel
  • The Vatican Museum
  • The Vatican Gardens
  • The Apostolic Palace

Open only to accredited scientists

  • The Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
  • The Archivio Segreto Vaticano

Inside Vatican museum

Vatican has about 826 inhabitants. The population consists mainly of clerics such as nuns, monks, priests, cardinals and the famous Swiss Guards.

Approximately 552 people have Vatican citizenship and thus a passport. Citizenship in Vatican is not and cannot be acquired by birth unlike all other states of the world. The Vatican citizenship is acquired by naturalization.

Vatican City is on the list of cultural heritage of UNESCO.

Vatican City, Italy

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