Vatican City (/ˈvætɪkən/ (listen)), officially Vatican City State (Italian: Stato della Città del Vaticano;[d] Latin: Status Civitatis Vaticanae),[e][f] is an independent city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. Established with the Lateran Treaty (1929), it is distinct from yet under "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction" of the Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes).[g] With an area of 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of about 1,000, it is the smallest state in the world by both area and population.
The Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state (a type of theocracy) ruled by the pope who is, religiously speaking, the bishop of Rome and head of the Catholic Church. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergy of various national origins. Since the return of the popes from Avignon in 1377, they have generally resided at the Apostolic Palace within what is now Vatican City, although at times residing instead in the Quirinal Palace in Rome or elsewhere.
The Holy See dates back to early Christianity, and is the primate episcopal see of the Catholic Church, with 1.3 billion Catholics around the world distributed in the Latin Church and 23 Eastern Catholic Churches. The independent Vatican City-state, on the other hand, came into existence in 11 February 1929 by the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy, which spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756–1870), which had previously encompassed much of central Italy.
Within the Vatican City are religious and cultural sites such as St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. They feature some of the world's most famous paintings and sculptures. The unique economy of Vatican City is supported financially by the sale of postage stamps and souvenirs, fees for admission to museums, and sales of publications.
Vatican City State
Location of Vatican City (green)
in Europe (dark grey) – [Legend]
and largest city
|Vatican City (city-state)|
|Government||Unitary absolute monarchy under an ecclesiastical and elective theocracy|
|Independence from the Kingdom of Italy|
|11 February 1929|
|0.44 km2 (0.17 sq mi) (196th)|
• 2017 estimate
|2,272/km2 (5,884.5/sq mi) (6th)|
|Currency||Euro (€) (EUR)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
• Summer (DST)
|ISO 3166 code||VA|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Criteria||Cultural: i, ii, iv, vi|
|Inscription||1984 (8th Session)|
The name Vatican City was first used in the Lateran Treaty, signed on 11 February 1929, which established the modern city-state. The name is taken from Vatican Hill, the geographic location of the state. "Vatican" is derived from the name of an Etruscan settlement, Vatica or Vaticum meaning garden, located in the general area the Romans called vaticanus ager, "Vatican territory".
The official Italian name of the city is Città del Vaticano or, more formally, Stato della Città del Vaticano, meaning "Vatican City State". Although the Holy See (which is distinct from the Vatican City) and the Catholic Church use Ecclesiastical Latin in official documents, the Vatican City officially uses Italian. The Latin name is Status Civitatis Vaticanæ; this is used in official documents by not just the Holy See, but in most official Church and Papal documents.
The name "Vatican" was already in use in the time of the Roman Republic for a marshy area on the west bank of the Tiber across from the city of Rome. Under the Roman Empire, many villas were constructed there, after Agrippina the Elder (14 BC – 18 October AD 33) drained the area and laid out her gardens in the early 1st century AD. In AD 40, her son, Emperor Caligula (31 August AD 12–24 January AD 41; r. 37–41) built in her gardens a circus for charioteers (AD 40) that was later completed by Nero, the Circus Gaii et Neronis, usually called, simply, the Circus of Nero.
Even before the arrival of Christianity, it is supposed that this originally uninhabited part of Rome (the ager vaticanus) had long been considered sacred, or at least not available for habitation. A shrine dedicated to the Phrygian goddess Cybele and her consort Attis remained active long after the Constantinian Basilica of St. Peter was built nearby.
The particularly low quality of Vatican water, even after the reclamation of the area, was commented on by the poet Martial (40 – between 102 and 104 AD). Tacitus wrote, that in AD 69, the Year of the Four Emperors, when the northern army that brought Vitellius to power arrived in Rome, "a large proportion camped in the unhealthy districts of the Vatican, which resulted in many deaths among the common soldiery; and the Tiber being close by, the inability of the Gauls and Germans to bear the heat and the consequent greed with which they drank from the stream weakened their bodies, which were already an easy prey to disease".
The Vatican Obelisk was originally taken by Caligula from Heliopolis in Egypt to decorate the spina of his circus and is thus its last visible remnant. This area became the site of martyrdom of many Christians after the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64. Ancient tradition holds that it was in this circus that Saint Peter was crucified upside-down.
Opposite the circus was a cemetery separated by the Via Cornelia. Funeral monuments and mausoleums and small tombs as well as altars to pagan gods of all kinds of polytheistic religions were constructed lasting until before the construction of the Constantinian Basilica of St. Peter's in the first half of the 4th century. Remains of this ancient necropolis were brought to light sporadically during renovations by various popes throughout the centuries, increasing in frequency during the Renaissance until it was systematically excavated by orders of Pope Pius XII from 1939 to 1941. The Constantinian basilica was built in 326 over what was believed to be the tomb of Saint Peter, buried in that cemetery.
From then on, the area became more populated in connection with activity at the basilica. A palace was constructed nearby as early as the 5th century during the pontificate of Pope Symmachus (reigned 498–514).
Popes gradually came to have a secular role as governors of regions near Rome. They ruled the Papal States, which covered a large portion of the Italian peninsula, for more than a thousand years until the mid-19th century, when all the territory belonging to the papacy was seized by the newly created Kingdom of Italy.
For most of this time the popes did not live at the Vatican. The Lateran Palace, on the opposite side of Rome, was their habitual residence for about a thousand years. From 1309 to 1377, they lived at Avignon in France. On their return to Rome they chose to live at the Vatican. They moved to the Quirinal Palace in 1583, after work on it was completed under Pope Paul V (1605–1621), but on the capture of Rome in 1870 retired to the Vatican, and what had been their residence became that of the King of Italy.
In 1870, the Pope's holdings were left in an uncertain situation when Rome itself was annexed by the Piedmont-led forces which had united the rest of Italy, after a nominal resistance by the papal forces. Between 1861 and 1929 the status of the Pope was referred to as the "Roman Question".
Italy made no attempt to interfere with the Holy See within the Vatican walls. However, it confiscated church property in many places. In 1871 the Quirinal Palace was confiscated by the king of Italy and became the royal palace. Thereafter the popes resided undisturbed within the Vatican walls, and certain papal prerogatives were recognized by the Law of Guarantees, including the right to send and receive ambassadors. But the Popes did not recognise the Italian king's right to rule in Rome, and they refused to leave the Vatican compound until the dispute was resolved in 1929; Pope Pius IX (1846–1878), the last ruler of the Papal States, was referred to as a "prisoner in the Vatican". Forced to give up secular power, the popes focused on spiritual issues.
