Interesting facts about Vatican City

vatican city flag

Vatican City, a city-state surrounded by Rome, Italy, is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.

The full name of the country is the State of Vatican City.

With an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres) and a 2016 population of around 840 inhabitants, Vatican City is the smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world by both area and population.

It is a landlocked country and does not have a coastline.

It is a common misunderstanding that Latin should be official language of The Vatican City.The Vatican City State does not have an official language, but has used Italian de facto since creation in 1929. Latin, on the other hand, is the official language of The Holy See.

It is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state ruled by the Bishop of Rome – the Pope.


Institutional Portal Vatican City State was founded following the signing of the Lateran Pacts between the Holy See and Italy on February 11th 1929.

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.

vatican city map

Historical documentation reveals that St. Peter was crucified at or near the Neronian Gardens on Vatican hill and buried at the foot of the hill directly under where the main altar of St. Peter’s Basilica now stands.

The Papal Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, or simply St. Peter’s Basilica, is an Italian Renaissance church in Vatican City, the papal enclave within the city of Rome.

st peters basilica

In 320s construction begins on the first St. Peter’s Basilica, by order of Constantine the Great.

Construction of the present basilica, replacing the Old St. Peter’s Basilica of the 4th century AD, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626.

St. Peter’s Square is a large plaza located directly in front of St. Peter’s Basilica.It was designed and built by Bernini between 1656 and 1667, during the pontificate of Alexander VII (1655-1667).At the centre of the square is an Egyptian obelisk, erected at the current site in 1586.

st peters square

The Apostolic Palace is the official residence of the Pope, which is located in Vatican City. It is also known as the Papal Palace, Palace of the Vatican and Vatican Palace.The Vatican itself refers to the building as the Palace of Sixtus V in honor of Pope Sixtus V.

apostolic palace

The Apostolic Palace contains the Papal Apartments, various offices of the Catholic Church and the Holy See, private and public chapels, Vatican Museums and the Vatican library, including the Sistine Chapel, Raphael Rooms and Borgia Apartment.

The Sistine Chapel is a chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, in Vatican City. Originally known as the Cappella Magna, the chapel takes its name from Pope Sixtus IV, who restored it between 1477 and 1480.

sistine chapel exterior

The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, is a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art.

sistine chapel ceiling

The four Raphael Rooms form a suite of reception rooms in the palace, the public part of the papal apartments in the Palace of the Vatican. They are famous for their frescoes, painted by Raphael and his workshop.

raphael rooms

The Vatican Museums contain one of the largest art collections in the world.

vatican museum

The Vatican Library was formally established in 1475, although it is much older, it is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts. It currently has 75,000 codices from throughout history, as well as 1.1 million printed books, which include some 8,500 incunabula.

vatican library

The Gardens of Vatican City also informally known as the Vatican Gardens in Vatican City are private urban gardens and parks which cover more than half of the country, located in the west of the territory and is owned by the Pope.The gardens cover approximately 23 hectares (57 acres).

vatican city gardens

Vatican City has its own telephone system, post office, astronomical observatory, radio station, banking system, and pharmacy.

The Swiss Guard is the official guard of the Vatican and the Pope. This unit was originally established in about 1505 by Pope Julius II. There are 110 soldiers and 6 officers in the unit. They all wear very colorful and unique uniforms that some say were design.

swiss guard vatican

The Vatican Bank is a bank situated in the Vatican that conducts worldwide financial activities. It has an ATM with instructions in Latin, possibly the only such ATM in the world.

Every nation in the world has divorce laws except Philippines (though Muslims have the right to divorce) and the Vatican City, which has no procedure for divorce. In these two countries, laws only allow annulment of marriages.

Vatican City has a national football team.It was founded in 1972.

Instead of paying their taxes to the Italian government, Italians are allowed to donate 8% of their yearly taxed to the Vatican.

The Vatican has a radio station that broadcasts in 20 different languages across the world.

On its official website Vatican City uses Italian, English, French, German, and Spanish, Latin, Portuguese, Chinese, and Arabic, which are found on the official website of the Holy See.

John Paul II, the first non-Italian Pope in 455 years, was elected in 1978.

The Vatican City is recognized as possessing a unique UNESCO World Heritage Site status, as it is the only site to encompass a whole country.