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Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * pt, Cidade do Vaticano—' * es, Ciudad del Vaticano—' is an independent
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign city which serves as the center of political, economic, and cultural life over its contiguous territory. They have existed in many parts of the world since the dawn of history, including cities such as ...
,
microstate A microstate or ministate is a sovereign state having a very small population or very small land area, usually both. However, the meanings of "state" and "very small" are not well-defined in international law.Warrington, E. (1994). "Lilliputs ...
and
enclave An enclave is a territory (or a small territory apart of a larger one) that is entirely surrounded by the territory of one other state or entity. Enclaves may also exist within territorial waters. ''Enclave'' is sometimes used improperly to deno ...
within
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg ...

Rome
, Italy. Also known as The Vatican, the state became independent from Italy in 1929 with the
Lateran Treaty The Lateran Treaty ( it, Patti Lateranensi; la, Pacta Lateranensia) was one component of the Lateran Pacts of 1929, agreements between the Fascist Italy (1922–1943), Kingdom of Italy under King of Italy, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and ...
, and it is a distinct
territory A territory is an area of land, sea, or space, particularly belonging or connected to a country, person, or animal. In international relations, international politics, a territory is usually either the total area from which a state may extr ...

territory
under "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction" of the
Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome, Petrine See or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Pope in his role as the bishop of Rome. It includes the apostolic see, apostolic episcopal see of the ...
, itself a
sovereign entity Sovereignty is the defining authority within individual consciousness, Social constructionism, social construct, or territory. Sovereignty entails hierarchy within the state, as well as external autonomy for states. In any state, sovereignty i ...
of
international law International law (also known as public international law and the law of nations) is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between State (polity), states. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptua ...
, which maintains the city state's temporal, diplomatic, and spiritual
independence Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or Sovereign state, state in which residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory. The opposite of independ ...
. With an area of and a 2019 population of about 453, it is the smallest state in the world both by area and
population Population typically refers to the number of people in a single area, whether it be a city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, ...
. As governed by the Holy See, Vatican City State is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-
monarchical A monarchy is a government#Forms, form of government in which a person, the monarch, is head of state for life or until abdication. The legitimacy (political)#monarchy, political legitimacy and authority of the monarch may vary from restric ...
state ruled by the
Pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, 'father'), also known as supreme pontiff ( or ), Roman pontiff () or sovereign pontiff, is the bishop of Rome (or historically the patriarch of Rome), head of the worldwide Cathol ...

Pope
who is the
bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained clergy member who is entrusted with a position of Episcopal polity, authority and oversight in a religious institution. In Christianity, bishops are normally responsible for the governance of dioceses. The role or offic ...
and head of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...

Catholic Church
. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergy of various origins. After the
Avignon Papacy The Avignon Papacy was the period from 1309 to 1376 during which seven successive popes resided in Avignon – at the time within the Kingdom of Burgundy-Arles, Kingdom of Arles, part of the Holy Roman Empire; now part of France – rather than i ...
(13091377) the popes have mainly resided at the
Apostolic Palace The Apostolic Palace ( la, Palatium Apostolicum; it, Palazzo Apostolico) is the official residence of the pope, the head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian ...

Apostolic Palace
within what is now Vatican City, although at times residing instead in the
Quirinal Palace The Quirinal Palace ( it, Palazzo del Quirinale ) is a historic building in Rome, Italy, one of the three current official residences of the President of Italy, president of the Italian Republic, together with Villa Rosebery in Naples and the Tenu ...
in Rome or elsewhere. The Vatican is also a
metonym Metonymy () is a figure of speech in which a concept is referred to by the name of something closely associated with that thing or concept. Etymology The words ''metonymy'' and ''metonym'' come from grc, μετωνυμία, 'a change of name' ...
for the Holy See. The Holy See dates back to
Early Christianity Early Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major reli ...
and is the principal
episcopal see An episcopal see is, in a practical use of the phrase, the area of a bishop's ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Phrases concerning actions occurring within or outside an episcopal see are indicative of the geographical significance of the term, maki ...
of the Catholic Church, which has approximately 1.329 billion baptized Catholics in the world in the
Latin Church , native_name_lang = la , image = San Giovanni in Laterano - Rome.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , alt = Façade of the Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran , caption = Archbasilica of Saint Joh ...
and 23
Eastern Catholic Churches The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-Rite Catholic Churches, Eastern Rite Catholicism, or simply the Eastern Churches, are 23 Eastern Christian autonomous (''sui iuris'') particular churches of th ...
. The independent state of Vatican City, on the other hand, came into existence on 11 February 1929 by the
Lateran Treaty The Lateran Treaty ( it, Patti Lateranensi; la, Pacta Lateranensia) was one component of the Lateran Pacts of 1929, agreements between the Fascist Italy (1922–1943), Kingdom of Italy under King of Italy, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and ...
between the Holy See and Italy, which spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the much larger
Papal States The Papal States ( ; it, Stato Pontificio, ), officially the State of the Church ( it, Stato della Chiesa, ; la, Status Ecclesiasticus;), were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula under the direct sovereign rule of the pope fro ...
(756–1870), which had previously encompassed much of central Italy. Vatican City contains religious and cultural sites such as , the
Sistine Chapel The Sistine Chapel (; la, Sacellum Sixtinum; it, Cappella Sistina ) is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the pope in Vatican City. Originally known as the ''Cappella Magna'' ('Great Chapel'), the chapel takes its name ...

Sistine Chapel
, and the
Vatican Museums The Vatican Museums ( it, Musei Vaticani; la, Musea Vaticana) are the public museums of the Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' ...
. They feature some of the world's most famous paintings and sculptures. The unique economy of Vatican City is supported financially by donations from the faithful, by the sale of
postage stamp A postage stamp is a small piece of paper issued by a post office, postal administration, or other authorized vendors to customers who pay postage (the cost involved in moving, insuring, or registering mail), who then affix the stamp to the fa ...
s and souvenirs, fees for admission to museums, and sales of publications. Vatican City has no taxes and items are duty-free.


Name

The name ' was first used in the
Lateran Treaty The Lateran Treaty ( it, Patti Lateranensi; la, Pacta Lateranensia) was one component of the Lateran Pacts of 1929, agreements between the Fascist Italy (1922–1943), Kingdom of Italy under King of Italy, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and ...
, signed on 11 February 1929, which established the modern city-state named after
Vatican Hill Vatican Hill (; la, Mons Vaticanus; it, Colle Vaticano) is a hill located across the Tiber river from the traditional seven hills of Rome, that also gave the name of Vatican City. It is the location of St. Peter's Basilica. Etymology The anc ...
, the geographic location of the state within the city of
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg ...

Rome
. "Vatican" is derived from the name of an Etruscan settlement, or , located in the general area the Romans called '' Ager Vaticanus'', "Vatican territory". The name of the city is or, more formally, , meaning 'Vatican City State'. Its
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...

Latin
name is '; this is used in official documents by the Holy See, the Church and the
Pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, 'father'), also known as supreme pontiff ( or ), Roman pontiff () or sovereign pontiff, is the bishop of Rome (or historically the patriarch of Rome), head of the worldwide Cathol ...

Pope
.


History


Early history

The name "Vatican" was already in use in the time of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization when it was run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman peo ...

Roman Republic
for the '' Ager Vaticanus'', a marshy area on the west bank of the
Tiber The Tiber ( ; it, Tevere ; la, Tiberis) is the third-longest List of rivers of Italy, river in Italy and the longest in Central Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flowing through Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio, where ...