This situation was resolved on 11 February 1929, when the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and the Kingdom of Italy was signed by Prime Minister and Head of Government Benito Mussolini on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel III and by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri for Pope Pius XI. The treaty, which became effective on 7 June 1929, established the independent state of Vatican City and reaffirmed the special status of Catholicism in Italy.
The Holy See, which ruled Vatican City, pursued a policy of neutrality during World War II, under the leadership of Pope Pius XII. Although German troops occupied the city of Rome after the September 1943 Armistice of Cassibile, and the Allies from 1944, they respected Vatican City as neutral territory. One of the main diplomatic priorities of the bishop of Rome was to prevent the bombing of the city; so sensitive was the pontiff that he protested even the British air dropping of pamphlets over Rome, claiming that the few landing within the city-state violated the Vatican's neutrality. The British policy, as expressed in the minutes of a Cabinet meeting, was: "that we should on no account molest the Vatican City, but that our action as regards the rest of Rome would depend upon how far the Italian government observed the rules of war".
After the American entry into the war, the US opposed such a bombing, fearful of offending Catholic members of its military forces, but said that "they could not stop the British from bombing Rome if the British so decided". The British uncompromisingly said "they would bomb Rome whenever the needs of the war demanded". In December 1942, the British envoy suggested to the Holy See that Rome be declared an "open city", a suggestion that the Holy See took more seriously than was probably meant by the British, who did not want Rome to be an open city, but Mussolini rejected the suggestion when the Holy See put it to him. In connection with the Allied invasion of Sicily, 500 American aircraft bombed Rome on 19 July 1943, aiming particularly at the railway hub. Some 1,500 people were killed; Pius XII himself, who had been described in the previous month as "worried sick" about the possible bombing, viewed the aftermath. Another raid took place on 13 August 1943, after Mussolini had been ousted from power. On the following day, the new government declared Rome an open city, after consulting the Holy See on the wording of the declaration, but the British had decided that they would never recognize Rome as an open city.
Pius XII had refrained from creating cardinals during the war. By the end of World War II, there were several prominent vacancies: Cardinal Secretary of State, Camerlengo, Chancellor, and Prefect for the Congregation for the Religious among them. Pius XII created 32 cardinals in early 1946, having announced his intentions to do so in his preceding Christmas message.
The Pontifical Military Corps, except for the Swiss Guard, was disbanded by will of Paul VI, as expressed in a letter of 14 September 1970. The Gendarmerie Corps was transformed into a civilian police and security force.
In 1984, a new concordat between the Holy See and Italy modified certain provisions of the earlier treaty, including the position of Catholicism as the Italian state religion, a position given to it by a statute of the Kingdom of Sardinia of 1848.
Construction in 1995 of a new guest house, Domus Sanctae Marthae, adjacent to St Peter's Basilica was criticised by Italian environmental groups, backed by Italian politicians. They claimed the new building would block views of the Basilica from nearby Italian apartments. For a short while the plans strained the relations between the Vatican and the Italian government. The head of the Vatican's Department of Technical Services robustly rejected challenges to the Vatican State's right to build within its borders.
The name "Vatican" predates Christianity and comes from the Latin Mons Vaticanus, meaning Vatican Mount. The territory of Vatican City is part of the Mons Vaticanus, and of the adjacent former Vatican Fields. It is in this territory that St. Peter's Basilica, the Apostolic Palace, the Sistine Chapel, and museums were built, along with various other buildings. The area was part of the Roman rione of Borgo until 1929. Being separated from the city, on the west bank of the river Tiber, the area was an outcrop of the city that was protected by being included within the walls of Leo IV (847–855), and later expanded by the current fortification walls, built under Paul III (1534–1549), Pius IV (1559–1565) and Urban VIII (1623–1644).
When the Lateran Treaty of 1929 that gave the state its form was being prepared, the boundaries of the proposed territory were influenced by the fact that much of it was all but enclosed by this loop. For some tracts of the frontier, there was no wall, but the line of certain buildings supplied part of the boundary, and for a small part of the frontier a modern wall was constructed.
The territory includes St. Peter's Square, distinguished from the territory of Italy only by a white line along the limit of the square, where it touches Piazza Pio XII. St. Peter's Square is reached through the Via della Conciliazione which runs from close to the Tiber to St. Peter's. This grand approach was constructed by Benito Mussolini after the conclusion of the Lateran Treaty.
According to the Lateran Treaty, certain properties of the Holy See that are located in Italian territory, most notably the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo and the major basilicas, enjoy extraterritorial status similar to that of foreign embassies. These properties, scattered all over Rome and Italy, house essential offices and institutions necessary to the character and mission of the Holy See.
Castel Gandolfo and the named basilicas are patrolled internally by police agents of Vatican City State and not by Italian police. According to the Lateran Treaty (Art. 3) St. Peter's Square, up to but not including the steps leading to the basilica, is normally patrolled by the Italian police.
There are no passport controls for visitors entering Vatican City from the surrounding Italian territory. There is free public access to Saint Peter's Square and Basilica and, on the occasion of papal general audiences, to the hall in which they are held. For these audiences and for major ceremonies in Saint Peter's Basilica and Square, tickets free of charge must be obtained beforehand. The Vatican Museums, incorporating the Sistine Chapel, usually charge an entrance fee. There is no general public access to the gardens, but guided tours for small groups can be arranged to the gardens and excavations under the basilica. Other places are open to only those individuals who have business to transact there.
Vatican City's climate is the same as Rome's: a temperate, Mediterranean climate Csa with mild, rainy winters from October to mid-May and hot, dry summers from May to September. Some minor local features, principally mists and dews, are caused by the anomalous bulk of St Peter's Basilica, the elevation, the fountains and the size of the large paved square.
In July 2007, the Vatican accepted a proposal by two firms based respectively in San Francisco and Budapest, whereby it would become the first carbon neutral state by offsetting its carbon dioxide emissions with the creation of a Vatican Climate Forest in Hungary, as a purely symbolic gesture to encourage Catholics to do more to safeguard the planet. Nothing came of the project.
