The official residence of the Pope and administrative centre of the Roman Catholic Church is also a beautiful architectural masterpiece based in the world’s smallest country – the Vatican City. It is both a unique and fascinating location.
Here are a few more facts about the Vatican you may not have otherwise known. They’ve been put together by the team at Avventure Bellissime – the Anglo Italian tour company who have been conducting Vatican tours for years.
- If you visit the Vatican, you will be setting foot in the Vatican City - the smallest country in the world in terms of land area and population. It measures around 110 acres. And current estimates show the population at around 800 people.
- Yet, of that 800, only 450 people have citizenship of the Vatican.The rest do have permission to stay but without citizenship. And about half of the Vatican’s citizen’s do not live inside the Vatican City because of their occupations – for example their roles as diplomatic personnel takes them abroad. As the world’s smallest country, the Vatican City does not have enough space for all of its embassies. Instead, most of these are based on Italian soil.
- The Vatican City is an UNESCO world heritage site and the only one to cover a whole country.
- The Vatican City is a theocracy and not a democracy, so it is not eligible to join the European Union.
- The Vatican Museums contain one of the largest art collections in the world. They stretch to 9 miles of pieces that could wrap 4.5 times around the Vatican City.
- Visiting the Vatican usually involves seeing St Peter’s Basilica itself – its artwork looks like paintings but are mostly mosaics. It was thought mosaics would last longer than paintings.
- One Euro coins inside the Vatican each have a portrait of the Pope and are in high demand with collectors.
- The Vatican’s bank is also known as ‘The Institute For Works of Religion’. The Vatican itself has an ATM that has instructions in Latin.
- It also runs one of the world’s largest telescopes – in its Vatican Advanced Technology landscape – and this is located in Arizona, USA.