Tiber
across from the city of Rome, located between the
Janiculum The Janiculum (; it, Gianicolo ), occasionally the Janiculan Hill, is a hill in western Rome, Italy. Although it is the second-tallest hill (the tallest being Monte Mario) in the contemporary city of Rome, the Janiculum does not figure among th ...
, the
Vatican Hill Vatican Hill (; la, Mons Vaticanus; it, Colle Vaticano) is a hill located across the Tiber river from the traditional seven hills of Rome, that also gave the name of Vatican City. It is the location of St. Peter's Basilica. Etymology The anc ...
and
Monte Mario Monte Mario (English: Mount Mario or Mount Marius) is the hill that rises in the north-west area of Rome (Italy), on the right bank of the Tiber, crossed by the Via Trionfale. It occupies part of Balduina, of the territory of Municipio I, Munici ...
, down to the
Aventine Hill The Aventine Hill (; la, Collis Aventinus; it, Aventino ) is one of the Seven hills of Rome, Seven Hills on which ancient Rome was built. It belongs to Ripa (rione of Rome), Ripa, the modern twelfth ''rione'', or ward, of Rome. Location and ...
and up to the confluence of the
Cremera The Cremera is a Italian stream A stream is a continuous body of water, body of surface water Current (stream), flowing within the stream bed, bed and bank (geography), banks of a channel (geography), channel. Depending on its location or ...
creek. Because of its vicinity to Rome's archenemy, the Etruscan city of
Veii Veii (also Veius; it, Veio) was an important ancient Etruscan civilization, Etruscan city situated on the southern limits of Etruria and north-northwest of Rome, Italy. It now lies in Isola Farnese, in the Comuni of the Province of Rome, comune ...
(another naming for the ''Ager Vaticanus'' was ''Ripa Veientana'' or ''Ripa Etrusca''), and for being subjected to the floods of the
Tiber The Tiber ( ; it, Tevere ; la, Tiberis) is the third-longest List of rivers of Italy, river in Italy and the longest in Central Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flowing through Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio, where ...

Tiber
, the Romans considered this originally uninhabited part of Rome dismal and ominous. The particularly low quality of Vatican wine, even after the reclamation of the area, was commented on by the poet
Martial Marcus Valerius Martialis (known in English language, English as Martial ; March, between 38 and 41 AD – between 102 and 104 AD) was a Roman poet from Hispania (modern Spain) best known for his twelve books of ''Epigrams'', published in Anci ...
(40 – between AD 102 and 104).
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus, known simply as Tacitus ( , ; – ), was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historiography, Roman historians by modern scholars. The surviving portions of his t ...
wrote that in AD 69, the
Year of the Four Emperors The Year of the Four Emperors, AD 69, was the first civil war of the Roman Empire, during which four emperors ruled in succession: Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian. It is considered an important interval, marking the transition from the ...
, when the northern army that brought
Vitellius Aulus Vitellius (; ; 24 September 1520 December 69) was Roman emperor for eight months, from 19 April to 20 December AD 69. Vitellius was proclaimed emperor following the quick succession of the previous emperors Galba and Otho, in a year of civi ...
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,q the inability of the
Gauls The Gauls ( la, Galli; grc, Γαλάται, ''Galátai'') were a group of Celts, Celtic peoples of mainland Europe in the Iron Age Europe, Iron Age and the Roman Gaul, Roman period (roughly 5th century BC to 5th century AD). Their homeland was k ...
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 toponym ''Ager Vaticanus'' is attested until the 1st century AD: afterwards, another toponym appeared, ''Vaticanus'', denoting an area much more restricted: the Vatican Hill, today's St. Peter's Square, and possibly today's Via della Conciliazione. Under the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
, many villas were constructed there, after
Agrippina the Elder Agrippina "the Elder" (also, in Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as L ...
(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 Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (31 August 12 – 24 January 41), better known by his nickname Caligula (), was the third Roman emperor, ruling from 37 until his assassination in 41. He was the son of the popular Roman general Germanicu ...
(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 Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus ( ; born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus; 15 December AD 37 – 9 June AD 68), was the fifth Roman emperor and final emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, reigning from AD 54 unti ...
, the , usually called, simply, the
Circus of Nero The Circus of Nero or Circus of Caligula was a circus (building), circus in ancient Rome, located mostly in the present-day Vatican City. Location and dimensions The accompanying plan shows an early interpretation of the relative locations of t ...
. The Vatican Obelisk was originally taken by
Caligula Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (31 August 12 – 24 January 41), better known by his nickname Caligula (), was the third Roman emperor, ruling from 37 until his assassination in 41. He was the son of the popular Roman general Germanicu ...
from Heliopolis in
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مصر , ), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a List of transcontinental countries, transcontinental country spanning the North Africa, northeast corner of Africa and Western Asia, southwest corner of Asia via a land bridg ...
to decorate the ''spina'' of his
circus A circus is a company of performers who put on diverse entertainment shows that may include clowns, acrobats, trained animals, trapeze acts, musicians, dancers, hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, magicians, ventriloquists, and unicy ...
and is thus its last visible remnant. This area became the site of martyrdom of many Christians after the
Great Fire of Rome The Great Fire of Rome ( la, incendium magnum Romae) occurred in July AD 64. The fire began in the merchant shops around Rome's chariot stadium, Circus Maximus The Circus Maximus (Latin for "largest circus"; Italian language, Italian: ''Circo M ...
in AD 64. Ancient tradition holds that it was in this circus that
Saint Peter Saint Peter; he, שמעון בר יונה, Šimʿōn bar Yōnāh; ar, سِمعَان بُطرُس, translit=Simʿa̅n Buṭrus; grc-gre, Πέτρος, Petros; cop, Ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ, Petros; lat, Petrus; ar, شمعون الصفـا, Sham'un ...
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 in the first half of the 4th century. A shrine dedicated to the Phrygian goddess
Cybele Cybele ( ; Phrygian language, Phrygian: ''Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya'' "Kubileya/Kubeleya Mother", perhaps "Mountain Mother"; Lydian language, Lydian ''Kuvava''; el, Κυβέλη ''Kybele'', ''Kybebe'', ''Kybelis'') is an Anatolian mother godde ...
and her consort
Attis Attis (; grc-gre, Ἄττις, also , , ) was the consort of Cybele, in Phrygians, Phrygian and Greek mythology. His priests were eunuchs, the ''Galli'', as explained by origin myths pertaining to Attis castration, castrating himself. Attis ...
remained active long after the ancient Basilica of St. Peter was built nearby. Remains of this ancient
necropolis A necropolis (plural necropolises, necropoles, necropoleis, necropoli) is a large, designed cemetery with elaborate tomb monuments. The name stems from the Ancient Greek ''nekropolis'', literally meaning "city of the dead". The term usually im ...
were brought to light sporadically during renovations by various popes throughout the centuries, increasing in frequency during the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
until it was systematically excavated by orders of
Pope Pius XII Pope Pius XII ( it, Pio XII), born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli (; 2 March 18769 October 1958), was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City, Vatican City State from 2 March 1939 until his death in October 1958. ...
from 1939 to 1941. The Constantinian basilica was built in 326 over what was believed to be the
tomb of Saint Peter Saint Peter's tomb is a site under St. Peter's Basilica that includes several graves and a structure said by Vatican authorities to have been built to memorialize the location of Saint Peter's grave. St. Peter's tomb is alleged near the west end ...
, 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 Pope Symmachus (died 19 July 514) was the bishop of Rome from 22 November 498 to his death. His tenure was marked by a serious schism over who was elected pope by a majority of the Roman clergy. Early life He was born on the Mediterranean Sea, ...
(reigned 498–514).


