Population: 836 (est.)
Capital: Vatican City
- The Euro (€) is the official currency of Vatican City.
- All of the City’s actual citizens are Catholic as are all the places of worship.
- Vatican City is the smallest sovereign state in the world in terms of land mass and population.
- The Vatican citizenry consists almost entirely of two groups: clergy working as officials of the Vatican as a state or of the Catholic Church; and the Swiss Guard.
- The unique, noncommercial economy of Vatican City is supported financially by contributions (known as Peter’s Pence) from Roman Catholics throughout the world, the sale of postage stamps and tourist mementos, fees for admission to museums, and the sale of publications.
- The Vatican’s radio station is located in a tower inside the Vatican Gardens and broadcasts in 20 languages throughout the world.
- The Vatican’s railway Station was opened in 1930 and is mostly used for freight.
- The Vatican City issues its own passports; the Pope, cardinals, members of the Swiss guard and clergy being the recipients.
- The Vatican City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the only site to encompass a whole country.
- Italians are allowed to donate 8% of their yearly taxes to the Vatican (this is instead of paying it to the Italian Government).
- The Vatican museums are over 9 miles (14,5 kilometers) long, and it is said that if you spent only 1 minute admiring each painting it would take you nearly 4 years to complete the circuit.
- Vatican City is home to the Catholic spiritual leader Pope Francis.
Vatican City, or Vatican City State, in Italian officially Stato della Città del Vaticano, is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. It has an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of just over 800. This makes Vatican City the smallest independent state in the world by both area and population.
Vatican City State was established in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri, on behalf of Pope Pius XI and by Prime Minister and Head of Government Benito Mussolini on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy. Vatican City State is distinct from the Holy See, which dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of 1.2 billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe. Ordinances of Vatican City are published in Italian; official documents of the Holy See are issued mainly in Latin. The two entities have distinct passports: the Holy See, not being a country, issues only diplomatic and service passports, whereas Vatican City State issues normal passports. In each case very few passports are issued.
The Lateran Treaty in 1929, which brought the city-state into existence, spoke of it as a new creation (Preamble and Article III), not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756–1870) that had previously encompassed much of central Italy. Most of this territory was absorbed into the Kingdom of Italy in 1860, and the final portion, namely the city of Rome with Lazio, ten years later, in 1870.
Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state, ruled by the Bishop of Rome—the Pope. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergymen of various national origins. It is the sovereign territory of the Holy See (Sancta Sedes) and the location of the Pope’s residence, referred to as the Apostolic Palace.
The Popes have generally resided in the area that in 1929 became Vatican City since the return from Avignon in 1377, but have also at times resided in the Quirinal Palace in Rome and elsewhere. Previously, they resided in the Lateran Palace on the Caelian Hill on the far side of Rome from the Vatican. Emperor Constantine gave this site to Pope Miltiades in 313. The signing of the agreements that established the new state took place in the latter building, giving rise to the name of Lateran Pacts, by which they are known.