Within the territory of Vatican City are the Vatican Gardens (Italian: Giardini Vaticani), which account for more than half of this territory. The gardens, established during the Renaissance and Baroque era, are decorated with fountains and sculptures.
The gardens cover approximately 23 hectares (57 acres) which is most of the Vatican Hill. The highest point is 60 metres (200 ft) above mean sea level. Stone walls bound the area in the North, South and West.
The gardens date back to medieval times when orchards and vineyards extended to the north of the Papal Apostolic Palace. In 1279 Pope Nicholas III (Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, 1277–1280) moved his residence back to the Vatican from the Lateran Palace and enclosed this area with walls. He planted an orchard (pomerium), a lawn (pratellum) and a garden (viridarium).
The politics of Vatican City takes place in an absolute elective monarchy, in which the head of the Roman Catholic Church takes power. The Pope exercises principal legislative, executive, and judicial power over the State of Vatican City (an entity distinct from the Holy See), which is a rare case of a non-hereditary monarchy.
Vatican City is one of the few widely recognized independent states that has not become a member of the United Nations. The Holy See, which is distinct from Vatican City State, has permanent observer status with all the rights of a full member except for a vote in the UN General Assembly.
The government of Vatican City has a unique structure. The pope is the sovereign of the state. Legislative authority is vested in the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, a body of cardinals appointed by the pope for five-year periods. Executive power is in the hands of the President of that commission, assisted by the general secretary and deputy general secretary. The state's foreign relations are entrusted to the Holy See's Secretariat of State and diplomatic service. Nevertheless, the pope has absolute power in the executive, legislative and judicial branches over Vatican City. He is currently the only absolute monarch in Europe.
There are specific departments that deal with health, security, telecommunications, etc.
The Cardinal Camerlengo presides over the Apostolic Camera to which is entrusted the administration of the property and protection of other papal temporal powers and rights of the Holy See during the period of the empty throne or Sede Vacante (papal vacancy). Those of the Vatican State remain under the control of the Pontifical Commission for the State of Vatican City. Acting with three other cardinals chosen by lot every three days, one from each order of cardinals (cardinal bishop, cardinal priest, and cardinal deacon), he in a sense performs during that period the functions of head of state of Vatican City. All the decisions these four cardinals take must be approved by the College of Cardinals as a whole.
The nobility that was closely associated with the Holy See at the time of the Papal States continued to be associated with the Papal Court after the loss of these territories, generally with merely nominal duties (see Papal Master of the Horse, Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, Hereditary officers of the Roman Curia, Black Nobility). They also formed the ceremonial Noble Guard. In the first decades of the existence of the Vatican City State, executive functions were entrusted to some of them, including that of delegate for the State of Vatican City (now denominated president of the Commission for Vatican City). But with the motu proprio Pontificalis Domus of 28 March 1968, Pope Paul VI abolished the honorary positions that had continued to exist until then, such as Quartermaster general and Master of the Horse.
Vatican City State, created in 1929 by the Lateran Pacts, provides the Holy See with a temporal jurisdiction and independence within a small territory. It is distinct from the Holy See. The state can thus be deemed a significant but not essential instrument of the Holy See. The Holy See itself has existed continuously as a juridical entity since Roman Imperial times and has been internationally recognized as a powerful and independent sovereign entity since Late Antiquity to the present, without interruption even at times when it was deprived of territory (e.g. 1870 to 1929). The Holy See has the oldest active continuous diplomatic service in the world, dating back to at least AD 325 with its legation to the Council of Nicea.
The Pope is ex officio head of state of Vatican City since the 1860s, functions dependent on his primordial function as bishop of the diocese of Rome. The term "Holy See" refers not to the Vatican state but to the Pope's spiritual and pastoral governance, largely exercised through the Roman Curia. His official title with regard to Vatican City is Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City.
Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was elected on 13 March 2013. His principal subordinate government official for Vatican City as well as the country's head of government is the President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, who since 1952 exercises the functions previously belonging to the Governor of Vatican City. Since 2001, the president of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State also has the title of president of the Governorate of the State of Vatican City. The current president is Italian Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, who was appointed on 1 October 2011.
Legislative functions are delegated to the unicameral Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, led by the President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State. Its seven members are cardinals appointed by the Pope for terms of five years. Acts of the commission must be approved by the Pope, through the Holy See's Secretariat of State, and before taking effect must be published in a special appendix of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. Most of the content of this appendix consists of routine executive decrees, such as approval for a new set of postage stamps.
Executive authority is delegated to the Governorate of Vatican City. The Governorate consists of the President of the Pontifical Commission—using the title "President of the Governorate of Vatican City"—a general secretary, and a Vice general secretary, each appointed by the Pope for five-year terms. Important actions of the Governorate must be confirmed by the Pontifical Commission and by the Pope through the Secretariat of State.
The Governorate oversees the central governmental functions through several departments and offices. The directors and officials of these offices are appointed by the Pope for five-year terms. These organs concentrate on material questions concerning the state's territory, including local security, records, transportation, and finances. The Governorate oversees a modern security and police corps, the Corpo della Gendarmeria dello Stato della Città del Vaticano.
Judicial functions are delegated to a supreme court, an appellate court, a tribunal (Tribunal of Vatican City State), and a trial judge. At the Vatican's request, sentences imposed can be served in Italy (see the section on crime, below).
As the Vatican City is an enclave within Italy, its military defence is provided by the Italian Armed Forces. However, there is no formal defence treaty with Italy, as the Vatican City is a neutral state. Vatican City has no armed forces of its own, although the Swiss Guard is a military corps of the Holy See responsible for the personal security of the Pope, and resident in the state. Soldiers of the Swiss Guard are entitled to hold Vatican City State passports and nationality. Swiss mercenaries were historically recruited by Popes as part of an army for the Papal States, and the Pontifical Swiss Guard was founded by Pope Julius II on 22 January 1506 as the pope's personal bodyguard and continues to fulfill that function. It is listed in the Annuario Pontificio under "Holy See", not under "State of Vatican City". At the end of 2005, the Guard had 134 members. Recruitment is arranged by a special agreement between the Holy See and Switzerland. All recruits must be Catholic, unmarried males with Swiss citizenship who have completed their basic training with the Swiss Armed Forces with certificates of good conduct, be between the ages of 19 and 30, and be at least 174 cm (5 ft 9 in) in height. Members are equipped with small arms and the traditional halberd (also called the Swiss voulge), and trained in bodyguarding tactics. The Palatine Guard and the Noble Guard, the last armed forces of the Vatican City State, were disbanded by Pope Paul VI in 1970. As Vatican City has listed every building in its territory on the International Register of Cultural Property under Special Protection, the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict theoretically renders it immune to armed attack.
