Vatican City

Vatican City State

  • Status Civitatis Vaticanae  (Latin)
  • Stato della Città del Vaticano  (Italian)
Anthem: Inno e Marcia Pontificale  (Italian)
"Pontifical Anthem and March"
Location of Vatican City (green) in Europe (dark grey)  –  [Legend]
Location of Vatican City (green)

in Europe (dark grey)  –  [Legend]

and largest city
Vatican City (city-state)
41°54′09″N 12°27′09″E / 41°54′09″N 12°27′09″E / 41.90250; 12.45250
Official languagesItalian[a]
Roman Catholicism
GovernmentUnitary absolute monarchy[2] under an ecclesiastical[3] and elective[4] theocracy[5]
Holy See
• Sovereign
Pietro Parolin

Giuseppe Bertello[6]
LegislaturePontifical Commission
Independence from Italy
11 February 1929; 90 years ago
• Total
0.44 km2 (0.17 sq mi) (196th)
• 2017 estimate
1,000[3] (236th)
• Density
2,272/km2 (5,884.5/sq mi) (6th)
CurrencyEuro (€) (EUR)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
• Summer (DST)
Driving sideright[b]
Calling code+379[c]
ISO 3166 codeVA
Internet TLD
Inscription1984 (8th Session)

Vatican City (ən/ (About this soundlisten)), officially Vatican City State (Italian: Stato della Città del Vaticano;[d] Latin: Status Civitatis Vaticanae),[e][f] is an independent city-state[9] enclaved within Rome, Italy. Established with the Lateran Treaty (1929), it is distinct from, yet under "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction" of the Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes).[g][10] With an area of 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of about 1,000,[3] it is the smallest sovereign state in the world by both area and population.[11]

The Vatican City is an ecclesiastical[3] or sacerdotal-monarchical[12] state (a type of theocracy) ruled by the pope who is the bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergy of various national origins. Since the return of the popes from Avignon in 1377, they have generally resided at the Apostolic Palace within what is now Vatican City, although at times residing instead in the Quirinal Palace in Rome or elsewhere.

The Holy See dates back to early Christianity, and is the primate episcopal see of the Catholic Church, with 1.3 billion Catholic Christians around the world distributed in the Latin Church and 23 Eastern Catholic Churches. The independent Vatican City-state, on the other hand, came into existence on 11 February 1929 by the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy, which spoke of it as a new creation,[13] not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756–1870), which had previously encompassed much of central Italy.

Within the Vatican City are religious and cultural sites such as St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums. They feature some of the world's most famous paintings and sculptures. The unique economy of Vatican City is supported financially by the sale of postage stamps and souvenirs, fees for admission to museums, and sales of publications.


The name Vatican City was first used in the Lateran Treaty, signed on 11 February 1929, which established the modern city-state. The name is taken from 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 Vaticanus ager, "Vatican territory".[14]

The official Italian name of the city is Città del Vaticano or, more formally, Stato della Città del Vaticano, meaning "Vatican City State". Although the Holy See (which is distinct from the Vatican City) and the Catholic Church use Ecclesiastical Latin in official documents, the Vatican City uses Italian. The Latin name is Status Civitatis Vaticanæ;[15][16] this is used in official documents by the Holy See, the Church and the Pope.