Papal States

Popes gradually came to have a secular role as governors of regions near Rome. They ruled the
Papal States The Papal States ( ; it, Stato Pontificio, ), officially the State of the Church ( it, Stato della Chiesa, ; la, Status Ecclesiasticus;), were a series of territories in the Italian Peninsula under the direct sovereign rule of the pope fro ...
, 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 The Kingdom of Italy ( it, Regno d'Italia) was a state that existed from 1861, when Victor Emmanuel II of Kingdom of Sardinia, Sardinia was proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy, proclaimed King of Italy, until 1946, when civil discontent led to ...
. For most of this time, the popes did not live at the Vatican. The
Lateran Palace The Lateran Palace ( la, Palatium Lateranense), formally the Apostolic Palace of the Lateran ( la, Palatium Apostolicum Lateranense), is an ancient palace of the Roman Empire and later the main papal residence in southeast Rome. Located on St. J ...
, on the opposite side of Rome, was their habitual residence for about a thousand years. From 1309 to 1377, they lived at
Avignon Avignon (, ; ; oc, Avinhon, label= Provençal or , ; la, Avenio) is the prefecture of the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region In geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia''. Com ...
in France. On their return to Rome, they chose to live at the Vatican. They moved to the
Quirinal Palace The Quirinal Palace ( it, Palazzo del Quirinale ) is a historic building in Rome, Italy, one of the three current official residences of the President of Italy, president of the Italian Republic, together with Villa Rosebery in Naples and the Tenu ...
in 1583, after work on it was completed under
Pope Paul V Pope Paul V ( la, Paulus V; it, Paolo V) (17 September 1550 – 28 January 1621), born Camillo Borghese, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 16 May 1605 to his death in January 1621. In 1611, he honored ...
(1605–1621), but on the
capture of Rome The Capture of Rome ( it, Presa di Roma) on 20 September 1870 was the final event of the unification of Italy (''Risorgimento''), marking both the final defeat of the Papal States under Pope Pius IX and the unification of the Italian Peninsula ...
in 1870 retired to the Vatican, and what had been their residence became that of the
King of Italy King of Italy ( it, links=no, Re d'Italia; la, links=no, Rex Italiae) was the title given to the ruler of the Kingdom of Italy after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The first to take the title was Odoacer, a barbarian kingdoms, barbari ...
.


Italian unification

In 1870, the Pope's holdings were left in an uncertain situation when Rome itself was annexed by Italian forces, thus bringing to completion the
Italian unification The unification of Italy ( it, Unità d'Italia ), also known as the ''Risorgimento'' (, ; ), was the 19th-century Political movement, political and social movement that resulted in the Merger (politics), consolidation of List of historic stat ...
, 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 recognize 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 Pope Pius IX ( it, Pio IX, ''Pio Nono''; born Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti; 13 May 1792 – 7 February 1878) was head of the Catholic Church from 1846 to 1878, the List of popes by length of reign, longest verified papal reign. He was notable ...
(1846–1878), the last ruler of the Papal States, was referred to as a "
prisoner in the Vatican A prisoner in the Vatican ( it, Prigioniero nel Vaticano; la, Captivus Vaticani) or prisoner of the Vatican described the situation of the Pope with respect to Italy during the period from the capture of Rome by the armed forces of the Kingdom of ...
". Forced to give up secular power, the popes focused on spiritual issues.


Lateran treaties

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 Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (; 29 July 188328 April 1945) was an Italian politician and journalist who founded and led the National Fascist Party. He was Prime Minister of Italy from the March on Rome in 1922 until Fall of the Fascist re ...
on behalf of King
Victor Emmanuel III The name Victor or Viktor may refer to: * Victor (name), including a list of people with the given name, mononym, or surname Arts and entertainment Film * Victor (1951 film), ''Victor'' (1951 film), a French drama film * Victor (1993 film), ...
and by
Cardinal Secretary of State The Secretary of State of His Holiness (Latin: Secretarius Status Sanctitatis Suae, it, Segretario di Stato di Sua Santità), commonly known as the Cardinal Secretary of State, presides over the Holy See's Secretariat of State (Vatican), Secr ...
Pietro Gasparri Pietro Gasparri, GCTE (5 May 1852 – 18 November 1934) was a Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus an ...
for
Pope Pius XI Pope Pius XI ( it, Pio XI), born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti (; 31 May 1857 – 10 February 1939), was head of the Catholic Church from 6 February 1922 to his death in February 1939. He was the first sovereignty, sovereign of Vati ...
. The treaty, which became effective on 7 June 1929, established the independent state of Vatican City and reaffirmed the special status of Catholic Christianity in Italy.


World War II

The Holy See, which ruled Vatican City, pursued a policy of neutrality during
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, under the leadership of
Pope Pius XII Pope Pius XII ( it, Pio XII), born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli (; 2 March 18769 October 1958), was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City, Vatican City State from 2 March 1939 until his death in October 1958. ...
. Although German troops occupied the city of Rome after the September 1943
Armistice of Cassibile The Armistice of Cassibile was an armistice that was signed on 3 September 1943 and made public on 8 September between the Kingdom of Italy and the Allies of World War II, Allies during World War II. It was signed by Major General (United Stat ...
, and the Allies from 1944, they respected Vatican City as neutral territory. One of the main diplomatic priorities of the
bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained clergy member who is entrusted with a position of Episcopal polity, authority and oversight in a religious institution. In Christianity, bishops are normally responsible for the governance of dioceses. The role or offic ...
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.Chadwick, 1988, pp. 222–232 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 US entered 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 US military even exempted Catholic pilots and crew from air raids on Rome and other Church holdings, unless voluntarily agreed upon. Notably, with the exception of Rome, and presumably the possibility of the Vatican, no Catholic US pilot or air crew refused a mission within German-held Italy. The British uncompromisingly said "they would bomb Rome whenever the needs of the war demanded". In December 1942, the UK's envoy suggested to the Holy See that Rome be declared an "
open city In war, an open city is a settlement which has announced it has abandoned all defensive efforts, generally in the event of the imminent capture of the city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictio ...
", a suggestion that the Holy See took more seriously than was probably meant by the UK, 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 The Allied invasion of Sicily, also known as Operation Husky, was a major campaign of World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involve ...
, 500 US aircraft bombed Rome on 19 July 1943, aiming particularly at the railway hub. Some 1,500 people were killed. Pius XII, 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 UK had decided that they would never recognize Rome as an open city.


Post-war history

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 The Secretary of State of His Holiness (Latin: Secretarius Status Sanctitatis Suae, it, Segretario di Stato di Sua Santità), commonly known as the Cardinal Secretary of State, presides over the Holy See's Secretariat of State (Vatican), Secr ...
, Camerlengo,
Chancellor Chancellor ( la, cancellarius) is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the of Roman courts of justice—ushers, who sat at the or lattice work screens of a basilica or law cou ...
, and Prefect for the Congregation for the Religious among them. Pius XII created 32 cardinals in early 1946, having announced his intention to do so in his preceding Christmas message. The Pontifical Military Corps, except for the
Swiss Guard The Pontifical Swiss Guard (also Papal Swiss Guard or simply Swiss Guard; la, Pontificia Cohors Helvetica; it, Guardia Svizzera Pontificia; german: Päpstliche Schweizergarde; french: Garde suisse pontificale; rm, Guardia svizra papala) is ...
, was disbanded by the will of
Paul VI Pope Paul VI ( la, Paulus VI; it, Paolo VI; born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, ; 26 September 18976 August 1978) was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City, Vatican City State from 21 June 1963 to his ...
, as expressed in a letter of 14 September 1970. The Gendarmerie Corps was transformed into a civilian
police The police are a Law enforcement organization, constituted body of Law enforcement officer, persons empowered by a State (polity), state, with the aim to law enforcement, enforce the law, to ensure the safety, health and possessions of citize ...
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 Catholic Christianity as the Italian state religion, a position given to it by a statute of the
Kingdom of Sardinia The Kingdom of Sardinia,The name of the state was originally Latin: , or when the kingdom was still considered to include Corsica. In Italian it is , in French , in Sardinian , and in Piedmontese . also referred to as the Kingdom of Savoy-S ...
of 1848. Construction in 1995 of a new guest house,
Domus Sanctae Marthae The Domus Sanctae Marthae (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium ...
, adjacent to St Peter's Basilica was criticized 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. John R. Morss writes in the '' European Journal of International Law'' that due to the terms of the Lateran Treaty, Vatican City's status as a sovereign state, and the Pope's status as a head of state, are problematic.


Geography

The name "Vatican" was already in use in the time of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the ancient Rome, classical Roman civilization when it was run through res publica, public Representation (politics), representation of the Roman peo ...

Roman Republic
for the '' Ager Vaticanus'', a marshy area on the west bank of the
Tiber The Tiber ( ; it, Tevere ; la, Tiberis) is the third-longest List of rivers of Italy, river in Italy and the longest in Central Italy, rising in the Apennine Mountains in Emilia-Romagna and flowing through Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio, where ...

