Vatican City State

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Vatican City, officially the Vatican City State (Italian: Stato della Città del Vaticano), is an independent city state and enclave located within Rome, Italy. The Vatican City State, also known as the Vatican, became independent from Italy with the Lateran Treaty (1929), and it is a distinct territory under "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction" of the Holy See, itself a sovereign entity of international law, which maintains the city state's temporal, diplomatic, and spiritual independence. With an area of 49 hectares and a population of about 825, it is the smallest state in the world by both area and population. As governed by the Holy See, the Vatican City State is an ecclesiastical state ruled by the pope who is the bishop of Rome and head of the Catholic Church. [1] [2]



The name Vatican City was first used in the Lateran Treaty, signed on 11 February 1929, which established the modern city-state named after Vatican Hill, the geographic location of the state. "Vatican" is derived from the name of an Etruscan settlement, Vatica or Vaticum located in the general area the Romans called Ager Vaticanus. The official Italian name of the city is Città del Vaticano or, more formally, Stato della Città del Vaticano. [1]


The territory of Vatican City is part of the Vatican Hill, 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 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 to St. Peter's. [1] [2]


Vatican City has a Temperate, Mediterranean Climate with mild rainy winters from October to mid-May and hot, dry summers from May to September. 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. The clime is very similar to that of Rome. [1] [2]


The politics of Vatican City takes place in an absolute elective monarchy, in which the head of the Catholic Church takes power. The pope exercises principal legislative, executive, and judicial power over the State of Vatican City, which is a rare case of a non-hereditary monarchy. Vatican City is one of the few widely recognized independent states that has not become a member of the United Nations. The Holy See, which is distinct from Vatican City State, has permanent observer status with all the rights of a full member except for a vote in the UN General Assembly. [1] [3]

Defense and Security

As the Vatican City is an enclave within Italy, its military defence is provided by the Italian Armed Forces. However, there is no formal defence treaty with Italy, as the Vatican City is a neutral state. Vatican City has no armed forces of its own, although the Swiss Guard is a military corps of the Holy See responsible for the personal security of the Pope, and residents in the state. The Gendarmerie Corps (Corpo della Gendarmeria) is the gendarmerie, or police and security force, of Vatican City. The corps is responsible for security, public order, border control, traffic control, criminal investigation, and other general police duties in Vatican City including providing security for the Pope outside of Vatican City. [1]


As of 2019, Vatican City had a total population of 825, including:
  • 453 Residents Regardless Of Citizenship
  • 372 Vatican Citizens
The population is composed of clergy, other religious members, and lay people serving the state and their family members. All citizens, residents and places of worship in the city are Catholic. The city also receives thousands of tourists and workers every day. [1]
See Vatican Population.


Vatican City has no formally enacted official language, but, unlike the Holy See which most often uses Latin for the authoritative version of its official documents, Vatican City uses only Italian in its legislation and official communications. Italian is also the everyday language used by most of those who work in the state. [1] [4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Wikipedia Editors. “Vatican City.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, June 26, 2021. ( : 27 June 2021)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Junaid. “Vatican City.” Encyclopedia of the Nations. ( : 27 June 2021)
  3. “Vatican City - Politics, government, and taxation.” SpainExchange Country Guide. ( : 27 June 2021)
  4. “The Languages Spoken in Holy See (Vatican City State).” SpainExchange Country Guide. ( : 27 June 2021)


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