Vatican City (Listeni/ /), officially the Vatican City State (Italian: Stato della Città del Vaticano;[d] pronounced [ˈstaːto della t͡ʃitˈta (d)del vatiˈkaːno]; Latin: Status Civitatis Vaticanae) is a walled enclave within the city of Rome. With an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of 842, it is the smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world by both area and population.
It is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state ruled by the Bishop of Rome — the Pope. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergy of various national origins. Since the return of the Popes from Avignon in 1377, they have generally resided at the Apostolic Palace within what is now Vatican City, although at times residing instead in the Quirinal Palace in Rome or elsewhere.
Vatican City is distinct from the Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes),[e] which dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of 1.2 billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe. The independent city-state, on the other hand, came into existence in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy, which spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756–1870), which had previously encompassed much of central Italy. According to the terms of the treaty, the Holy See has "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction" over the city-state.
Within Vatican City are cultural sites such as St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. They feature some of the world's most famous paintings and sculptures. The unique economy of Vatican City is supported financially by the sale of postage stamps and tourist mementos, fees for admission to museums, and the sale of publications.
- 1 Name
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Governance
- 5 Economy
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Culture
- 8 Infrastructure
- 9 Crime
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
The name Vatican City was first used in the Lateran Treaty, signed on 11 February 1929, which established the modern city-state. The name is taken from Vatican Hill, the geographic location of the state. "Vatican" is likely to derive from the name of an Etruscan settlement, possibly called Vatica or Vaticum, located in the general area the Romans called vaticanus ager, "Vatican territory".
The official Italian name of the city is Città del Vaticano or, more formally, Stato della Città del Vaticano, meaning "Vatican City State". Although the Holy See (which is distinct from the Vatican City) and the Catholic Church use Ecclesiastical Latin in official documents, the Vatican City officially uses Italian. The Latin name is Latin: Status Civitatis Vaticanae; this is used in official documents by not just the Holy See, but in most official Church and Papal documents.
View of St. Peter's Square from the top of Michelangelo's dome
|Architectural style(s)||Renaissance and Baroque|
|Criteria||i, ii, iv, vi|
|Designated||1984 (8th session)|
|State Party||Holy See|
The name "Vatican" was already in use in the time of the Roman Republic for a marshy area on the west bank of the Tiber across from the city of Rome. Under the Roman Empire, many villas were constructed there, after Agrippina the Elder (14 BC – 18 October AD 33) drained the area and laid out her gardens in the early 1st century AD. In AD 40, her son, Emperor Caligula (31 August AD 12–24 January AD 41; r. 37–41) built in her gardens a circus for charioteers (AD 40) that was later completed by Nero, the Circus Gaii et Neronis, usually called, simply, the Circus of Nero.
Even before the arrival of Christianity, it is supposed that this originally uninhabited part of Rome (the ager vaticanus) had long been considered sacred, or at least not available for habitation. A shrine dedicated to the Phrygian goddess Cybele and her consort Attis remained active long after the Constantinian Basilica of St. Peter was built nearby.
The particularly low quality of Vatican wine, even after the reclamation of the area, was commented on by the poet Martial (40 – between 102 and 104 AD). In AD 69, the Year of the Four Emperors, when the northern army that brought Aulus Vitellius to power arrived in Rome, "a large proportion camped in the unhealthy districts of the Vatican, which resulted in many deaths among the common soldiery; and the Tiber being close by, the inability of the Gauls and Germans to bear the heat and the consequent greed with which they drank from the stream weakened their bodies, which were already an easy prey to disease".
The Vatican Obelisk was originally taken by Caligula from Heliopolis, Egypt, to decorate the spina of his circus and is thus its last visible remnant. This area became the site of martyrdom of many Christians after the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64. Ancient tradition holds that it was in this circus that Saint Peter was crucified upside-down.
Opposite the circus was a cemetery separated by the Via Cornelia. Funeral monuments and mausoleums and small tombs as well as altars to pagan gods of all kinds of polytheistic religions were constructed lasting until before the construction of the Constantinian Basilica of St. Peter's in the first half of the 4th century. Remains of this ancient necropolis were brought to light sporadically during renovations by various popes throughout the centuries, increasing in frequency during the Renaissance until it was systematically excavated by orders of Pope Pius XII from 1939 to 1941. The Constantinian basilica was built in 326 over what was believed to be the tomb of Saint Peter, buried in that cemetery.
From then on, the area became more populated in connection with activity at the basilica. A palace was constructed nearby as early as the 5th century during the pontificate of Pope Symmachus (reigned 498–514).