Tiber
across from the city of Rome, located between the
Janiculum The Janiculum (; it, Gianicolo ), occasionally the Janiculan Hill, is a hill in western Rome, Italy. Although it is the second-tallest hill (the tallest being Monte Mario) in the contemporary city of Rome, the Janiculum does not figure among th ...
, the
Vatican Hill Vatican Hill (; la, Mons Vaticanus; it, Colle Vaticano) is a hill located across the Tiber river from the traditional seven hills of Rome, that also gave the name of Vatican City. It is the location of St. Peter's Basilica. Etymology The anc ...
and
Monte Mario Monte Mario (English: Mount Mario or Mount Marius) is the hill that rises in the north-west area of Rome (Italy), on the right bank of the Tiber, crossed by the Via Trionfale. It occupies part of Balduina, of the territory of Municipio I, Munici ...
, down to the
Aventine Hill The Aventine Hill (; la, Collis Aventinus; it, Aventino ) is one of the Seven hills of Rome, Seven Hills on which ancient Rome was built. It belongs to Ripa (rione of Rome), Ripa, the modern twelfth ''rione'', or ward, of Rome. Location and ...
and up to the confluence of the
Cremera The Cremera is a Italian stream A stream is a continuous body of water, body of surface water Current (stream), flowing within the stream bed, bed and bank (geography), banks of a channel (geography), channel. Depending on its location or ...
creek. The territory of Vatican City is part of the Vatican Hill, and of the adjacent former Vatican Fields. It is in this territory that , the
Apostolic Palace The Apostolic Palace ( la, Palatium Apostolicum; it, Palazzo Apostolico) is the official residence of the pope, the head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian ...

Apostolic Palace
, the
Sistine Chapel The Sistine Chapel (; la, Sacellum Sixtinum; it, Cappella Sistina ) is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the pope in Vatican City. Originally known as the ''Cappella Magna'' ('Great Chapel'), the chapel takes its name ...

Sistine Chapel
, and museums were built, along with various other buildings. The area was part of the Roman ''
rione A (; plural: ) is a neighbourhood in several Italian cities. A is a territorial subdivision. The larger administrative subdivisions in Rome are the , with the being used only in the historic centre. The word derives from the Latin , the 14 reg ...
'' 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 Pope Pius IV ( it, Pio IV; 31 March 1499 – 9 December 1565), born Giovanni Angelo Medici, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 25 December 1559 to his death in December 1565. Born in Milan, his family considered ...
(1559–1565), and
Urban VIII Pope Urban VIII ( la, Urbanus VIII; it, Urbano VIII; baptised 5 April 1568 – 29 July 1644), born Maffeo Vincenzo Barberini, was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the L ...
(1623–1644). When the
Lateran Treaty The Lateran Treaty ( it, Patti Lateranensi; la, Pacta Lateranensia) was one component of the Lateran Pacts of 1929, agreements between the Fascist Italy (1922–1943), Kingdom of Italy under King of Italy, King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and ...
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 Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (; 29 July 188328 April 1945) was an Italian politician and journalist who founded and led the National Fascist Party. He was Prime Minister of Italy from the March on Rome in 1922 until Fall of the Fascist re ...
after the conclusion of the Lateran Treaty. According to the Lateran Treaty, certain
properties of the Holy See The properties of the Holy See are regulated by the 1929 Lateran Treaty signed with the Kingdom of Italy. Although part of Italian territory, some of them enjoy extraterritoriality similar to those of foreign embassies.see Article 13, 14, 15 ...
that are located in Italian territory, most notably the
Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo The Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo, or the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo from its Italian name Palazzo Apostolico di Castel Gandolfo, is a 135-acre (54.6-ha) complex of buildings in a garden setting in the city of Castel Gandolfo Caste ...
and the
major basilica In the Catholic Church, a basilica is a designation given by the Pope to a Church (building), church building. Basilicas are distinguished for ceremonial purposes from other churches. The building need not be a basilica in the architectural sen ...
s, enjoy extraterritorial status similar to that of foreign
embassies A diplomatic mission or foreign mission is a group of people from a Sovereign state, state or organization present in another state to represent the sending state or organization officially in the receiving or host state. In practice, the ph ...
. These properties, scattered all over Rome and Italy, house essential offices and institutions necessary to the character and mission of the Holy See.Lateran Treaty of 1929, Articles 13–16 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.


Climate

Vatican City's climate is the same as Rome's: a
temperate In geography, the temperate climates of Earth occur in the middle latitudes (23.5° to 66.5° N/S of Equator), which span between the tropics and the polar regions of Earth. These zones generally have wider temperature ranges throughout t ...
,
Mediterranean climate A Mediterranean climate (also called a dry summer temperate climate ''Cs'') is a temperate climate sub-type, generally characterized by warm, dry summers and mild, fairly wet winters; these weather conditions are typically experienced in the ...
'' 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. The highest temperature ever recorded was , on both 2 August 2017 and 27 June 2022. In July 2007, the Vatican accepted a proposal by two firms based respectively in
San Francisco San Francisco (; Spanish language, Spanish for "Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the commercial, financial, and cultural center of Northern California. The city proper is the List of Ca ...
and
Budapest Budapest (, ; ) is the capital and most populous city of Hungary. It is the ninth-largest city in the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of ...
, whereby it would become the first
carbon neutral Carbon neutrality is a state of net-zero carbon dioxide emissions Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities strengthen the greenhouse effect, contributing to climate change. Most is carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels: coal, petrol ...
state by offsetting its
carbon dioxide emissions Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities strengthen the greenhouse effect, contributing to climate change. Most is carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels: coal, petroleum, oil, and natural gas. The top contributors to greenhouse gas emi ...
with the creation of a Vatican Climate Forest in Hungary, as a purely symbolic gestureVatican signs up for a carbon offset forest
''Catholic News Service'', published 13 July 2007. Retrieved 3 August 2007
to encourage
Catholics The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a ...
to do more to safeguard the planet. Nothing came of the project. 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 panel A solar cell panel, solar electric panel, photo-voltaic (PV) module, PV panel or solar panel is an assembly of photovoltaic solar cells mounted in a (usually rectangular) frame, and a neatly organised collection of PV panels is called a photo ...
s.


Gardens

Within the territory of Vatican City are the Vatican Gardens ( it, Giardini Vaticani, links=no), which account for about half of this territory. The gardens, established during the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
and
Baroque The Baroque (, ; ) is a Style (visual arts), style of Baroque architecture, architecture, Baroque music, music, Baroque dance, dance, Baroque painting, painting, Baroque sculpture, sculpture, poetry, and other arts that flourished in Europe from ...
era, are decorated with fountains and sculptures. The gardens cover approximately . The highest point is
above mean sea level Height above mean sea level is a measure of the vertical distance ( height, elevation The elevation of a geographic location (geography), location is its height above or below a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathe ...
. 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 The Apostolic Palace ( la, Palatium Apostolicum; it, Palazzo Apostolico) is the official residence of the pope, the head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian ...

Apostolic Palace
. In 1279,
Pope Nicholas III Pope Nicholas III ( la, Nicolaus III; Wiktionary:circa, c. 1225 – 22 August 1280), born Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 25 November 1277 to his death on 22 August 1280. He was a Ro ...
(Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, 1277–1280) moved his residence back to the Vatican from the
Lateran Palace The Lateran Palace ( la, Palatium Lateranense), formally the Apostolic Palace of the Lateran ( la, Palatium Apostolicum Lateranense), is an ancient palace of the Roman Empire and later the main papal residence in southeast Rome. Located on St. J ...
and enclosed this area with walls. He planted an orchard ''(pomerium)'', a lawn ''(pratellum)'', and a garden ''(viridarium)''.


Governance

The politics of Vatican City takes place in the context of an
absolute Absolute may refer to: Companies * Absolute Entertainment, a video game publisher * Absolute Radio, (formerly Virgin Radio), independent national radio station in the UK * Absolute Software Corporation, specializes in security and data risk manage ...
elective monarchy An elective monarchy is a monarchy ruled by an election, elected monarch, in contrast to a hereditary monarchy in which the office is automatically passed down as a family inheritance. The manner of election, the nature of candidate qualification ...
, in which the head of the Catholic Church holds 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.