Civil defence is the responsibility of the Corps of Firefighters of the Vatican City State, the national fire brigade. Dating its origins to the early nineteenth century, the Corps in its present form was established in 1941. It is responsible for fire fighting, as well as a range of civil defence scenarios including flood, natural disaster, and mass casualty management. The Corps is governmentally supervised through the Directorate for Security Services and Civil Defence, which is also responsible for the Gendarmerie (see below).
The Gendarmerie Corps (Corpo della Gendarmeria) is the gendarmerie, or police and security force, of Vatican City and the extraterritorial properties of the Holy See. The corps is responsible for security, public order, border control, traffic control, criminal investigation, and other general police duties in Vatican City including providing security for the Pope outside of Vatican City. The corps has 130 personnel and is a part of the Directorate for Security Services and Civil Defence (which also includes the Vatican Fire Brigade), an organ of the Governorate of Vatican City.
Vatican City State is a recognized national territory under international law, but it is the Holy See that conducts diplomatic relations on its behalf, in addition to the Holy See's own diplomacy, entering into international agreements in its regard. Vatican City thus has no diplomatic service of its own.
Because of space limitations, Vatican City is one of the few countries in the world that is unable to host embassies. Foreign embassies to the Holy See are located in the city of Rome; only during the Second World War were the staff of some embassies accredited to the Holy See given what hospitality was possible within the narrow confines of Vatican City—embassies such as that of the United Kingdom while Rome was held by the Axis Powers and Germany's when the Allies controlled Rome.
The size of Vatican City is thus unrelated to the large global reach exercised by the Holy See as an entity quite distinct from the state.
However, Vatican City State itself participates in some international organizations whose functions relate to the state as a geographical entity, distinct from the non-territorial legal persona of the Holy See. These organizations are much less numerous than those in which the Holy See participates either as a member or with observer status. They include the following eight, in each of which Vatican City State holds membership:
It also participates in:
The Vatican City State budget includes the Vatican Museums and post office and is supported financially by the sale of stamps, coins, medals and tourist mementos; by fees for admission to museums; and by publications sales.[h] The incomes and living standards of lay workers are comparable to those of counterparts who work in the city of Rome. Other industries include printing, the production of mosaics, and the manufacture of staff uniforms. There is a Vatican Pharmacy.
The Institute for Works of Religion (IOR, Istituto per le Opere di Religione), also known as the Vatican Bank, is a financial agency situated in the Vatican that conducts worldwide financial activities. It has multilingual ATMs with instructions in Latin, possibly the only ATM in the world with this feature.
Vatican City issues its own coins and stamps. It has used the euro as its currency since 1 January 1999, owing to a special agreement with the European Union (council decision 1999/98). Euro coins and notes were introduced on 1 January 2002—the Vatican does not issue euro banknotes. Issuance of euro-denominated coins is strictly limited by treaty, though somewhat more than usual is allowed in a year in which there is a change in the papacy. Because of their rarity, Vatican euro coins are highly sought by collectors. Until the adoption of the Euro, Vatican coinage and stamps were denominated in their own Vatican lira currency, which was on par with the Italian lira.
Vatican City State, which employs nearly 2,000 people, had a surplus of 6.7 million euros in 2007 but ran a deficit in 2008 of over 15 million euros.
In 2012, the U.S. State Department's International Narcotics Control Strategy Report listed Vatican City for the first time among the nations of concern for money-laundering, placing it in the middle category, which includes countries such as Ireland, but not among the most vulnerable countries, which include the United States itself, Germany, Italy and Russia.
On 24 February 2014 the Vatican announced it was establishing a secretariat for the economy, to be responsible for all economic, financial and administrative activities of the Holy See and the Vatican City State, headed by Cardinal George Pell. This followed the charging of two senior clerics including a monsignor with money laundering offenses. Pope Francis also appointed an auditor-general authorized to carry out random audits of any agency at any time, and engaged a US financial services company to review the Vatican's 19,000 accounts to ensure compliance with international money laundering practices. The pontiff also ordered that the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See would be the Vatican's central bank, with responsibilities similar to other central banks around the world.
Almost all of Vatican City's more than 450 citizens either live inside the Vatican's walls or serve in the Holy See's diplomatic service in embassies (called "nunciature"; a papal ambassador is a "nuncio") around the world. The Vatican citizenry consists almost entirely of two groups: clergy, most of whom work in the service of the Holy See, and a very few as officials of the state; and the Swiss Guard. Most of the 2,400 lay workers who comprise the majority of the Vatican workforce reside outside the Vatican and are citizens of Italy, while a few are citizens of other nations. As a result, all of the city's citizens and places of worship are Catholic.
Vatican City has no formally enacted official language, but, unlike the Holy See which most often uses Latin for the authoritative version of its official documents, Vatican City uses only Italian in its legislation and official communications. Italian is also the everyday language used by most of those who work in the state. In the Swiss Guard, Swiss German is the language used for giving commands, but the individual guards take their oath of loyalty in their own languages: German, French, Romansh or Italian. Vatican City's official website languages are Italian, English, French, German, and Spanish. (This site should not be confused with that of the Holy See, which uses all these languages, along with Portuguese, with Latin since 9 May 2008 and Chinese since 18 March 2009.)
Unlike citizenship of other states, which is based either on jus sanguinis (birth from a citizen, even outside the state's territory) or on jus soli (birth within the territory of the state), citizenship of Vatican City is granted jus officii, namely on the grounds of appointment to work in a certain capacity in the service of the Holy See. It usually ceases upon cessation of the appointment. Citizenship is extended also to the spouse, parents and descendants of a citizen, provided they are living with the person who is a citizen. The Holy See, not being a country, issues only diplomatic and service passports, whereas Vatican City issues normal passports for its citizens.
