City (/ˈvætɪkən ˈsɪti/ ( listen); Italian:
Città del Vaticano [tʃitˈta del vatiˈkaːno]; Latin: Civitas
Vaticana),[d] officially Vatican
City State or State of Vatican City
(Italian: Stato della Città del Vaticano;[e] Latin: Status Civitatis
Vaticanae),[f] is an independent state located within the city of
Rome. 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. However, formally it is not sovereign, with sovereignty
being held by the Holy See.
It is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state (a type
of theocracy) ruled by the Bishop of
Rome – the Pope. 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.
City is distinct from the
Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes),[g]
which dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see
of 1.2 billion
Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the
globe. The independent city-state, on the other hand, came into
existence in 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
Papal States (756–1870), which had previously
encompassed much of central Italy. According to the terms of the
Holy See has "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and
sovereign authority and jurisdiction" over the city-state.
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 tourist mementos, fees for admission to museums,
and the sale of publications.
2.1 Early history
2.2 Papal States
2.3 Italian unification
2.4 Lateran treaties
2.5 World War II
2.6 Post-war history
4.1 Political system
4.2 Head of state
4.4 Defense and security
4.5 Foreign relations
Population and languages
11 See also
12.2 Citation notes
13 External links
13.1 Official websites
13.2 Other websites
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
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
St. Peter's Square
St. Peter's Square from the top of Michelangelo's dome
The Vatican obelisk, originally taken from Egypt by Caligula
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
Agrippina the Elder
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.[citation
needed] A shrine dedicated to the Phrygian goddess
Cybele and her
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
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".
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
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
Main article: Papal States
See also: History of the Papacy
The Italian peninsula in 1796. The shaded yellow territory in central
Italy is the Papal State.
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.
Main article: Roman Question
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
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
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
(1846–78), 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.
Main article: Lateran Treaty
This situation was resolved on 11 February 1929, when the Lateran
Treaty between the
Holy See and the
Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy was signed by
Prime Minister and Head of Government
Benito Mussolini on behalf of
Victor Emmanuel III
Victor Emmanuel III and by
Cardinal Secretary of State
Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro
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.
World War II
Main article: Vatican
City during World War II
Bands of the British army's 38th Brigade playing in front of St
Peter's Basilica, June 1944.
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
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
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, went to the scene of the tragedy. Another raid took
place on 13 August 1943, after Mussolini had been ousted from
power. On the following day, the new government declared
open city, after consulting the
Holy See on the wording of the
declaration, but the British had decided that they would never
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
Gendarmerie Corps was transformed into a civilian police
and security force.
In 1984, a new concordat between the
Holy See and
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
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
Map of Vatican City, highlighting notable buildings and the Vatican
Main article: Geography of Vatican City
The name "Vatican" predates Christianity and comes from the
Vaticanus, meaning Vatican Mount. The territory of Vatican
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 Tiber
river, the area was an outcrop of the city that was protected by being
included within the walls of Leo IV (847–55), and later expanded by
the current fortification walls, built under Paul III (1534–49),
Pius IV (1559–65) and Urban VIII (1623–44).
Territory of Vatican
City State according to the Lateran Treaty.
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
Italy only by a white line along the limit of the square,
where it touches Piazza Pio XII.
St. Peter's Square
St. Peter's Square is reached
Via della Conciliazione
Via della Conciliazione which runs from close to the Tiber
River 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
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
the surrounding Italian territory. There is free public access to
Saint Peter's Square
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.
St. Peter's Square, the basilica and obelisk, from Piazza Pio XII
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.
Climate data for Vatican City
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source: Servizio Meteorologico, data of sunshine hours
In July 2007, the Vatican accepted a proposal by two firms based
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
On 26 November 2008, the Vatican itself put into effect a plan
announced in May 2007 to cover the roof of the Paul VI Audience Hall
with solar panels.
Main article: Gardens of Vatican City
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
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).
Panorama of the gardens from atop St. Peter's Basilica
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Law of Vatican City
President: Giuseppe Bertello
Secretariat of State
Secretary: Pietro Parolin
President: Giuseppe Bertello
Court of Cassation
President: Dominique Mamberti
Court of Appeals
President: Pio Vito Pinto
President: G. di Sanguinetto
Financial Information Authority
Corps of Gendarmerie
Main article: Politics of Vatican City
The politics of Vatican
City takes place in an absolute elective
monarchy, in which the head of the Roman
Catholic Church takes power.