State and Holy See

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). Vatican City is one of the few widely recognized independent states that has not become a member of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...
. 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 United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), serving as the main deliberative, policymaking, and representative organ of the UN. Curr ...
.


Structure

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 The Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State ( la, Pontificia Commissio pro Civitate Vaticana, it, Pontificia Commissione per lo Stato della Città del Vaticano;) is the legislative body of Vatican City. It consists of a president, who also ...
, 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, and is thus the only absolute monarch in Europe. Operationally, there are departments that deal with health, security, telecommunications and other matters.


Sede vacante

The Cardinal Camerlengo presides over the
Apostolic Camera The Apostolic Camera ( la, Camera Apostolica), formerly known as the was an office in the Roman Curia. It was the central board of finance in the papal administrative system and at one time was of great importance in the government of the State ...
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 ''Sede vacante'' ( in Latin.) is a term for the state of a diocese while without a bishop. In the canon law of the Catholic Church, the term is used to refer to the vacancy of the bishop's or Pope's authority upon his death or resignation. Hi ...
(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 The College of Cardinals, or more formally the Sacred College of Cardinals, is the body of all cardinals of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by ...
as a whole.


Papal nobility

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 The black nobility or black aristocracy ( it, nobiltà nera, aristocrazia nera) are Rome, Roman aristocracy, aristocratic families who sided with the Papacy under Pope Pius IX after the House of Savoy, Savoy family-led army of the Kingdom of It ...
). They also formed the ceremonial Noble Guard. In the first decades of the existence of the Vatican City State,
executive functions In cognitive science and neuropsychology, executive functions (collectively referred to as executive function and cognitive control) are a set of cognitive processes that are necessary for the cognitive control of behavior: selecting and su ...
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 In law, ''motu proprio'' (Latin for "on his own impulse") describes an official act taken without a formal request from another Party (law), party. Some jurisdictions use the term ''sua sponte'' for the same concept. In Catholic canon law, it r ...
''
Pontificalis Domus ''Pontificalis Domus'' ( en, The Papal Household) was a ''motu proprio'' document issued by Pope Paul VI on 28 March 1968, in the fifth year of his pontificate. It reorganized the Papal household, Papal Household, which had been known until the ...
'' of 28 March 1968,
Pope Paul VI Pope Paul VI ( la, Paulus VI; it, Paolo VI; born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, ; 26 September 18976 August 1978) was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City, Vatican City State from 21 June 1963 to his ...
abolished the honorary positions that had continued to exist until then, such as Quartermaster general and
Master of the Horse Master of the Horse is an official position in several European nations. It was more common when most countries in Europe were monarchies, and is of varying prominence today. (Ancient Rome) The original Master of the Horse ( la, Magister Equitu ...
.


Head of state and government

The Pope is ''ex officio''
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "
he head of state He or HE may refer to: Language * He (pronoun), an English pronoun * He (kana), the romanization of the Japanese kana へ * He (letter) He is the fifth Letter (alphabet), letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician alphabet, Phoenic ...
being an embodiment of the State itself or representatitve of its international p ...
of Vatican City since the eighth century, functions dependent on his primordial function as bishop of the
diocese of Rome The Diocese of Rome ( la, Dioecesis Urbis seu Romana; it, Diocesi di Roma) is the diocese, ecclesiastical district under the direct jurisdiction of the Pope, who is Bishop of Rome and hence the supreme pontiff and head of the worldwide Catholi ...
and head of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . It is am ...

Catholic Church
. 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 The Roman Curia ( la, Romana Curia) comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the affairs of the Catholic Church are conducted. The Roman Curia is the institution which the Roman Pontiff or ...
. His official title with regard to Vatican City is ''Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City''.
Pope Francis Pope Francis ( la, Franciscus; it, Francesco; es, link=, Francisco; born Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 17 December 1936) is the head of the Catholic Church. He has been the bishop of Rome and sovereign of the Vatican City State since 13 March 2013. ...
, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in
Buenos Aires Buenos Aires ( or ; ), officially the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires ( es, link=no, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires), is the Capital city, capital and primate city of Argentina. The city is located on the western shore of the Río de la Plata ...
, Argentina, was
elected Elected may refer to: *Elected (song), "Elected" (song), by Alice Cooper, 1973 *Elected (EP), ''Elected'' (EP), by Ayreon, 2008 *The Elected, an American indie rock band See also

*Election {{disambiguation ...
on 13 March 2013. His principal subordinate government official for Vatican City as well as the country's
head of government The head of government is the highest or the second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, autonomous region, or other government who often presid ...
is the
President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State The Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State ( la, Pontificia Commissio pro Civitate Vaticana, it, Pontificia Commissione per lo Stato della Città del Vaticano;) is the legislative body of Vatican City. It consists of a president, who also ...
, who since 1952 exercises the functions previously belonging to the
Governor of Vatican City The post of Governor of the Vatican City State ( it, Governatore dello Stato della Città del Vaticano) was held by Marchese Camillo Serafini from the foundation of the state in 1929 until his death in 1952. No successor was appointed, and the pos ...
. 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 president is Spanish Cardinal Fernando Vérgez Alzaga, who was appointed on 1 October 2021.


Administration

Legislative A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
functions are delegated to the
unicameral Unicameralism (from ''uni''- "one" + Latin ''camera'' "chamber") is a type of legislature, which consists of one house or assembly, that legislates and votes as one. Unicameral legislatures exist when there is no widely perceived need for multic ...
Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State The Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State ( la, Pontificia Commissio pro Civitate Vaticana, it, Pontificia Commissione per lo Stato della Città del Vaticano;) is the legislative body of Vatican City. It consists of a president, who also ...
, led by the
President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State The Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State ( la, Pontificia Commissio pro Civitate Vaticana, it, Pontificia Commissione per lo Stato della Città del Vaticano;) is the legislative body of Vatican City. It consists of a president, who also ...
. 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 ''Acta Apostolicae Sedis'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latiu ...
''. 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 The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of courts that adjudication, adjudicates legal disputes/disagreements and interprets, defends, and app ...
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''.


