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Vatican City State

  • Status Civitatis Vaticanae  (Latin)
  • Stato della Città del Vaticano  (Italian)
Coat of arms of Vatican City
Coat of arms
Anthem: Inno e Marcia Pontificale  (Italian)
"Pontifical Anthem and March"
Location of  Vatican City  (green)on the European continent  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Vatican City  (green)

on the European continent  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]

and largest city
Vatican City (city-state)
41°54′09″N 12°27′09″E / 41.90250°N 12.45250°E / 41.90250; 12.45250Coordinates: 41°54′09″N 12°27′09″E / 41.90250°N 12.45250°E / 41.90250; 12.45250
Official languages Italian
Christianity (Catholicism)
(official religion)
Government Unitary Christian absolute monarchy (under an ecclesiastical and elective theocracy)
Holy See
• Secretary of State
Pietro Parolin
Legislature Pontifical Commission
Independence from Italy
11 February 1929; 92 years ago
• Total
0.49 km2 (0.19 sq mi) (194th)
• 2019 estimate
453 (240th)
• Density
924/km2 (2,393.1/sq mi) (12th)
Currency Euro () (EUR)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
Driving side right
Calling code +379
ISO 3166 code VA
Internet TLD .va
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Criteria Cultural: i, ii, iv, vi
Reference 286
Inscription 1984 (8th Session)

Vatican City is an independent sovereign state and the smallest country in the world by size, at 0.44 km². Its territory is completely surrounded by Italy and it is only one of three countries in the world that are enclaves of another country (the others being San Marino, also in Italy, and Lesotho in southern Africa). Also, it is the only country in the world that is an enclave of a city, as all of the land around it is part of Rome, the capital of Italy.

The Vatican City is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and its government, the Holy See. Its head of state is the Pope which is, religiously speaking, the Bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church. The current Pope, Pope Francis, former cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, was elected on 13 March 2013.

Established on 11 February 1929 with the Lateran Agreement (Patti Lateranensi) signed by Benito Mussolini and Pope Pius XI, the Vatican City is also important for its culture and art. The Vatican's masterpieces are very well known in the world: St. Peter's Square, St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museums and the Apostolic Palace, where the Pope lives. There are also hundreds of other sculptures and pictures.


The Pope used to rule the Papal States, which included most of Italy. Catholic popes had generally tried to stop Italy from becoming one country because they feared they would lose their control of at least one of the Papal States. In 1861 Italy was unified under the King of Savoy, but Rome and Latium remained unconquered. On September 20, 1870 Italian troops invaded. Rome became capital of the new kingdom.

The Pope claimed he was a prisoner of the Italian state and excommunicated all the people who helped invade the Papal state. This stopped Catholics from taking part in public life under Catholic government.

In 1929 Benito Mussolini, decided to sign an agreement with the Holy See, called the Lateran Treaty, which created the Vatican State. Another treaty gave the Vatican money each year to compensate for the lost territories.

Politics and Government

The government structure is theocracy with the pontifical leader being the highest authority. The pope is elected by the College of Cardinals which can lead the Roman Catholic Church and the city-state itself. The Pope also holds the title of "Bishop of Rome".



Vatican City has a population of 453 people, and 246 of them are citizens. Also, there are 372 Vatican citizens who live in other countries.


The Vatican does not have a law declaring an official language. Italian is the main language used. The Holy See's official language is Latin.


The religion of the city is the Roman Catholic Church.

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