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Travel Info: Visit Vatican City

Vatican in Italy

»  Vatican City formally State of the Vatican City , or Vatican City State is an ecclesiastical sovereign landlocked enclave surrounded by Rome, Italy. The modern-day home of the popes, it is the smallest independent nation state in the world in terms of area and population. It is administered by the Holy See, the ecclesiastical seat of the Roman Catholic Church and its Eastern Rites.

The Head of State is the Pope. The Pope delegates the internal administration of the Vatican City to the Pontifical Commission for the State of the Vatican City. The Vatican City maintains the Swiss Guards - a voluntary military force, as well as a modern security corps. It has its own post office, commissary (supermarket), a bank (the automatic teller machines are the only ones in the world to use Latin), railway station, electricity generating plant, and publishing house. The Vatican also issues its own coins and stamps and controls its own Internet domain. Radio Vatican, the official radio station, is one of the most influential in Europe. The Vatican City, one of the European microstates, is situated on the Vatican Hill in the north-western part of Rome, several hundred metres west of the Tiber river, on the latter's right bank. Its borders (3.2km in total, all with Italy) closely follow the city wall constructed to protect the Pope from outside attack. The situation is more complex at the famous St. Peter's Square in front of the St. Peter's Basilica.

Capital: Vatican City
Offical Language:
0.44  SQ KM
Calling Code:

» Almost all of Vatican City's 921 citizens live inside the Vatican's walls. The Vatican citizenry consists mainly of clergy, including high dignitaries, priests, nuns, as well as the famous Swiss Guard, a volunteer military force. There are also about 3,000 lay workers who comprise the majority of the Vatican work force, but who reside outside the Vatican.

» The official language is Latin, the language that is the base for many languages such as French, Spanish and parts of English that originated in Rome and has remained in use in the Roman Catholic Church. Italian and, to a lesser extent, other languages are generally used for most conversations, publications, and broadcasts. German is the official language of the Swiss Guard.

The Holy See is the legal body that conducts diplomatic relations for the Vatican City. It maintains formal diplomatic relations with 174 sovereign states, the European Union, and the Order of Malta; 69 of these maintain permanent resident diplomatic missions accredited to the Holy See in Rome.

» The Vatican City is itself of great cultural significance. Buildings such as St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel are home to some of the most beautiful art in the world, which includes works by artists such as Botticelli, Bernini and Michelangelo. The Vatican Library and the collections of the Vatican Museums are of the highest historical, scientific and cultural importance.

The permanent population of the Vatican City is predominately male, although two orders of nuns live in the Vatican. A minority are senior Catholic clergy; the remainder are members of religious orders.


Vatican Travel Links   V a t i c a n   T r a v e l   L i n k s

Vatican Travel Guide
Heritage Sites of Vatican
Vatican Council for Culture

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