Many visitors coming to Rome have the idea that the Vatican is a city, with streets, shops, houses, etc. , many of them don’t even know that the Vatican is a State. The big question is : what is the Vatican city State?

The Vatican

  1. The Vatican is a sovereign country
  2. The Vatican is the smallest country in the world
  3. The Vatican is not a city, but  a territory of 109 acres, the equivalent of 1/8 of Central Park in New York,  closed by a wall built in the XVI century
  4. The population of the Vatican is of 453 people, but only 246 are citizens, amongst them the 104 Swiss guards.
  5. The Vatican citizens instead are 618. Of them 372 of   are  dwelling in Italy   or other countries.

Why such a particular State?

Everything started in the year 1870 when the Pope Pius IX lost the power of Rome, that was part of the Pontifical State. The Pontifical State was a territory occupying the central part of Italy where the Pope had the  political and religious power.      On September  of 1870 Rome was occupied by the “bersaglieri”: soldiers of the King Victor Emanuel II, and proclaimed Rome Capital of the Reign of Italy. The Pope Pius IX self-exiled in his palace, the Vatican.

In 1929 Italy was a Reign ruled by the dictator Benito Mussolini who had imposed a dictatorship. After several meetings with the Pope Pius XI he announced to the world that the Vatican territory would be recognized as a sovereign country. This territory included St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Peter’s square, the Sistine Chapel, the large Museum created since the 1506 and the Papal palace.