Vatican City State

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Vatican City State
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Vatican City State - THE  BORGIAS   wiki

Vatican City State - THE  BORGIAS   wikiVatican City (Citta del Vaticano), was built over the tomb of Saint Peter. The Vatican's position as a sovereign state within a state was quarantined by the Lateran Treaty of 1929, marked by the building of a new road, the Via della Conciliazione. This leads from the huge St Peter's Basilica to Castel Sant'Angelo, a monument to a far grimmer past. Vatican is the smallest state in the world, based in Rome in Italy. Inside the Vatican City there are 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. Vatican radio station broadcasts all over the world in 29 languages, it has it's own television station, the daily newspaper, post office with Vatican stamps, shops, offices and publishing house. All signposted, in a highly-sophisticated system of organisation.


The population of Vatican City is about 800 people, of whom over 450 have Vatican citizenship, while the rest have permission to reside there, either temporarily or permanently, without the benefit of citizenship. About half of the Vatican’s citizens do not live inside Vatican City. Because of their occupations (mostly as diplomatic personnel), they live in different countries around the world. The conferral or loss of citizenship, authorization to live inside Vatican City and formalities for entering the territory, are governed by special regulations issued according to the Lateran Treaty.

The residents are responsible for the smooth, day-to-day running of this nerve centre of official Christianity, with of course the Pope at its head, all guarded by the Swiss Guard

Where is the Vatican City situated ?

Vatican City State - THE  BORGIAS   wikiVatican City lies just beyond the right bank of the Tiber River on a slight rise, part of the ancient Montes Vaticani (the Vatican Hill), on which several villas were built in pre-Christian times. Vatican City covers a territory of 0.44 square kilometres, that is 44 hectares (roughly 100 acres). It is partly surrounded by walls and stretches into St Peter's Square as far as a strip of travertine stone that corresponds with the furthest end of the colonnade. This marks the boundary of the State and the edge of the Square which is normally open to everyone. Even though it is part of Vatican City, the Square is usually patrolled by members of the Italian Police Force. There are five entrances to Vatican City, each of them guarded by the Pontifical Swiss Guards (pictured right) and by the Gendarmes Corps of Vatican City State. The entrance to the Vatican Museums is on Viale Vaticano, not far from Piazza del risorgimento. Because Vatican City is so small, several Departments and offices belonging to the Holy See are situated in buildings around Rome (in Piazza Poi XIII, Via della Conciliazione, Piazza San Calisto, Piazza della Cancelleria and in Piazza di Spagna). According to the Lateran Treaty, these buildings enjoy the same status, recognized by international law, as embassies and foreign diplomatic missions abroad. The areas occupied by these buildings are commonly known as “extraterritorial”.

Vatican City State - Present Day

Vatican City State was founded following the signing of the Lateran Pacts between the Holy See and Italy on February 11th 1929. These were ratified on June 7th 1929. Its nature as a sovereign State distinct from the Holy See is universally recognized under international law.

Vatican City State - THE  BORGIAS   wikiThe Catholic Church carries out its mission of announcing the truth of the Gospel for the salvation of all humanity and in the service of peace and justice in favour of all peoples, both through the various specific and local Churches spread throughout the world, as well as through its central government. This is made up of the Pope and the Departments of the Roman Curia that assist him in carrying out his responsibilities towards the universal Church (identified as the Apostolic See or Holy See). The Pope lives in Vatican City (Apostolic Palace pictured left) where several Departments are to be found. Vatican City State has the singular characteristic of being an instrument of the independence of the Holy See, and of the Catholic Church, from any earthly power. In a way, it is a sign of the Church’s supernatural character insofar as the structures of Vatican City are reduced to the minimum necessary to guarantee its functions. The Pontifical Military Corps, except for the Swiss Guard, was disbanded by will of Pope Paul VI, as expressed in a letter of September 14th 1970. The Gendarme Corps of Vatican City State is responsible for all police activities and answers to the State Authority. It is a civil, not a military, organization.

State Departments

Vatican City State is governed as an absolute monarchy. The Head of State is the Pope who holds full legislative, executive and judicial powers.

During a sede vacante (between the death of a Pope and the election of his successor), these powers are exercised by the College of Cardinals.

The Pope is elected by the Cardinals who are under eighty years of age. He becomes Sovereign of Vatican City State the moment he accepts his election as Pope.

International protection of the territory

The whole area of Vatican City is under the protection of the Hague Convention of May 14th 1954 regarding the safeguarding of cultural heritage sites in the case of armed conflicts. In 1984, Vatican City was registered as a world cultural and natural heritage site in terms of the UNESCO Convention of November 16th 1972, which guarantees the protection of such sites. Vatican City State is also internationally recognized as a moral, artistic and cultural heritage site that merits respect and protection as a treasure that belongs to the whole of humanity.

The Vatican Gardens

Vatican City State - THE  BORGIAS   wikiThe Vatican Gardens have been a place of quiet and meditation for the Popes ever since 1279 when Pope Nicholas III (Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, 1277-1280) moved his residence back to the Vatican from the Lateran Palace. Within the new walls, which he had built to protect his residence, he planted an orchard (pomerium), a lawn (pratellum) and a garden (viridarium). The event is recorded among other places on a stone plaque which can be viewed in the “Sala dei Capitani” of the “Palazzo dei Conservatori” on Rome’s Capitoline Hill. Created around the hill of Saint Egidio where today can be found the “Palazzetto dei Belverdere” building and the courtyards of the Vatican Museums, this was to be the first Garden in the Vatican.

Maritime access

Vatican City State - THE  BORGIAS   wikiEven though Vatican City has no direct access to the sea, by virtue of the Barcelona Declaration of 1921, it is allowed to sail its own vessels flying the papal flag (pictured right). However, the Vatican does not avail itself of this right at this time.

Pontifical Anthem

Vatican City State has its own flag and anthem like any other universally recognized, sovereign nation. On 16 October 1949 Pope Pius XII decided that Charles Gonoud's (1818-1893) Pontifical March should become the official hymn. At the time, the French musician and devout Catholic was already a famous composer, especially well known for his lyrical work Faust and his composition of Ave Maria.

Coins and Stamps

Vatican City State - THE  BORGIAS   wikiVatican City mints its own coins and issues its own postage stamps. By reason of a monetary Convention with Italy, which acted on behalf of the European Community on December 29th 2000, Vatican coins (with the exception of gold and silver coins) are legal tender throughout Italy and the rest of the European Union.

This Convention gave Vatican City State the right to use the Euro as its official currency, starting on January 1st 1999. Vatican City State enacted the appropriate legislation (n.CCCLVII) on July 26th 2001

The Vatican has an agreement with the Italian State mint (the Istituto Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato) to mint its coinage up to a maximum of one million Euro per year. From 1996 to the Jubilee Year 2000, the Vatican began minting gold coins again. They had been issued regularly each year from 1929 until 1959. Since the Jubilee Year new gold coins have been issued annually.

Vatican City State - THE  BORGIAS   wikiThe issue of postage stamps is not subject to special limitations, except those established by postage service agreements with Italy and those contained in international conventions, to which Vatican City State adheres.

Car Licence Plates

Vatican City State - THE  BORGIAS   wikiThere are two initials that identify vehicles registered in the Vatican Automobile Register: SCV, for vehicles belonging to the Vatican City State and Departments of the Holy See; CV for vehicles that are the property of Vatican citizens and individuals who, in agreement with Italian authorities, are allowed to register their vehicles in Vatican City. The international abbreviation is V.

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