As of 31 December 2011, other than the pope, there were 594 persons possessing Vatican citizenship, of which:
72% were clergy, including:
28% were laity, including:
The persons authorized to reside in the Vatican City maintaining their original citizenship were 238, of the aforementioned numbers.
The persons residing in buildings outside of the Vatican City in buildings exempt from expropriation and taxation were 3,500 on the above-mentioned date.
On 22 February 2011, Pope Benedict XVI promulgated a new "Law concerning citizenship, residency and access" to Vatican City, which became effective on 1 March. It replaced the 1929 "Law concerning citizenship and residence". There are 16 articles in the new law, whereas the old law had 33 articles. It updated the old law by incorporating changes made after 1929, such as the 1940 granting of Vatican City citizenship, durante munere, to the members of the Holy See's diplomatic service. It also created a new category, that of official Vatican "residents", i.e., people living in Vatican City; these are not necessarily Vatican citizens.
On 1 March 2011, only 220 of the over 800 people living in Vatican City were citizens. There was a total of 572 Vatican citizens, of whom 352 were not residents, mainly apostolic nuncios and diplomatic staff.
As of 2013, there were about 30 female citizens.
In statistics comparing countries in various per capita or per area metrics, the Vatican City is often an outlier — these can stems from the state's small size and ecclesiastical function. For example, as most of the roles which would confer citizenship are reserved for men, the gender ratio of the citizenship has many men per woman Further oddities are petty crimes against tourists resulting in a very high per-capita crime rate, and the city-state leading the world in per-capita wine consumption. A jocular illustration of these anomalies is sometimes made by calculating a "Popes per km2" statistic, which is greater than one because the country is smaller than a square kilometre in area.
Vatican City is home to some of the most famous art in the world. St. Peter's Basilica, whose successive architects include Bramante, Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porta, Maderno and Bernini, is a renowned work of Renaissance architecture. The Sistine Chapel is famous for its frescos, which include works by Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Botticelli as well as the ceiling and Last Judgment by Michelangelo. Artists who decorated the interiors of the Vatican include Raphael and Fra Angelico.
The Vatican Apostolic Library and the collections of the Vatican Museums are of the highest historical, scientific and cultural importance. In 1984, the Vatican was added by UNESCO to the List of World Heritage Sites; it is the only one to consist of an entire state. Furthermore, it is the only site to date registered with the UNESCO as a centre containing monuments in the "International Register of Cultural Property under Special Protection" according to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.
Vatican City has a reasonably well-developed transport network considering its size (consisting mostly of a piazza and walkways). A state that is 1.05 kilometres (0.65 miles) long and 0.85 kilometres (0.53 miles) wide, it has a small transportation system with no airports or highways. The only aviation facility in Vatican City is the Vatican City Heliport. Vatican City is one of the few independent countries without an airport, and is served by the airports that serve the city of Rome, Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport and to a lesser extent Ciampino Airport.
There is a standard gauge railway, mainly used to transport freight, connected to Italy's network at Rome's Saint Peter's station by an 852-metre-long (932 yd) spur, 300 metres (330 yd) of which is within Vatican territory. Pope John XXIII was the first Pope to make use of the railway; Pope John Paul II rarely used it.
The City is served by an independent, modern telephone system named the Vatican Telephone Service, and a postal system that started operating on 13 February 1929. On 1 August, the state started to release its own postal stamps, under the authority of the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican City State. The City's postal service is sometimes said to be "the best in the world", and faster than the postal service in Rome.
The Vatican also controls its own Internet TLD, which is registered as (.va). Broadband service is widely provided within Vatican City. Vatican City has also been given a radio ITU prefix, HV, and this is sometimes used by amateur radio operators.
Vatican Radio, which was organized by Guglielmo Marconi, broadcasts on short-wave, medium-wave and FM frequencies and on the Internet. Its main transmission antennae are located in Italian territory, and exceed Italian environmental protection levels of emission. For this reason, the Vatican Radio has been sued. Television services are provided through another entity, the Vatican Television Center.
L'Osservatore Romano is the multilingual semi-official newspaper of the Holy See. It is published by a private corporation under the direction of Roman Catholic laymen, but reports on official information. However, the official texts of documents are in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the official gazette of the Holy See, which has an appendix for documents of the Vatican City State.
Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Center, and L'Osservatore Romano are organs not of the Vatican State but of the Holy See, and are listed as such in the Annuario Pontificio, which places them in the section "Institutions linked with the Holy See", ahead of the sections on the Holy See's diplomatic service abroad and the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, after which is placed the section on the State of Vatican City.
In 2008, the Vatican began an "ecological island" for renewable waste and has continued the initiative throughout the papacy of Francis.
Crime in Vatican City consists largely of purse snatching, pickpocketing and shoplifting by outsiders. The tourist foot-traffic in St. Peter's Square is one of the main locations for pickpockets in Vatican City. If crimes are committed in Saint Peter's Square, the perpetrators may be arrested and tried by the Italian authorities, since that area is normally patrolled by Italian police.
Under the terms of article 22 of the Lateran Treaty, Italy will, at the request of the Holy See, punish individuals for crimes committed within Vatican City and will itself proceed against the person who committed the offense, if that person takes refuge in Italian territory. Persons accused of crimes recognized as such both in Italy and in Vatican City that are committed in Italian territory will be handed over to the Italian authorities if they take refuge in Vatican City or in buildings that enjoy immunity under the treaty.
Vatican City has no prison system, apart from a few detention cells for pre-trial detention. People convicted of committing crimes in the Vatican serve terms in Italian prisons (Polizia Penitenziaria), with costs covered by the Vatican.
The Apostolic Palace (Latin: Palatium Apostolicum; Italian: Palazzo Apostolico) is the official residence of the Roman Catholic Pope and Bishop of Rome, which is located in Vatican City. It is also known as the Papal Palace, Palace of the Vatican and Vatican Palace. The Vatican itself refers to the building as the Palace of Sixtus V in honor of Pope Sixtus V, who built most of the present form of the palace.