Defence and security

As Vatican City is an enclave within Italy, its military defence is provided by the
Italian Armed Forces The Italian Armed Forces ( it, Forze armate italiane, ) encompass the Italian Army, the Italian Navy and the Italian Air Force. A fourth branch of the armed forces, known as the Carabinieri, take on the role as the nation's military police ...
. However, there is no formal defence treaty with Italy, as Vatican City is a neutral state. Vatican City has no armed forces of its own, although the
Swiss Guard The Pontifical Swiss Guard (also Papal Swiss Guard or simply Swiss Guard; la, Pontificia Cohors Helvetica; it, Guardia Svizzera Pontificia; german: Päpstliche Schweizergarde; french: Garde suisse pontificale; rm, Guardia svizra papala) is ...
is a military corps of the Holy See responsible for the personal security of the Pope, and residents in the state. Soldiers of the Swiss Guard are entitled to hold Vatican City State passports and nationality. Swiss
mercenaries A mercenary, sometimes Pseudonym, also known as a soldier of fortune or hired gun, is a private individual, particularly a soldier, that joins a military conflict for personal profit, is otherwise an outsider to the conflict, and is not a memb ...
were historically recruited by Popes as part of an army for the Papal States, and the
Pontifical Swiss Guard The Pontifical Swiss Guard (also Papal Swiss Guard or simply Swiss Guard; la, Pontificia Cohors Helvetica; it, Guardia Svizzera Pontificia; german: Päpstliche Schweizergarde; french: Garde suisse pontificale; rm, Guardia svizra papala) is ...
was founded by
Pope Julius II Pope Julius II ( la, Iulius II; it, Giulio II; born Giuliano della Rovere; 5 December 144321 February 1513) was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denomi ...
on 22 January 1506 as the Pope's personal bodyguard and continues to fulfill that function. It is listed in the ''
Annuario Pontificio The ''Annuario Pontificio'' (Italian language, Italian for ''Pontifical Yearbook'') is the annual directory of the Holy See of the Catholic Church. It lists the List of popes, popes in chronological order and all officials of the Holy See's dica ...
'' 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 The Swiss Armed Forces (german: Schweizer Armee, french: Armée suisse, it, Esercito svizzero, rm, Armada svizra; ) operates on land and in the air, serving as the primary armed forces of Switzerland. Under the country's militia system, sol ...
with certificates of good conduct, be between the ages of 19 and 30, and be at least in height. Members are equipped with
small arms A firearm is any type of gun designed to be readily carried and used by an individual. The term is legally defined further in different countries (see #Legal_definitions, Legal definitions). The first firearms originated in 10th-century History ...
and the traditional
halberd A halberd (also called halbard, halbert or Swiss voulge) is a two-handed pole weapon that came to prominent use during the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. The word ''halberd'' is cognate with the German word ''Hellebarde'', deriving from ...
(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 Pope Paul VI ( la, Paulus VI; it, Paolo VI; born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, ; 26 September 18976 August 1978) was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City, Vatican City State from 21 June 1963 to his ...
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 The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict is the first international treaty that focuses exclusively on the protection of cultural property in armed conflict. It was signed at The Hague, Nethe ...
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 A fire department (American English) or fire brigade (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English), also known as a fire authority, fire district, fire and rescue, or fire service in some areas, is an organization that provides ...
. 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 Wrong info! --> A gendarmerie () is a military force with law enforcement duties among the civilian population. The term ''gendarme'' () is derived from the medieval French expression ', which translates to "Man-at-arms, men-at-arms" ...
, or police and security force, of Vatican City and the extraterritorial properties of the Holy See. The corps is responsible for security,
public order In criminology, public-order crime is defined by Siegel (2004) as "crime which involves acts that interfere with the operations of society and the ability of people to function efficiently", i.e., it is behaviour that has been labelled criminal ...
,
border control Border control refers to measures taken by governments to monitor and regulate the movement of people, animals, and goods across land, air, and maritime borders. While border control is typically associated with international borders, it a ...
,
traffic control Traffic management is a key branch within logistics. It concerns the planning control and purchasing of transport services needed to physically move vehicles (for example aircraft, road vehicles, rolling stock and watercraft) and freight. Traffic ...
,
criminal investigation Criminal investigation is an applied science that involves the study of facts that are then used to inform criminal trials. A complete criminal investigation can include Search and seizure, searching, interviews, interrogations, Evidence (law), ...
, 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.


Crime

Crime in Vatican City consists largely of purse snatching,
pickpocketing Pickpocketing is a form of larceny Larceny is a crime involving the unlawful taking or theft of the personal property of another person or business. It was an offence under the common law of England and became an offence in jurisdictions whi ...
and
shoplifting Shoplifting is the theft of goods from an open retail Retail is the sale of goods and services to consumers, in contrast to wholesaling, which is sale to business or institutional customers. A retailer purchases goods in large quanti ...
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 offence, 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 The ''Polizia Penitenziari''a (in English, "Penitentiary Police"), formally the ''Corpo di Polizia Penitenziaria'' is a law enforcement agency in Italy which is subordinate to the Italian Ministry of Justice and operates the Italian prison ...
), with costs covered by the Vatican.


Foreign relations

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:"Vatican City State: Participation in International Organizations"
Vatican City State.
*
European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) was established on June 26, 1959, by nineteen European states in Montreux, Switzerland, as a coordinating body for European state telecommunications and postal ...
(CEPT) * European Telecommunications Satellite Organization (Eutelsat IGO) * International Grains Council (IGC) *
International Institute of Administrative Sciences Created in 1930, the International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAS) is an International Association with Scientific Purpose whose seat is in Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capi ...
(IIAS) *
International Telecommunication Union The International Telecommunication Union is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for many matters related to information and communication technologies. It was established on 17 May 1865 as the International Telegraph Unio ...
(ITU) * International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO) *
Interpol The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO; french: link=no, Organisation internationale de police criminelle), commonly known as Interpol ( , ), is an international organization that facilitates worldwide police cooperation and cri ...
*
Universal Postal Union The Universal Postal Union (UPU, french: link=no, Union postale universelle), established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874, is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that coordinates po ...
(UPU) It also participates in: *
World Medical Association The World Medical Association (WMA) is an international and independent confederation of free professional medical associations representing physicians A physician (American English), medical practitioner (English in the Commonwealth ...
*
World Intellectual Property Organization The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO; french: link=no, Organisation mondiale de la propriété intellectuelle (OMPI)) is one of the 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergover ...
(WIPO)


Non-party, non-signatory policy

The Vatican City is not a member of the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization whose stated purposes are to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be ...
(UN), but was granted observer status to the
United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), serving as the main deliberative, policymaking, and representative organ of the UN. Curr ...
in 1968; the only other Country in a similar position is the partially recognized
State of Palestine Palestine ( ar, فلسطين, Filasṭīn), Legal status of the State of Palestine, officially the State of Palestine ( ar, دولة فلسطين, Dawlat Filasṭīn, label=none), is a state (polity), state located in Western Asia. Officiall ...
. Since it is not a member of the UN, the Vatican City is not subjected to the jurisdiction of the
International Court of Justice The International Court of Justice (ICJ; french: Cour internationale de justice, links=no; ), sometimes known as the World Court, is one of the United Nations System#Six principal organs, six principal organs of the United Nations (UN). It s ...
(ICJ). It does, however, engage with various UN specialized agencies through its observer status including the
Central Emergency Response Fund The Central Emergency Response Fund (, CERF/FCIU) is a humanitarian fund established by the United Nations General Assembly on December 15, 2005 and launched in March 2006. With CERF’s objectives to 1) promote early action and response to reduc ...
, to which it contributed US$20,000 between 2006 and 2022. The Vatican City State is not a member of the
International Criminal Court The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) is an intergovernmental organization and International court, international tribunal seated in The Hague, Netherlands. It is the first and only permanent international court with jurisdiction to pro ...
(ICC). In Europe, only
Belarus Belarus,, , ; alternatively and formerly known as Byelorussia (from Russian ). officially the Republic of Belarus,; rus, Республика Беларусь, Respublika Belarus. is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by R ...
is also a non-party, non-signatory state, while Ukraine and the
Principality of Monaco Monaco (; ), officially the Principality of Monaco (french: Principauté de Monaco; Ligurian: ; oc, Principat de Mónegue), is a sovereign ''Sovereign'' is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word ...
are signatory States that have not ratified and the Russian Federation withdrew from it in 2016. The Vatican City State is not a member of the
European Court of Human Rights The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR or ECtHR), also known as the Strasbourg Court, is an international court of the Council of Europe which interprets the European Convention on Human Rights. The court hears applications alleging that a c ...
. Among European states, Belarus is also not a member, while the Russian Federation has ceased to be part of it after being expelled from the
Council of Europe The Council of Europe (CoE; french: Conseil de l'Europe, ) is an international organisation founded in the wake of World War II to uphold European Convention on Human Rights, human rights, democracy and the Law in Europe, rule of law in Europe. ...
following the
2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine On 24 February 2022, in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War, which began in 2014. The invasion has likely resulted in tens of thousands of deaths on both sides. It has caused Europe's List of largest refugee crises, largest refug ...
. The
OECD The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD; french: Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques, ''OCDE'') is an intergovernmental organization, intergovernmental organisation with 38 member countries ...
's "
Common Reporting Standard The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is an information standard for the Automatic Exchange Of Information (AEOI) regarding financial accounts on a global level, between tax authorities, which the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Develop ...
" (CRS), aiming at preventing
tax evasion Tax evasion is an illegal attempt to defeat the imposition of taxes by individuals, corporations, trust (property), trusts, and others. Tax evasion often entails the deliberate misrepresentation of the taxpayer's affairs to the tax authorities ...
and
money laundering Money laundering is the process of concealing the origin of money, obtained from illicit activities such as drug trafficking, corruption, embezzlement or gambling, by converting it into a legitimate source. It is a crime in many jurisdictions ...
, has also not been signed. The Vatican City State has been criticized for money laundering practises in the past decades. The only other country in Europe that has not agreed to sign the CRS is Belarus. The Vatican City State is also one of few countries in the world that does not provide any publicly available financial data to the IMF.


