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About Vatican City
News from Vatican City
Climate in Vatican City
History & Politics of Vatican City
Vatican City is a sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a landlocked, almost completely walled, enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. The entire state is about 44 hectares (108.7 acres) and thus is a European microstate. It is the smallest independent nation in the world, created in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty, and a vestige of the much larger former Papal States (A.D. 756 to A.D. 1870). Although it is governed by the Bishop of Rome (the Pope), the Vatican City State is not the Holy See and its government is a monarchy even though it is sometimes described as ecclesiastical and the highest state functionaries are indeed clergymen. It is the sovereign territory of the Holy See (Latin:Sancta Sedes) and the location of the Apostolic Palace ó the Pope's official residence ó and the Roman Curia. Thus, although the principal ecclesiastical seat of the Holy See (Basilica of St. John Lateran, which is the pope's cathedral) is located in Rome itself, the Vatican City can be said to be the governmental capital of the Catholic Church.
For historical reasons, the government of Vatican City has a unique structure. As noted, the principal figures are the Secretary of State, the President of the Pontifical Commission for the Vatican City State, and the Governor of Vatican City. These, like all other officials, are appointed by the Pope and can be dismissed by him at any time.
Historical & Tourist Attractions in Vatican City
The Vatican City is an independent sovereign state, best known for the magnificent St Peterís Basilica. The Basilica is approached through the 17th-century St Peterís Square, a superb creation by Bernini, enclosed by two semi-circular colonnades, with an Egyptian obelisk in the center. To the right of St Peterís stands the Vatican Palace, the Popeís residence. Among the principal features of the Palace are the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum. The Vatican Gardens can be visited only by those on guided tours. For further information, see the separate Vatican City country section.
Miscellaneous Vatican City