Popes gradually came to have a secular role as governors of regions near Rome. They ruled the Papal States, which covered a large portion of the Italian peninsula, for more than a thousand years until the mid-19th century, when all the territory belonging to the papacy was seized by the newly created Kingdom of Italy.
For most of this time the popes did not live at the Vatican. The Lateran Palace, on the opposite side of Rome was their habitual residence for about a thousand years. From 1309 to 1377, they lived at Avignon in France. On their return to Rome they chose to live at the Vatican. They moved to the Quirinal Palace after work on it was completed under Pope Paul V (1605–1621), but on the capture of Rome in 1870 retired to the Vatican, and what had been their residence became that of the King of Italy.
In 1870, the Pope's holdings were left in an uncertain situation when Rome itself was annexed by the Piedmont-led forces which had united the rest of Italy, after a nominal resistance by the papal forces. Between 1861 and 1929 the status of the Pope was referred to as the "Roman Question".
Italy made no attempt to interfere with the Holy See within the Vatican walls. However, it confiscated church property in many places. In 1871, the Palazzo Quirinale, the Papal palace since 1583, was confiscated by the king of Italy and became the royal palace. Thereafter the popes resided undisturbed within the Vatican walls, and certain papal prerogatives were recognized by the Law of Guarantees, including the right to send and receive ambassadors. But the Popes did not recognise the Italian king's right to rule in Rome, and they refused to leave the Vatican compound until the dispute was resolved in 1929; Pope Pius IX (1846–78), the last ruler of the Papal States, was referred to as a "prisoner in the Vatican". Forced to give up secular power, the popes focused on spiritual issues.
This situation was resolved on 11 February 1929, when the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and the Kingdom of Italy was signed by Prime Minister and Head of Government Benito Mussolini on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel III and by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri for Pope Pius XI. The treaty, which became effective on 7 June 1929, established the independent state of Vatican City and reaffirmed the special status of Catholicism in Italy.
World War II
The Holy See, which ruled Vatican City, pursued a policy of neutrality during World War II, under the leadership of Pope Pius XII. Although German troops occupied the city of Rome after the September 1943 Armistice of Cassibile, and the Allies from 1944, they respected Vatican City as neutral territory. One of the main diplomatic priorities of the bishop of Rome was to prevent the bombing of the city; so sensitive was the pontiff that he protested even the British air dropping of pamphlets over Rome, claiming that the few landing within the city-state violated the Vatican's neutrality. The British policy, as expressed in the minutes of a Cabinet meeting, was: "that we should on no account molest the Vatican City, but that our action as regards the rest of Rome would depend upon how far the Italian government observed the rules of war".
After the American entry into the war, the US opposed such a bombing, fearful of offending Catholic members of its military forces, but said that "they could not stop the British from bombing Rome if the British so decided". The British uncompromisingly said "they would bomb Rome whenever the needs of the war demanded". In December 1942, the British envoy suggested to the Holy See that Rome be declared an "open city", a suggestion that the Holy See took more seriously than was probably meant by the British, who did not want Rome to be an open city, but Mussolini rejected the suggestion when the Holy See put it to him. In connection with the Allied invasion of Sicily, 500 American aircraft bombed Rome on 19 July 1943, aiming particularly at the railway hub. Some 1,500 people were killed; Pius XII himself, who had been described in the previous month as "worried sick" about the possible bombing, went to the scene of the tragedy. Another raid took place on 13 August 1943, after Mussolini had been ousted from power. On the following day, the new government declared Rome an open city, after consulting the Holy See on the wording of the declaration, but the British had decided that they would never recognize Rome as an open city.
Pius XII had refrained from creating cardinals during the war. By the end of World War II, there were several prominent vacancies: Cardinal Secretary of State, Camerlengo, Chancellor, and Prefect for the Congregation for the Religious among them. Pius XII created 32 cardinals in early 1946, having announced his intentions to do so in his preceding Christmas message.
The Pontifical Military Corps, except for the Swiss Guard, was disbanded by will of Paul VI, as expressed in a letter of 14 September 1970. The Gendarmerie Corps was transformed into a civilian police and security force.
In 1984, a new concordat between the Holy See and Italy modified certain provisions of the earlier treaty, including the position of Catholicism as the Italian state religion, a position given to it by a statute of 1848.
Construction in 1995 of a new guest house, Domus Sanctae Marthae, adjacent to St Peter's Basilica was criticised by Italian environmental groups, backed by Italian politicians. They claimed the new building would block views of the Basilica from nearby Italian apartments. For a short while the plans strained the relations between the Vatican and the Italian government. The head of the Vatican's Department of Technical Services robustly rejected challenges to the Vatican State's right to build within its borders.