Economy

The Vatican City State budget includes the
Vatican Museums The Vatican Museums ( it, Musei Vaticani; la, Musea Vaticana) are the public museums of the Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' ...
and post office and is supported financially by the sale of
stamps Stamp or Stamps or Stamping may refer to: Official documents and related impressions * Postage stamp A postage stamp is a small piece of paper issued by a post office, postal administration, or other authorized vendors to customers who pay ...
,
coins A coin is a small, flat (usually depending on the country or value), round piece of metal or plastic used primarily as a medium of exchange or legal tender. They are standardized in weight, and produced in large quantities at a mint (facility), ...
, medals and tourist mementos; by fees for admission to museums; and by publications sales. 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 Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...

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/EC). Euro coins and notes were introduced on 1 January 2002—the Vatican does not issue
euro banknotes Banknotes of the euro, the common currency of the Eurozone (euro area members), have been in circulation since the first series (also called ''ES1'') was issued in 2002. They are issued by the national central banks of the Eurosystem or the Eur ...
. 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 Vatican euro coins are issued by the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican City State and minted by Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato (IPZS), in Rome, Italy. The euro is the official currency of the Vatican City, although Vatican ...
are highly sought by collectors. Until the adoption of the Euro, Vatican coinage and stamps were denominated in their own
Vatican lira The lira (plural ''lire''; abbreviation: VAL) was the currency of the Vatican City between 1929 and 2002. It was not a separate currency but an issue of the Italian lira; the Banca d'Italia produced coins specifically for Vatican City. History T ...
currency, which was on par with the Italian
lira Lira is the name of several currency units. It is the current Turkish lira, currency of Turkey and also the local name of the Lebanese pound, currencies of Lebanon and of Syrian pound, Syria. It is also the name of several former currencies, ...
. 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 US Department of State's International Narcotics Control Strategy Report listed Vatican City for the first time among the nations of concern for
money-laundering Money laundering is the process of concealing the origin of money, obtained from illicit activities such as drug trafficking, corruption, embezzlement or gambling, by converting it into a legitimate source. It is a crime in many jurisdictions ...
, 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 George Pell (born 8 June 1941) is an Australian Cardinal (Catholic Church), cardinal of the Catholic Church. He served as the inaugural prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy between 2014 and 2019, and was a member of the Council of Cardi ...
. This followed the charging of two senior clerics including a
monsignor Monsignor (; it, monsignore ) is an honorific form of address or title for certain male clergy members, usually members of the Roman Catholic Church. Monsignor is the apocope, apocopic form of the Italian language, Italian ''monsignore'', meaning ...
with money laundering offences. 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 The Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA; it, Amministrazione del Patrimonio della Sede Apostolica, link=no) is the office of the Roman Curia that deals with the "provisions owned by the Holy See in order to provide the fund ...
would be the Vatican's central bank, with responsibilities similar to other central banks around the world. In 2022, the Vatican planned to release NFTs of its museum collection.


Demographics

As of 2019, Vatican City had a population of 453 residents, regardless of citizenship. There were also 372 Vatican citizens residing elsewhere, consisting of diplomats of the Holy See to other countries and cardinals residing in Rome. The population is composed of clergy, other religious members, and lay people serving the state (such as the Swiss Guard) and their family members. In 2013 there were 13 families of the employees of the Holy See living in Vatican City, in 2019 there were 20 children of the Swiss Guards living at the Vatican. All citizens, residents and places of worship in the city are Catholic. The city also receives thousands of tourists and workers every day.


Languages

Vatican City has no formally enacted
official language An official language is a language given supreme status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically the term "official language" does not refer to the language used by a people or country, but by its government (e.g. judiciary, ...
, but, unlike the Holy See which most often uses
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...

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, Italian or Romansh. The official websites of the Holy See and of Vatican City are primarily in Italian, with versions of their pages in a large number of languages to varying extents.


Citizenship

Unlike
citizenship Citizenship is a "relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection". Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and ...
of other states, which is based either on ''
jus sanguinis ( , , ; 'right of blood') is a principle of nationality law by which citizenship Citizenship is a "relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection". Each s ...
'' (birth from a citizen, even outside the state's territory) or on ''
jus soli ''Jus soli'' ( , , ; meaning "right of soil"), commonly referred to as birthright citizenship, is the right of anyone born in the territory of a state to nationality or citizenship. ''Jus soli'' was part of the English common law, in contras ...
'' (birth within the territory of the state), citizenship of Vatican City is granted on ''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 also extended to the spouse and children of a citizen, provided they are living together in the city. Some individuals are also authorized to reside in the city but do not qualify or choose not to request citizenship. Anyone who loses Vatican citizenship and does not possess other citizenship automatically becomes an Italian citizen as provided in the Lateran Treaty. The Holy See, not being a country, issues only diplomatic and service passports, whereas Vatican City issues normal
passports A passport is an official travel document issued by a government that contains a person's Identity (social science), identity. A person with a passport can travel to and from foreign countries more easily and access consular assistance. A pass ...
for its citizens.


Statistical oddities

In statistics comparing countries in various
per capita ''Per capita'' is a Latin phrase literally meaning "by heads" or "for each head", and idiomatically used to mean "per person". The term is used in a wide variety of social sciences and statistical research contexts, including government statistic ...
or per area metrics, Vatican City is often an outlier—these can stem 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 is several 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 two because the country is less than half a square kilometre in area.


Culture

Vatican City is home to some of the most famous art in the world. , whose successive architects include
Bramante Donato Bramante ( , , ; 1444 – 11 April 1514), born as Donato di Pascuccio d'Antonio and also known as Bramante Lazzari, was an Italian architect and painter. He introduced Renaissance architecture to Milan and the High Renaissance style ...
,
Michelangelo Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (; 6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), known as Michelangelo (), was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet of the High Renaissance. Born in the Republic of Florence, his work was insp ...
,
Giacomo della Porta Giacomo della Porta (1532–1602) was an Italy, Italian architect and sculptor, who worked on many important buildings in Rome, including St. Peter's Basilica. He was born at Porlezza, Lombardy and died in Rome. Biography Giacomo Della Porta ...
, Maderno and
Bernini Gian Lorenzo (or Gianlorenzo) Bernini (, , ; Italian Giovanni Lorenzo; 7 December 159828 November 1680) was an Italian sculptor and architect. While a major figure in the world of architecture, he was more prominently the leading sculptor of his ...
, is a renowned work of
Renaissance architecture Renaissance architecture is the European architecture of the period between the early 15th and early 16th centuries in different regions, demonstrating a conscious revival and development of certain elements of Ancient Greece, ancient Greek and ...
. The
Sistine Chapel The Sistine Chapel (; la, Sacellum Sixtinum; it, Cappella Sistina ) is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the pope in Vatican City. Originally known as the ''Cappella Magna'' ('Great Chapel'), the chapel takes its name ...