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.
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,
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.[citation
needed] All the decisions these four cardinals take must be approved
College of Cardinals
College of Cardinals as a whole.
The nobility that was closely associated with the
Holy See at the time
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
City (now denominated President of the Commission for Vatican
City). But with the motu proprio
Pontificalis Domus of 28 March
Pope Paul VI abolished the honorary positions that had
continued to exist until then, such as
Quartermaster general and
Master of the Horse.
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.
Head of state
Main article: Pope
See also: List of Sovereigns of the Vatican
Apostolic Palace (Palazzo Apostolico), the official residence of
the Pope. Here,
Benedict XVI is at the window marked by a maroon
banner hanging from the windowsill at centre.
Pope is ex officio head of state of Vatican City, functions
dependent on his primordial function as bishop of the diocese of Rome.
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 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.
Main article: Law of Vatican City
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 & 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).
The international postal country code prefix is SCV, and the only
postal code is 00120 – altogether SCV-00120.
Defense and security
A guard of the Vatican at his sentry box.
Swiss Guard in his traditional uniform.
Main articles: Military of Vatican City, Pontifical Swiss Guard, Corps
Gendarmerie of Vatican City, and Corps of Firefighters of the
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.
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
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
Palatine Guard and the Noble Guard, the last armed forces
of the Vatican
City State, were disbanded by
Pope Paul VI in 1970.
City has listed every building in its territory on the
International Register of Cultural Property under
the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the
Event of Armed Conflict theoretically renders it immune to armed
Civil defence is the responsibility of the Corps of Firefighters of
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).
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.
Palace of the Governorate of Vatican
The Ingresso di Sant'Anna, an entrance to Vatican
City from Italy.
See also: Foreign relations of the
Holy See and List of diplomatic
missions of the Holy See
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
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
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
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
Holy See participates either as a member or with observer status.
They include the following eight, in each of which Vatican
European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations
European Telecommunications Satellite Organization (
International Grains Council (IGC)
International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAS)
International Telecommunication Union
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
International Telecommunications Satellite Organization
International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO)
Universal Postal Union
Universal Postal Union (UPU)
It also participates in:
World Medical Association
World Intellectual Property Organization
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
Main article: Economy of Vatican City
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
Institute for Works of Religion
Institute for Works of Religion (IOR, Istituto per le Opere di
Religione), also known as the Vatican Bank, and with the acronym IOR
(Istituto per le Opere di Religione), 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.
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
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.
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,
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
City State, headed by Cardinal George Pell. This followed the
charging of two senior clerics including a monsignor with money
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
See also: Women in Vatican City
Population and languages
Further information: Languages of Vatican City
The Seal of Vatican City. Note the use of the Italian language.
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 actual citizens are Catholic as are all the places of
City has no formally enacted official language, but, unlike
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
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
Anyone who loses Vatican citizenship and does not possess other
citizenship automatically becomes an Italian citizen as provided in
the Lateran Treaty.
As of 31 December 2005, there were, apart from the
Pope himself, 557
people with Vatican citizenship, while there were 246 residents in the
state who did not have its citizenship.
Of the 557 citizens, 74% were clergy:
58 cardinals, resident in Rome, mostly outside the Vatican;
293 clergy, members of the Holy See's diplomatic missions, resident in
other countries, and forming well over half the total of the citizens;
62 other clergy, working but not necessarily living in the Vatican.
The 101 members of the Pontifical
Swiss Guard constituted 18% of the
total, and there were only 55 other lay persons with Vatican
On 22 February 2011,
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
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
As of 2013[update], there were about 30 female citizens.
360-degree view from the dome of St. Peter's Basilica, looking over
Saint Peter's Square
Saint Peter's Square (centre) and out into Rome, showing
City in all directions.
Main article: Culture of Vatican City
See also: Music of Vatican City
Vatican Museums (Musei Vaticani) display works from the extensive
collection of the Catholic Church.
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
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
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
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.
Michelangelo's Pietà, in the Basilica, is one of the Vatican's best
Michelangelo's frescos on the
Sistine Chapel ceiling, "an artistic
vision without precedent".
