Vatican City State!!!

And now look up this older post and decided it was time to revise the text and update the links. I was here once while vacationing with the family in Rome. A memorable visit even if hugely overcrowded. Hope you enjoy and have better luck on crowds visiting the Vatican City State!

Let me tell you about something celestial. I have heard about it all my life, and came to watch ceremonies on TV for many years. Even on my business trips to Rome never had the time to get there, until then. The family call to visit Rome and of course, we needed to come here, the Vatican city State, the seat of the Catholic Church.  I remembered taken the bus 62 all the way from Piazza Bologna to near the back of Castel de Sant Angelo and then walk to the Vatican City. It was a hot day in August, but we are used to that and the walked slowly arriving on the Via della Conciliazione was marvelous.


I like to tell you a bit more on the history and architecture of the Vatican City State.

The ancient origin of this territory of the Papal States is an accumulation of land donations received by successive Popes, from the Constantine’s times to that of the Lombard kingdom . The Pope was thus placed at the head of an important land estate known as the Saint-Pierre heritage, under Byzantine suzerainty.  Some villas, built around imperial gardens, were owned by Agrippina. The latter’s son, Emperor Caligula , had a private circus, the Circus Vaticanus, which was one of the only vestiges of the present Vatican obelisk. It was there, as well as in the adjacent gardens, that the martyrdom of many Christians of Rome took place at the time of Nero . It is said that Saint Peter was buried north of this circus, in a necropolis that skirted a secondary road, via Cornelia. At the place of his burial, the emperor Constantine built between 326 and 333 a grandiose Basilica at the site of the ancient Roman circus, which was then demolished. The building was replaced by the present Basilica in the 16C and 17C. The construction of the Vatican Palace began under the pontificate of Nicolas V in the first half of the 15C.


Vatican city (Citta del Vaticano), the papal residence, was built over the tomb of Saint Peter. The Vatican’s position as a sovereign state within a state was guaranteed by the Lateran Treaty of 1929, marked by the building of a new road, the Via della Conciliazione. This leads from huge St Peter’s Basilica to Castel Sant’ Angelo (castle). The Vatican is the smallest state in the world, based in RomeItaly. Inside the Vatican city we can find 11 Vatican Museums with the restored Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, and Vatican Gardens, an enchanted place, a system of large and small gardens, fountain, fish pool and enclosure for rabbits. They date back to medieval times when vineyards and orchards extended to the north of the Apostolic Palace. The Vatican, in the long form the State of Vatican City (Stato della Città del Vaticano The Vatican consists of two separate legal entities, the Holy See, spiritual entity and the State of the Vatican City, temporal entity. The link between these two entities is the Pope, leader of the spiritual and temporal, with absolute power (executive, legislative and judicial).


The Vatican, an important archaeological site of the Roman world, located on the hill of the same name, is the seat of the papacy and the Catholic world. According to the Catholic tradition, it goes back to St. Peter himself, as the first bishop of Rome and is the official center of all Christianity since the Emperor Constantine in the 4C, but this point of view is not necessarily shared by all historians or by all Christian denominations. The city is situated on what was called in ancient times the Ager Vaticanus which consists of a small plain on the banks of the Tiber river, rising at some distance in a hill of low elevation, the Montes Vaticani (Vatican Hill).


In 1870, after the evacuation of the French troops, Rome was conquered by the Piedmont troops and attached to the Kingdom of ItalyPope Pius IX, who resided at the Palace of Quirinal (first the official residence of the kings of Italy, then the President of the Italian Republic), then fled to the Vatican Palace. Its refusal to annexation entails a political and diplomatic dimension to the conflict caused by the Italian state. This controversy lasts until the Lateran Agreements in 1929, which ensure that the Italian government respects the borders of the State which it then recognizes de facto. The oldest army still in exercise, if you can say, is that of the Vatican. This army is recruited since 1506, exclusively in the Swiss cantons. The pontifical troops have no longer been in the line of fire  since their defeat by the Italian troops, which occurred in 1870.


The architecture and structures of the Vatican City

The Vatican State is enclosed in the walls imposed by article 5 of the Lateran Agreements, which is entirely landlocked in the city of Rome, in the Italian territory. This enclave includes St. Peter’s Square, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Apostolic PalaceVatican museums and gardens.   The Holy See also has full ownership over several buildings located outside the Vatican City, which enjoy a diplomatic status such as  immunity, like an embassy. These include: The entire Lateran: the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Palace and its annexes, as well as the Scala Santa Basilica of Santa Maria MaggioreBasilica of Saint Paul . Outside the walls and its monastery; it has several  palaces containing the services of the Roman Curia: the palaces of the Daterie (date-building) and the chancery (seats of the Roman Rote, the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature and the Apostolic Penitentiary), the Palace of the Propagation of the faith (seat of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples), etc.; and the Castel Gandolfo complex, the pope’s summer residence. In addition, the Gregorian University, the Vatican Radio station located in the suburbs of Rome and various other buildings are tax-free and preserved from any expropriation. These buildings and properties are not part of the state of the Vatican City, but their cumulative area is about double that of the Vatican.



The official languages of the Vatican City are: Italian for the state of Vatican City, Latin, the official language of the Roman Catholic Church and the legal language of the Vatican; French for the diplomacy of the Holy See (the Vatican is registered as a Francophone state with international organisations); German for the Vatican Army, the Swiss Guards; Other languages are also used: Italian, for dialogue with the Diocese of Rome; and French, English and Spanish for dialogue with Catholics around the world.


Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and fully enjoy it are

The Vatican State govt webpage on monuments in Italian:

The Vatican on the Popes in English:

The Vatican museums in English :

And Unesco on the Vatican in English:

And now you are all set to visit this wonderful place, even if not religious the magnitude of the buildings, the history and architecture in them will amaze you. Enjoy the Vatican City State!!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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9 Responses to “Vatican City State!!!”

  1. Ha! I have a post on the Vatican planned for soon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been there several times. I never tire of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good job. Cant wait to see Vatican again.

    Liked by 1 person


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