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An In-Depth Look at the Smallest Country in the World

Inside Vatican City

Vatican City is a sovereign city-state located within the larger city of Rome, Italy. It is the world’s smallest independent state whether you think of size or population. Vatican City is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and is governed by the Pope, who is also the spiritual leader of the church.

A Bit of Vatican History

The city-state was established in 1929 following the signing of the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See (the governing body of the Catholic Church) and the Italian government. Vatican City covers an area of just 44 hectares (110 acres), making it approximately one-eighth the size of New York’s Central Park. The population of Vatican City is just over 800 people, the majority of whom are members of the clergy.

Vatican Landmarks

The Vatican is surrounded by walls and is home to some of the world’s most important landmarks and artworks, including St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, or the Vatican Museums. These attractions draw millions of visitors each year, making tourism a significant industry for the city-state. The Vatican is also home to the world’s largest church, St. Peter’s Basilica, which can hold up to 60,000 people at once. Click the link to find out more Vatican City Facts.

The Vatican State

In addition to its cultural and religious significance, Vatican City is an elective monarchy, with the Pope serving as both the head of state and the head of the Catholic Church. The city-state has its own flag and national anthem, both of which feature symbols and imagery associated with the Catholic Church. It even has a proper currency, the Vatican lira, although it is only used for symbolic purposes.

Famous Artworks at the Vatican

Apart from being the largest church in the world, St. Peter’s Basilica is also home to many famous artworks, including Michelangelo’s Pieta sculpture. The Sistine Chapel is famous for its ceiling, painted by Michelangelo, and for being the location of the election of new Popes.

The sculpture Pieta by Michelangelo, inside St. Peter's Basilica

Visiting Vatican City

Tourism is a significant industry for Vatican City, with millions of visitors coming to see the city’s landmarks and artworks each year. Visitors can also attend Papal Masses, which are held in St. Peter’s Square on Sundays and on special occasions.

Overall, Vatican City is an important religious and cultural center. Its historical and artistic significance make it one of the must-visit tourist attractions in Rome.

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