Sistine Chapel
is famous for its frescos, which include works by
Perugino Pietro Perugino (, ; – 1523), born Pietro Vannucci, was an Italian Renaissance Painting, painter of the Umbrian school, who developed some of the qualities that found classic expression in the High Renaissance. Raphael was his most famous pup ...
,
Domenico Ghirlandaio Domenico di Tommaso Curradi di Doffo Bigordi (, , ; 2 June 1448 – 11 January 1494), professionally known as Domenico Ghirlandaio, also spelled as Ghirlandajo, was an Italian Renaissance List of Italian painters, painter born in Florence. ...
and
Botticelli Alessandro di Mariano di Vanni Filipepi ( – May 17, 1510), known as Sandro Botticelli (, ), was an Italian Renaissance painting, Italian painter of the Early Renaissance. Botticelli's posthumous reputation suffered until the late 19th cent ...
as well as the
ceiling A ceiling is an overhead interior surface that covers the upper limits of a room. It is not generally considered a structural element, but a finished surface concealing the underside of the roof structure or the floor of a story above. Ceilings ...
and
Last Judgment The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Reckoning, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, Doomsday, Day of Resurrection or The Day of the Lord (; ar, یوم القيامة, translit=Yawm al-Qiyāmah or ar, یوم الدین, translit=Yawm ad-Dīn, ...
by
Michelangelo Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (; 6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), known as Michelangelo (), was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, and poet of the High Renaissance. Born in the Republic of Florence, his work was insp ...
. Artists who decorated the interiors of the Vatican include
Raphael Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, better known as Raphael (; or ; March 28 or April 6, 1483April 6, 1520), was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. List of works by Raphael, His work is admired for its clarity of form, ease of ...
and
Fra Angelico Fra Angelico (born Guido di Pietro; February 18, 1455) was an Italians, Italian List of Italian painters, painter of the Early Italian Renaissance, Renaissance, described by Giorgio Vasari, Vasari in his ''Lives of the Artists'' as having "a r ...
. The Vatican Apostolic Library and the collections of the
Vatican Museums The Vatican Museums ( it, Musei Vaticani; la, Musea Vaticana) are the public museums of the Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' ...
are of the highest historical, scientific and cultural importance. In 1984, the Vatican was added by
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a List of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace and security through international coope ...
to the List of
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNES ...
s; 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 The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict is the first international treaty that focuses exclusively on the protection of cultural property in armed conflict. It was signed at The Hague, Nethe ...
. There is a
football Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, Kick (football), kicking a Football (ball), ball to score a Goal (sport), goal. Unqualified, Football (word), the word ''football'' normally means the form of football tha ...
championship, called the Vatican City Championship, with eight teams, including, for example, the Swiss Guard's FC Guardia and police and museum guard teams.


Infrastructure


Transport

Vatican City has a reasonably well-developed transport network considering its size (consisting mostly of a piazza and walkways). As a state that is long and 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 A standard-gauge railway is a railway with a track gauge of . The standard gauge is also called Stephenson gauge (after George Stephenson), International gauge, International Union of Railways, UIC gauge, uniform gauge, normal gauge and Europea ...
railway Rail transport (also known as train transport) is a means of transport Transport (in British English), or transportation (in American English), is the intentional Motion, movement of humans, animals, and cargo, goods from one location t ...
, mainly used to transport freight, connected to Italy's network at Rome's Saint Peter's station by an spur, of which is within Vatican territory.
Pope John XXIII Pope John XXIII ( la, Ioannes XXIII; it, Giovanni XXIII; born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, ; 25 November 18813 June 1963) was head of the Roman Catholic Church, Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City, Vatican City State from 28 Oc ...
was the first Pope to make use of the railway;
Pope John Paul II Pope John Paul II ( la, Ioannes Paulus II; it, Giovanni Paolo II; pl, Jan Paweł II; born Karol Józef Wojtyła ; 18 May 19202 April 2005) was the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 until his ...
rarely used it. The closest metro station is Ottaviano – San Pietro – Musei Vaticani.


Communications

The City is served by an independent, modern telephone system named the Vatican Telephone Service, and a
postal system The mail or post is a system for physically transporting postcards, letter (message), letters, and parcel (package), parcels. A postal service can be private or public, though many governments place restrictions on private systems. Since the mid ...
( Poste Vaticane) 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 Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican City, Vatican City State ( it, Ufficio Filatelico e Numismatico), managed by Poste Vaticane, is responsible for issuing Postage stamps and postal history of Vatican City, Vatican postal stamps an ...
. 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
top-level domain A top-level domain (TLD) is one of the Domain name, domains at the highest level in the hierarchical Domain Name System of the Internet after the root domain. The top-level domain names are installed in the DNS root zone, root zone of the name ...
, 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 Amateur radio, also known as ham radio, is the use of the radio frequency spectrum for purposes of non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, private recreation, radiosport, contesting, and emergency commu ...
operators.
Vatican Radio Vatican Radio ( it, Radio Vaticana; la, Statio Radiophonica Vaticana) is the official broadcasting service of Vatican City. Established in 1931 by Guglielmo Marconi, today its programs are offered in 47 languages, and are sent out on short wave, ...
, which was organized by
Guglielmo Marconi Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi, 1st Marquis of Marconi (; 25 April 187420 July 1937) was an Italians, Italian inventor and electrical engineering, electrical engineer, known for his creation of a practical radio wave-based Wireless telegrap ...
, broadcasts on
short-wave Shortwave radio is radio transmission using shortwave (SW) radio frequencies. There is no official definition of the band, but the range always includes all of the High frequency, high frequency band (HF), which extends from 3 to 30 MHz (10 ...
, 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 - A lawsuit is a proceeding by a party or parties against another in the civil court of law A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between P ...
. Television services are provided through another entity, the Vatican Television Center. ''
L'Osservatore Romano ''L'Osservatore Romano'' (, 'The Roman Observer') is the daily newspaper of Vatican City State which reports on the activities of the Holy See and events taking place in the Catholic Church and the world. It is owned by the Holy See but is not a ...
'' is the multilingual semi-official newspaper of the Holy See. It is published by a private corporation under the direction of Catholic laymen, but reports on official information. However, the official texts of documents are in the ''
Acta Apostolicae Sedis ''Acta Apostolicae Sedis'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latiu ...
'', the
official gazette A government gazette (also known as an official gazette, official journal, official newspaper, official monitor or official bulletin) is a periodical publication that has been authorised to publish public or legal notices. It is usually establi ...
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 The ''Annuario Pontificio'' (Italian language, Italian for ''Pontifical Yearbook'') is the annual directory of the Holy See of the Catholic Church. It lists the List of popes, popes in chronological order and all officials of the Holy See's dica ...
'', 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 The diplomatic corps (french: corps diplomatique) is the collective body of foreign diplomats accredited to a particular country or body. The diplomatic corps may, in certain contexts, refer to the collection of Letter of Credence, accredited he ...
accredited to the Holy See, after which is placed the section on the State of Vatican City.


Recycling

In 2008, the Vatican began an "ecological island" for renewable waste and has continued the initiative throughout the papacy of
Francis Francis may refer to: People *Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State and Bishop of Rome *Francis (given name), including a list of people and fictional characters *Francis (surname) Places *Rural Mu ...
. These innovations included, for example, the installation of a solar power system on the roof of the Paul VI Audience Hall. In July 2019, it was announced that Vatican City would ban the use and sale of single-use plastics as soon as its supply was depleted, well before the 2021 deadline established by the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
. It is estimated that 50–55% of Vatican City's municipal solid waste is properly sorted and recycled, with the goal of reaching the EU standard of 70–75%


See also

* Architecture of Vatican City *
Holy city A holy city is a city important to the history or faith of a specific religion. Such cities may also contain at least one headquarters complex (often containing a religious edifice, seminary, shrine, residence of the leading cleric of the religi ...
*
Index of Vatican City-related articles Index (or its plural form indices) may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Fictional entities * Index (''A Certain Magical Index''), a character in the light novel series ''A Certain Magical Index'' * The Index, an item on a Halo megastru ...
* Law of Vatican City * News.va * Outline of Vatican City


References


Footnotes


Citation notes


Bibliography

* * * * * * *


External links


Official websites

*
Official website of the Holy See


Other websites

* * * *
Inside the Vatican
on
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Vatican Chief of State and Cabinet Members

Holy See (Vatican City)
''
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''.
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.
Holy See (Vatican City)
from ''UCB Libraries GovPubs'' *
Vatican
from
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''The Vatican: spirit and art of Christian Rome''
a
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(fully available on the
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as
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) {{Authority control Southern European countries States and territories established in 1929 World Heritage Sites in Europe Countries in Europe Christian states Catholic pilgrimage sites Holy cities Italian-speaking countries and territories Properties of the Holy See Monarchies of Europe Catholic Church in Europe City-states Enclaved countries Landlocked countries Duty-free zones of Europe Enclaves and exclaves