The building contains the Papal Apartments, various offices of the Catholic Church and the Holy See, private and public chapels, Vatican Museums, and the Vatican Library, including the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms, and Borgia Apartment. The modern tourist can see these last and other parts of the palace, but other parts, such as the Sala Regia and Cappella Paolina, are closed to tourists. The Scala Regia can be seen into from one end but not entered.Culture of Vatican City
Vatican City is itself of great cultural significance. Buildings such as St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel are home to some of the most famous art in the world, which includes works by artists such as Botticelli, Bernini and Michelangelo. The Vatican Library and the collections of the Vatican Museums are of the highest historical, scientific and cultural importance. In 1984, the Vatican was added by UNESCO to the List of World Heritage Sites; it is the only one to consist of an entire country.The Vatican can be said to be the de facto custodian of the Latin language through its Latinitas Foundation. An important product of this foundation is the Latin lexicon of recent neologisms, the Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis.
The permanent population of the Vatican City is predominantly male, although two communities of nuns live in the Vatican. A minority are senior Catholic clergy, some are members of institutes of consecrated life, and the Swiss Guards make up an important segment. Many workers in Vatican City and embassy personnel accredited to the Holy See live outside its walls.
Tourism and pilgrimages are an important factor in the daily life in the Vatican. The Pope has weekly public audiences and celebrates public Mass and other services, and imparts his Urbi et Orbi blessing every Easter and Christmas, and immediately following his election as Pope. For significant events with large numbers of attendees, he concelebrates open-air Mass in Saint Peter's Square.European microstates
The European microstates or European ministates are a set of very small sovereign states in Europe. The term is typically used to refer to the six smallest states in Europe by area: Andorra, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City. Four of these states are monarchies (three principalities—Andorra, Liechtenstein, and Monaco—and one papacy, the Vatican City), with all these states tracing their status back to the first millennium or the early second millennium, except for Liechtenstein, created in the 17th century.
Microstates are small independent states recognized by larger states, unlike micronations, which are only self-declared and not recognized. According to the qualitative definition suggested by Dumienski (2014), microstates can also be viewed as "modern protected states, i.e. sovereign states that have been able to unilaterally depute certain attributes of sovereignty to larger powers in exchange for benign protection of their political and economic viability against their geographic or demographic constraints." In line with this definition, only Andorra, Liechtenstein, San Marino, and Monaco qualify as "microstates" as only these states are sovereignties functioning in close, but voluntary, association with their respective larger neighbours. Luxembourg, which is much larger than all the European microstates combined, nonetheless shares some of these characteristics.Some scholars dispute the status of Vatican City as a state, arguing that it does not meet the "traditional criteria of statehood" and that the "special status of the Vatican City is probably best regarded as a means of ensuring that the Pope can freely exercise his spiritual functions, and in this respect is loosely analogous to that of the headquarters of international organisations."Flag of Vatican City
The flag of Vatican City was adopted on June 7, 1929, the year Pope Pius XI signed the Lateran Treaty with Italy, creating a new independent state governed by the Holy See. The Vatican flag is modeled on the flag of the earlier Papal States. The Vatican (and the Holy See) also refer to it, interchangeably, as flag of the Holy See.History of the papacy
The history of the papacy, the office held by the pope as head of the Roman Catholic Church, according to Catholic doctrine, spans from the time of Peter to the present day.
During the Early Church, the bishops of Rome enjoyed no temporal power until the time of Constantine. After the fall of Rome (the "Middle Ages", about 476), the papacy was influenced by the temporal rulers of the surrounding Italian Peninsula; these periods are known as the Ostrogothic Papacy, Byzantine Papacy, and Frankish Papacy. Over time, the papacy consolidated its territorial claims to a portion of the peninsula known as the Papal States. Thereafter, the role of neighboring sovereigns was replaced by powerful Roman families during the saeculum obscurum, the Crescentii era, and the Tusculan Papacy.
From 1048 to 1257, the papacy experienced increasing conflict with the leaders and churches of the Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire). The latter culminated in the East–West Schism, dividing the Western Church and Eastern Church. From 1257–1377, the pope, though the bishop of Rome, resided in Viterbo, Orvieto, and Perugia, and then Avignon. The return of the popes to Rome after the Avignon Papacy was followed by the Western Schism: the division of the western church between two and, for a time, three competing papal claimants.
The Renaissance Papacy is known for its artistic and architectural patronage, forays into European power politics, and theological challenges to papal authority. After the start of the Protestant Reformation, the Reformation Papacy and Baroque Papacy led the Catholic Church through the Counter-Reformation. The popes during the Age of Revolution witnessed the largest expropriation of wealth in the church's history, during the French Revolution and those that followed throughout Europe. The Roman Question, arising from Italian unification, resulted in the loss of the Papal States and the creation of Vatican City.Holy See
The Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes; Latin pronunciation: [ˈsaŋkta ˈsedes]; Italian: Santa Sede), also called the See of Rome, is the apostolic episcopal see of the bishop of Rome, known as the Pope, ex cathedra the universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, and a sovereign entity of international law. Founded in the 1st century by Saints Peter and Paul, by virtue of Petrine and Papal primacy according to Catholic tradition, it is the focal point of full communion for Catholic bishops and Catholics around the world organised in polities of the Latin Church, the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, and their dioceses and religious institutes.
As a recognised sovereign subject of international law, headed by the Pope, the Holy See is headquartered in, operates from, and exercises "exclusive dominion" over the independent Vatican City State enclave in Rome, Italy. The Holy See maintains bilateral diplomatic relations with 172 sovereign states, signs concordats and treaties, and performs multilateral diplomacy with multiple intergovernmental organizations, including the United Nations and its agencies, the Council of Europe, the European Communities, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe the Organization of American States and the Organization for African Unity. The Holy See is administered by the Roman Curia (Latin for Roman Court), similar to a centralised government, with the Cardinal Secretary of State as its chief administrator, in addition to various dicasteries, comparable to ministries and executive departments. Papal elections are carried out by the College of Cardinals.
Although the Holy See is sometimes metonymically referred to as the "Vatican", the Vatican City State was distinctively established with the Lateran Treaty (1929) between the Holy See and Italy to ensure the temporal, diplomatic, and spiritual independence of the Papacy. As such, ambassadors are officially accredited to the Holy See and not the Vatican City State. Conversely, Papal nuncios to states and international organisations are recognised as representing the Holy See and the integrity of the Catholic Church along with its 1.3 billion members, not the Vatican City State, as prescribed also in the Canon law of the Catholic Church (1983). The "Holy See" thus refers to the See of Rome viewed as the central government of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church, in turn, is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world, while the diplomatic status of the Holy See facilitates the access of its vast international network of charities.Index of Vatican City-related articles
This is an index of Vatican City-related topics.Lateran Treaty
From the Italian unification and as Rome in 1871 became the capital of the new Kingdom of Italy, the Holy See lacked a territory, which it earlier had enjoyed ever since the early Middle Ages. This international-Catholic problem was finally solved through the 1929 Lateran Treaty.