The name "Vatican" predates Christianity and comes from the Latin Mons Vaticanus, meaning Vatican Mount. The territory of Vatican City is part of the Mons Vaticanus, and of the adjacent former Vatican Fields. It is in this territory that St. Peter's Basilica, the Apostolic Palace, the Sistine Chapel, and museums were built, along with various other buildings. The area was part of the Roman rione of Borgo until 1929. Being separated from the city, on the west bank of the Tiber river, the area was an outcrop of the city that was protected by being included within the walls of Leo IV (847–55), and later expanded by the current fortification walls, built under Paul III (1534–49), Pius IV (1559–65) and Urban VIII (1623–44).
When the Lateran Treaty of 1929 that gave the state its form was being prepared, the boundaries of the proposed territory were influenced by the fact that much of it was all but enclosed by this loop. For some tracts of the frontier, there was no wall, but the line of certain buildings supplied part of the boundary, and for a small part of the frontier a modern wall was constructed.
The territory includes St. Peter's Square, distinguished from the territory of Italy only by a white line along the limit of the square, where it touches Piazza Pio XII. St. Peter's Square is reached through the Via della Conciliazione which runs from close to the Tiber River to St. Peter's. This grand approach was constructed by Benito Mussolini after the conclusion of the Lateran Treaty.
According to the Lateran Treaty, certain properties of the Holy See that are located in Italian territory, most notably the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo and the major basilicas, enjoy extraterritorial status similar to that of foreign embassies. These properties, scattered all over Rome and Italy, house essential offices and institutions necessary to the character and mission of the Holy See.
Castel Gandolfo and the named basilicas are patrolled internally by police agents of Vatican City State and not by Italian police. According to the Lateran Treaty (Art. 3) St. Peter's Square, up to but not including the steps leading to the basilica, is normally patrolled by the Italian police.
There are no passport controls for visitors entering Vatican City from the surrounding Italian territory. There is free public access to Saint Peter's Square and Basilica and, on the occasion of papal general audiences, to the hall in which they are held. For these audiences and for major ceremonies in Saint Peter's Basilica and Square, tickets free of charge must be obtained beforehand. The Vatican Museums, incorporating the Sistine Chapel, usually charge an entrance fee. There is no general public access to the gardens, but guided tours for small groups can be arranged to the gardens and excavations under the basilica. Other places are open to only those individuals who have business to transact there.
Vatican City's climate is the same as Rome's: a temperate, Mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters from September to mid-May and hot, dry summers from May to August. 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.
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This page is a soft redirect. Climate data for Vatican City
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This page is a soft redirect.Source: Servizio Meteorologico, data of sunshine hours
In July 2007, the Vatican accepted a proposal by two firms based respectively in San Francisco and Budapest, whereby it would become the first carbon neutral state by offsetting its carbon dioxide emissions with the creation of a Vatican Climate Forest in Hungary, as a purely symbolic gesture to encourage Catholics to do more to safeguard the planet. Nothing came of the project.
Within the territory of Vatican City are the Vatican Gardens (Italian: Giardini Vaticani), which account for more than half of this territory. The gardens, established during the Renaissance and Baroque era, are decorated with fountains and sculptures.
The gardens cover approximately Script error: No such module "convert". which is most of the Vatican Hill. The highest point is Script error: No such module "convert". above mean sea level. Stone walls bound the area in the North, South and West.
The gardens date back to medieval times when orchards and vineyards extended to the north of the Papal Apostolic Palace. In 1279 Pope Nicholas III (Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, 1277–1280) moved his residence back to the Vatican from the Lateran Palace and enclosed this area with walls. He planted an orchard (pomerium), a lawn (pratellum) and a garden (viridarium).
Vatican City has a reasonably well developed transport network considering its size (consisting mostly of a piazza and walkways). As a state that is 1.05 kilometres (0.6 mi) long and 0.85 kilometres (0.5 mi) wide, it has a small transportation system with no airports or highways. The only aviation facility in Vatican City is the Vatican City Heliport. There is a standard gauge railway connected to Italy's network at Rome's Saint Peter's station by an Script error: No such module "convert". spur, Script error: No such module "convert". of which is within Vatican territory.
Pope John XXIII was the first Pope to make use of this railway. Pope John Paul II rarely used it. The railway is mainly used to transport freight. As Vatican City has no airports (it is one of the few independent states in the world without one, except for the aforementioned heliport), it is served by the airports that serve the city of Rome, namely: Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport and to a lesser extent, Ciampino Airport, both of which serve as the departure gateway for the Pope's international visits.
The City is served by an independent, modern telephone system, the Vatican Pharmacy, and post office. The postal system was founded on 11 February 1929, and two days later became operational. On 1 August, the state started to release its own postal stamps, under the authority of the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican City State. The City's postal service is sometimes recognised as "the best in the world" and mail has been noted to arrive at its destination before the postal service in Rome. Vatican City also has its own telephone service, the Vatican telephone service.