The elaborately decorated Sistine Hall in the Vatican Library.
There is a football championship, called the Vatican City
Championship, with eight teams, including, for example, the Swiss
FC Guardia and police and museum guard teams.
The shortest national railway system in the world.
Main article: Transport in Vatican City
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 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
make use of the railway;
Pope John Paul II rarely used it.
The closest metro station is Ottaviano – San Pietro – Musei
The Vatican's post office was established on the 11 February 1929.
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.
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
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
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.
Main article: Crime in Vatican City
Crime in Vatican
City consists largely of purse snatching,
pickpocketing and shoplifting by outsiders. The tourist
St. Peter's Square
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
Under the terms of article 22 of the Lateran Treaty,
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
Italy and in Vatican
City that are committed in Italian territory
will be handed over to the Italian authorities if they take refuge in
City or in buildings that enjoy immunity under the
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.
Index of Vatican City-related articles
Law of Vatican City
Outline of Vatican City
Passetto di Borgo
Sovereign Military Order of Malta
^ Many other languages are used by institutions situated within the
state, such as the Holy See, the Pontifical Swiss Guard, and the
Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Holy See uses
Latin as its main official language, Italian as its
main working language and French as its main diplomatic language; in
addition, its Secretariat of State uses English, German, Italian,
Polish, Portuguese and Spanish. The Swiss Guard, in which commands on
parade are given in German, also uses French and Italian, the other
two official Swiss languages, in its official ceremonies, such as the
annual swearing in of the new recruits on 6th May.
^ Visitors and tourists are not permitted to drive inside the Vatican
without specific permission, which is normally granted only to those
on official business in the Vatican.
ITU-T assigned code 379 to Vatican City. However, Vatican
included in the Italian telephone numbering plan and uses the Italian
country code 39, followed by 06 (for Rome) and 698.
^ The Ecclesiastical, and therefore official, pronunciation is
[ˈtʃivitas vatiˈkana], the Classical one is [ˈkiːwɪtaːs
^ "Stato della Città del Vaticano" (Italian) is the name used in the
text of the state's Fundamental Law and in the state's official
^ In the languages used by the Secretariat of State of the Holy See
(except English and Italian as already mentioned above):
French: Cité du Vatican—État de la Cité du Vatican
German: Vatikanstadt, cf. Vatikan—Staat Vatikanstadt (in Austria:
Staat der Vatikanstadt)
Polish: Miasto Watykańskie, cf. Watykan—Państwo Watykańskie
Portuguese: Cidade do Vaticano—Estado da Cidade do Vaticano
Spanish: Ciudad del Vaticano—Estado de la Ciudad del Vaticano
Holy See is the central governing body of the Catholic Church
and a sovereign entity recognized by international law, consisting of
Pope and the Roman Curia. It is also commonly referred to as "the
Vatican", especially when used as a metonym for the hierarchy of the
^ The Holy See's budget, which is distinct from that of Vatican City
State, is supported financially by a variety of sources, including
investments, real estate income, and donations from Catholic
individuals, dioceses, and institutions; these help fund the Roman
Curia (Vatican bureaucracy), diplomatic missions, and media outlets.
Moreover, an annual collection taken up in dioceses and direct
donations go to a non-budgetary fund known as Peter's Pence, which is
used directly by the
Pope for charity, disaster relief and aid to
churches in developing nations.
^ Solemn oath of the Vatican Swiss guards. 6 May 2014 – via
Internet portal of Vatican
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^ Nick Megoran (2009) "Theocracy", p. 226 in International
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^ "Altar dedicated to
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^ Tacitus, The Histories, II, 93, translation by Clifford H. Moore
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^ Pliny the Elder, Natural History XVI.76.
^ "St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles". Catholic Encyclopedia.