The Lateran Treaty (Italian: Patti Lateranensi; Latin: Pacta Lateranensia) was one of the Lateran Pacts of 1929 or Lateran Accords, agreements made in 1929 between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See, settling the "Roman Question". They are named after the Lateran Palace, where they were signed on 11 February 1929. The Italian parliament ratified them on 7 June 1929. It recognized Vatican City as an independent state, with the Italian government, at the time led by Benito Mussolini as prime minister, agreeing to give the Roman Catholic Church financial compensation for the loss of the Papal States. In 1947, the Lateran Treaty was recognized in the Constitution of Italy as regulating the relations between the state and the Catholic Church.List of airports in Europe
This page provides links to other pages comprising the list of airports in Europe.Music of Vatican City
As the seat of the Papacy, the Vatican City and its predecessor, the Papal States, has played an important role in the development of Christian music. They perform chants of ancient origin, such as Gregorian chants, as well as modern polyphonic music. The papal choir is a well-known institution that dates back more than four hundred years. Singers were originally from northern Europe, but began arriving more from Spain and Italy in the 16th century. At this time, church authorities became concerned about the words of liturgical texts being drowned out by the traditional melodies. As a result, reformers like Palestrina revised the rules behind Gregorian chanting, which were printed by the Medici Press in Rome; these reforms continued to be followed to the present day. A traditional musical instrument was the pipe organ.
After the end of the Papal States the Popes' ability to sponsor composers and musicians waned. However it did not end entirely nor did interest in the subject. Pope Pius X and Pope Pius XII both wrote on the subject. In modern times John Harbison and Gilbert Levine have composed or conducted for the Vatican. Although not of the Vatican a Christmas concert where popular musicians performed had been held at the Vatican for thirteen years until ending in 2006. Notable performers at it included José Feliciano, Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, Gloria Gaynor, and B. B. King. The concert created controversy in 2003 due to statements by Lauryn Hill who used the opportunity to criticize the Vatican over Roman Catholic sex abuse cases.Outline of Vatican City
The following outline is provided as an overview of and introduction to Vatican City:
Vatican City – an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state, being the sovereign territory of the Holy See and ruled by the Bishop of Rome—the Pope, the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. The territory of this landlocked sovereign city-state consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of just over 800. This makes Vatican City the smallest independent state in the world by both area and population.Papal States
The Papal States (Italian: Stato Pontificio), officially the State of the Church (Italian: Stato della Chiesa, Italian pronunciation: [ˈstaːto della ˈkjɛːza; ˈkjeː-]; Latin: Status Ecclesiasticus; also Dicio Pontificia), were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula under the direct sovereign rule of the Pope, from the 8th century until 1870. They were among the major states of Italy from roughly the 8th century until the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia unified the Italian Peninsula by conquest in a campaign virtually concluded in 1861 and definitively in 1870. At their zenith, the Papal States covered most of the modern Italian regions of Lazio (which includes Rome), Marche, Umbria and Romagna, and portions of Emilia. These holdings were considered to be a manifestation of the temporal power of the pope, as opposed to his ecclesiastical primacy.
By 1861, much of the Papal States' territory had been conquered by the Kingdom of Italy. Only Lazio, including Rome, remained under the Pope's temporal control. In 1870, the Pope lost Lazio and Rome and had no physical territory at all, except the Basilica of St Peter and the papal residence and related buildings around the Vatican quarter of Rome, which the new Italian state did not occupy militarily. In 1929 the head of the Italian government, at the time the Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini, ended the crisis between unified Italy and the Holy See by negotiating the Lateran Treaty, signed by the two parties. This recognized the sovereignty of the Holy See over a newly created international territorial entity, the Vatican City State, limited to a token territory.Politics of Vatican City
The politics of Vatican City take place in a framework of a theocratic absolute elective monarchy, in which the Pope, religiously speaking, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church and Bishop of Rome, exercises ex officio supreme legislative, executive, and judicial power over the Vatican City (an entity distinct from the Holy See), a rare case of non-hereditary monarchy.
The pope is elected in the Conclave, composed of all the cardinal electors (now limited to all the cardinals below the age of 80), after the death or resignation of the previous Pope. The Conclave is held in the Sistine Chapel, where all the electors are locked in (Latin cum clave) until the election for which a two-thirds majority is required. The faithful can follow the results of the polls (usually two in the morning and two in the evening, until election) by a chimney-top, visible from St. Peter's Square: in a stove attached to the chimney are burnt the voting papers, and additives make the resulting smoke black (fumata nera) in case of no election, white (fumata bianca) when the new pope is finally elected. The Dean of the Sacred College (Cardinale Decano) will then ask the freshly elected pope to choose his pastoral name, and as soon as the pope is dressed with the white cassock, the Senior Cardinal-Deacon (Cardinale Protodiacono) appears on the major balcony of St. Peter's façade to introduce the new pope with the famous Latin sentence
Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: habemus papam.(I announce to you a great joy: We have a Pope). The term "Holy See" refers to the composite of the authority, jurisdiction, and sovereignty vested in the Pope and his advisers to direct the worldwide Roman Catholic Church. It is therefore quite distinct from the Vatican City state, which was created in 1929, through the Lateran treaties between the Holy See and Italy. As the "central government" of the Roman Catholic Church, the Holy See has a legal personality that allows it to enter into treaties as the juridical equal of a state and to send and receive diplomatic representatives. It has formal diplomatic relations with 179 nations. The State of Vatican City, for its part, is recognized under international law as a sovereign territory. Unlike the Holy See, it does not receive or send diplomatic representatives, and the Holy See acts on its behalf in international affairs.Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State
The Pontifical Commission for the State of Vatican City (Italian: Pontificia Commissione per lo Stato della Città del Vaticano, Latin: Pontificia Commissio pro Civitate Vaticana) is the legislative body of Vatican City. It consists of President of the Governatorate of Vatican City State, who is also President of the Pontifical Commission, and six other cardinals appointed by the pope for five-year terms.Pope
The pope (Latin: papa from Greek: πάππας pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff (from Latin pontifex maximus "greatest priest"), is the Bishop of Rome and ex officio leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. Since 1929, the pope has also been head of state of Vatican City, a city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.While his office is called the papacy, the episcopal see and ecclesiastical jurisdiction is called the Holy See. It is the Holy See that is the sovereign entity of international law headquartered in the distinctively independent Vatican City State, established by the Lateran Treaty in 1929 between Italy and the Holy See to ensure its temporal, diplomatic, and spiritual independence. The primacy of the Bishop of Rome is largely derived from his role as the apostolic successor to Saint Peter, to whom primacy was conferred by Jesus, giving him the Keys of Heaven and the powers of "binding and loosing", naming him as the "rock" upon which the church would be built.