The Vatican also controls its own Internet TLD, which is registered as (.va). Broadband service is widely provided within Vatican City. Vatican City has also been given a radio ITU prefix, HV, and this is sometimes used by amateur radio operators.
Vatican Radio, which was organised by Guglielmo Marconi, broadcasts on short-wave, medium-wave and FM frequencies and on the Internet. Its main transmission antennae are located in Italian territory. Television services are provided through another entity, the Vatican Television Center.
L'Osservatore Romano is the multilingual semi-official newspaper of the Holy See. It is published by a private corporation under the direction of Roman Catholic laymen, but reports on official information. However, the official texts of documents are in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the official gazette of the Holy See, which has an appendix for documents of the Vatican City State.
Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Center, and L'Osservatore Romano are organs not of the Vatican State but of the Holy See, and are listed as such in the Annuario Pontificio, which places them in the section "Institutions linked with the Holy See", ahead of the sections on the Holy See's diplomatic service abroad and the Diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See, after which is placed the section on the State of Vatican City.
Crime in Vatican City consists largely of purse snatching, pickpocketing and shoplifting by outsiders. The tourist foot-traffic in St. Peter's Square is one of the main locations for pickpockets in Vatican City. If crimes are committed in Saint Peter's Square, the perpetrators may be arrested and tried by the Italian authorities, since that area is normally patrolled by Italian police.
Under the terms of article 22 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 under the treaty enjoy immunity.
Vatican City has no prison system, apart from a few detention cells for pre-trial detention. People convicted of committing crimes in the Vatican serve terms in Italian prisons (Polizia Penitenziaria), with costs covered by the Vatican.
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- Index of Vatican City-related articles
- Law of Vatican City
- Outline of Vatican City
- Passetto di Borgo
- In accordance with paragraph 2 of the Legge sulle fonti del diritto of 7 June 1929, all laws and regulations of the state are published in the Italian-language Supplemento per le leggi e disposizioni dello Stato della Città del Vaticano attached to the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. The text of the first seven items published in that supplement is given here. While the state itself uses only Italian, many other languages are used by institutions situated within the state, such as the Holy See, the Pontifical Swiss Guard, and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
The Holy See uses Latin as its main official language, Italian as its main working language and French as its main diplomatic language; in addition, its Secretariat of State uses English, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish. The Swiss Guard, in which commands on parade are given in German, also uses French and Italian, the other two official Swiss languages, in its official ceremonies, such as the annual swearing in of the new recruits on 6 May.
- Visitors and tourists are not permitted to drive inside the Vatican without specific permission, which is normally granted only to those on official business in the Vatican.
- ITU-T assigned code 379 to Vatican City. However, Vatican City is included in the Italian telephone numbering plan and uses the Italian country code 39, followed by 06 (for Rome) and 698.
- "Stato della Città del Vaticano" is the name used in the text of the state's Fundamental Law and in the state's official website.
- The Holy See is the central governing body of the Catholic Church and a sovereign entity recognized by international law, consisting of the Pope and the Roman Curia. It is also commonly referred to as "the Vatican", especially when used as a metonym for the hierarchy of the Catholic Church
- The Holy See's budget, which is distinct from that of Vatican City State, is supported financially by a variety of sources, including investments, real estate income, and donations from Catholic individuals, dioceses, and institutions; these help fund the Roman Curia (Vatican bureaucracy), diplomatic missions, and media outlets. Moreover, an annual collection taken up in dioceses and direct donations go to a non-budgetary fund known as Peter's Pence, which is used directly by the Pope for charity, disaster relief and aid to churches in developing nations.
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- One of the titles of the Pope listed in the Annuario Pontificio is "Sovereign of Vatican City State" (page 23* in recent editions).
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- Ricci, Corrado; Begni, Ernesto (2003) . The Vatican: Its History, Its Treasures. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 0-7661-3941-7.
- 12px This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "The Vatican". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.
|40x40px||Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vaticano.|
|40x40px||Wikivoyage has a travel guide for The Vatican.|
- Official website
- Official website of the Holy See
- Inside the Vatican on National Geographic YouTube channel
- Vatican Chief of State and Cabinet Members
- Holy See (Vatican City) entry at The World Factbook
- Holy See (Vatican City) from UCB Libraries GovPubs
- Vatican City at DMOZ
- Vatican from the BBC News
- 16x16px Wikimedia Atlas of Vatican City
- 16x16px Geographic data related to Vatican City at OpenStreetMap
- The Vatican: spirit and art of Christian Rome, a book from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Libraries (fully available online as PDF)
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