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^ Fred S. Kleiner, Gardner's Art through the Ages (Cengage Learning
2012 ISBN 978-1-13395479-8), p. 126
^ "Vatican". Columbia Encyclopedia (Sixth ed.). 2001–2005. Archived
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^ Wetterau, Bruce (1994). World History: A Dictionary of Important
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^ Trattato fra la Santa Sede e l'Italia
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^ Chadwick, 1988, pp. 232–36
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^ Chadwick 1988, p. 304
^ a b "Vatican
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^ a b Thavis, John (2013). The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes
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^ "Vatican (search)". Online Dictionary. Retrieved 28 November
^ a b c "Patti Lateranensi". vatican.va. Retrieved 6 November
^ a b
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^ Tabelle climatiche 1971–2000 della stazione meteorologica di
Roma-Ciampino Ponente dall'Atlante Climatico 1971–2000 –
Servizio Meteorologico dell'Aeronautica Militare
^ "Visualizzazione tabella CLINO della stazione / CLINO Averages
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^ "Vatican footprint wrong-footed". The Global Warming Policy Forum.
26 May 2010. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
^ "The Vatican to go carbon neutral". United Press International. 13
July 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2009.
^ Vatican signs up for a carbon offset forest, Catholic News Service,
published 13 July 2007. Retrieved 3 August 2007 Archived 5 July 2008
at the Wayback Machine.
^ Climate forest makes Vatican the first carbon-neutral state, Western
Catholic Reporter, published 23 July 2007. Retrieved 3 August 2007
Archived 4 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Carbon offsets: How a Vatican forest failed to reduce global warming
The Christian Science Monitor
^ "Dangers lurk in offset investments", Ethical Corporation published
19 September 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2012 Archived 27 April 2012 at
the Wayback Machine.
^ Going green: Vatican expands mission to saving planet, not just
souls, Catholic News Service, published 25 May 2007. Retrieved 12 June
^ Glatz, Carol (26 November 2008) Vatican wins award for creating
rooftop solar-power generator, Catholic News Service.
^ "Map of Vatican City". saintpetersbasilica.org. Retrieved 11 October
^ "Al Pellegrino Cattolico: The Vatican Gardens". 2008 Al Pellegrino
Cattolico s.r.l. Via di Porta Angelica 8183 (S.Pietro) I- 00193 Roma,
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^ Section, United Nations News Service (2017-02-07). "UN News -
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^ "Vatican City". Catholic-Pages.com. Retrieved 4 March 2007.
^ Pontificalis Domus, 3
^ The site Hereditary Officers of the Papal Court continues to present
these functions and titles as still in use, several decades after
their abolition. Archived 13 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
^ Vatican Diplomacy, Catholic-Pages.com. Retrieved 15 March 2007
^ One of the titles of the
Pope listed in the
Annuario Pontificio is
"Sovereign of Vatican
City State" (page 23* in recent editions).
^ "Code of Canon Law: text – IntraText CT".
^ "International postal code: SCV-00120." www.vatican
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^ Duursma, Jorri C. (1996). Fragmentation and the International
Relations of Micro-states: Self-determination and Statehood. Cambridge
University Press. p. 396. ISBN 9780521563604.
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legislation. Retrieved 23 February 2007.
^ "Benedict Vatican euros set for release". Catholic News. 21 April
2006. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
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Saint Helier, Jersey (UK)
Saint Peter Port, Guernsey (UK)
Longyearbyen, Svalbard (Norway)
Mariehamn, Åland Islands (Finland)
Nuuk, Greenland (Denmark)
Olonkinbyen, Jan Mayen (Norway)
Tórshavn, Faroe Islands (Denmark)
Prague, Czech Republic
Gibraltar, Gibraltar (UK)
North Nicosia, Northern Cyprus4, 5
San Marino, San Marino
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Vatican City, Vatican City
Stepanakert, Artsakh4, 5
Sukhumi, Abkhazia3, 5
Tskhinvali, South Ossetia3, 5
1 Also the capital of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
2 Also the seat of the European Union, see Institutional seats of
European Union and
Brussels and the European Union
3 Transcontinental country
4 Entirely in Southwest Asia but having socio-political
connections with Europe
5 Partially recognised country
List of current sovereign monarchs
List of current constituent monarchs
United Arab Emirates
Papua New Guinea
Antigua and Barbuda
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
History of Europe
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Iron Age Europe
Crisis of the Third Century
Fall of the Western Roman Empire
Early Middle Ages
Holy Roman Empire
High Middle Ages
Late Middle Ages
Hundred Years' War
Age of Discovery
Thirty Years' War
Early modern France
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Art of Europe
Genetic history of Europe
History of the Mediterranean region
History of the European Union
History of Western civilization
Maritime history of Europe
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