The apostolic see of Rome was founded by Saint Peter and Saint Paul in 1st century, according to Catholic tradition. The papacy is one of the most enduring institutions in the world and has had a prominent part in world history. In ancient times the popes helped spread Christianity, and intervened to find resolutions in various doctrinal disputes. In the Middle Ages, they played a role of secular importance in Western Europe, often acting as arbitrators between Christian monarchs. Currently, in addition to the expansion of the Christian faith and doctrine, the popes are involved in ecumenism and interfaith dialogue, charitable work, and the defense of human rights.In some periods of history, the papacy, which originally had no temporal powers, accrued wide secular powers rivaling those of temporal rulers. However, in recent centuries the temporal authority of the papacy has declined and the office is now almost exclusively focused on religious matters. By contrast, papal claims of spiritual authority have been increasingly firmly expressed over time, culminating in 1870 with the proclamation of the dogma of papal infallibility for rare occasions when the pope speaks ex cathedra—literally "from the chair (of Saint Peter)"—to issue a formal definition of faith or morals. Still, the Pope is considered one of the world's most powerful people because of his extensive diplomatic, cultural, and spiritual influence on 1.3 billion Catholics and beyond, as well as the official representative of the Catholic Church being the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world, with a vast international network of charities.St. Peter's Basilica
The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican (Italian: Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano), or simply St. Peter's Basilica (Latin: Basilica Sancti Petri), is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome.
Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter's is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. While it is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, St. Peter's is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines. It has been described as "holding a unique position in the Christian world" and as "the greatest of all churches of Christendom".Catholic tradition holds that the Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, chief among Jesus's Apostles and also the first Bishop of Rome. Saint Peter's tomb is supposedly directly below the high altar of the Basilica. For this reason, many Popes have been interred at St. Peter's since the Early Christian period, and there has been a church on this site since the time of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great. Construction of the present basilica, which would replace Old St. Peter's Basilica from the 4th century AD, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626.St. Peter's is famous as a place of pilgrimage and for its liturgical functions. The Pope presides at a number of liturgies throughout the year, drawing audiences of 15,000 to over 80,000 people, either within the Basilica or the adjoining St. Peter's Square. St. Peter's has many historical associations, with the Early Christian Church, the Papacy, the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-reformation and numerous artists, especially Michelangelo. As a work of architecture, it is regarded as the greatest building of its age. St. Peter's is one of the four churches in the world that hold the rank of Major Basilica, all four of which are in Rome. Contrary to popular misconception, it is not a cathedral because it is not the seat of a bishop; the Cathedra of the Pope as Bishop of Rome is in the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran.St. Peter's Square
St. Peter's Square (Italian: Piazza San Pietro [ˈpjattsa sam ˈpjɛːtro], Latin: Forum Sancti Petri) is a large plaza located directly in front of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City, the papal enclave inside Rome, directly west of the neighbourhood or rione of Borgo. Both the square and the basilica are named after Saint Peter, an apostle of Jesus considered by some to be the first Pope.
At the centre of the square is an ancient Egyptian obelisk, erected at the current site in 1586. Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed the square almost 100 years later, including the massive Doric colonnades, four columns deep, which embrace visitors in "the maternal arms of Mother Church". A granite fountain constructed by Bernini in 1675 matches another fountain designed by Carlo Maderno in 1613.Vatican City in World War II
Vatican City pursued a policy of neutrality during World War II, under the leadership of Pope Pius XII. Although the city of Rome was occupied by Germany from 1943 and the Allies from 1944, Vatican City itself was not occupied. The Vatican organised extensive humanitarian aid throughout the duration of the conflict.Vatican Library
The Vatican Apostolic Library (Latin: Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, Italian: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana), more commonly known as the Vatican Library or informally as the Vat, is the library of the Holy See, located in Vatican City. Formally established in 1475, although it is much older, it is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. It has 75,000 codices from throughout history, as well as 1.1 million printed books, which include some 8,500 incunabula.
The Vatican Library is a research library for history, law, philosophy, science and theology. The Vatican Library is open to anyone who can document their qualifications and research needs. Photocopies for private study of pages from books published between 1801 and 1990 can be requested in person or by mail.
Pope Nicholas V (1447-1455) envisioned a new Rome with extensive public works to lure pilgrims and scholars alike to the city to begin its transformation. Nicolas decided that he wanted to create a 'public library' for Rome that was meant to be seen as an institution for humanist scholarship. His death prevented him from carrying out his plan of a public library, but his idea lived on with his successor Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484) who established what is now known as the Vatican Library.
In March 2014, the Vatican Library began an initial four-year project of digitising its collection of manuscripts, to be made available online.
The Vatican Secret Archives were separated from the library at the beginning of the 17th century; they contain another 150,000 items.
|Climate data for Vatican City|
|Record high °C (°F)||19.8
|Average high °C (°F)||11.9
|Daily mean °C (°F)||7.5
|Average low °C (°F)||3.1
|Record low °C (°F)||−11.0
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||67
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||7.0||7.6||7.6||9.2||6.2||4.3||2.1||3.3||6.2||8.2||9.7||8.0||79.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||120.9||132.8||167.4||201.0||263.5||285.0||331.7||297.6||237.0||195.3||129.0||111.6||2,472.8|
|Source: Servizio Meteorologico, data of sunshine hours|
Vatican City articles
Decoration of the Sistine Chapel
|Life of Moses|
|Life of Christ|
|Ceiling 9 |
of the faithful