The Vatican City is a world-famous religious site, serves as a seat of power for the Catholic Church, is home to the pope and offers truly breathtaking architecture and art. Here TBO Academy provides interesting insights to agent partners in giving a better understanding of Vatican City:
a. Vatican is uniquely the only sovereign country located within the city of Rome. It is also the smallest state (0.49 square miles) in the world by both area and population (799 citizens as of beginning 2022).
b. Vatican City is a hill surrounded by a wall. The wall makes Vatican City the only country in the world to have a wall around most of its territory.
c. Vatican is the only country to be entirely designated as the only UNESCO World Heritage country.
d. The Vatican was declared an independent state in 1929. The document stating its birth as a city-state is called ‘Patti Lateranensi – the Lateran treaty’ and carries the signatures of Pietro Gasparri – a Roman Catholic cardinal, diplomat and politician and Benito Mussolini – the then Duce of the Italian Socialist Republic.
e. Vatican City is also called the Holy See. Vatican City is the actual nation while the Holy See acts as the legal entity. While the popes come and go, the Holy See as a conceptual entity is eternal. Even in United Nations the Catholic Church is represented not as Vatican City but the Holy See.
f. St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest Catholic Church in the world, took 120 years to complete, is 400 feet tall and 138 feet in diameter. Construction began in 1506 and was completed in 1626. The basilica covers an area of 23000 square meters. Visitors can climb to the top of dome designed by the renowned renaissance architect, sculptor and painter Michelangelo will be rewarded with stunning views of the city and St. Peter’s square.
g. Vatican City has no official language. Italian is used for official communication, Swiss-German is used for commands with Swiss guards while other languages like French, Romansh, Polish and Spanish are also in use.
h. The citizens of Vatican City are called Vaticani.
i. Vatican has an impressive art collection. The Vatican museums covers 42’735 square meters making them the fifth largest museum in the world. The collection contains everything from ancient Egyptian mummies, religious art masterpieces by Van Gogh, Picasso, Michelangelo, Raphael and many more. Visitors can take in the full scope of this magnificent collection.
j. Visitors intending to catch a glimpse of the pope can visit the Vatican City on Wednesday mornings where he passes through St. Peter’s square and blesses the crowd. Alternately on Sundays at 12 noon the pope addresses the audience from the window of his apartments. Visitors intending to hear the pope on Sunday can head to St. Peter’s square half an hour early and line for security.
k. Under the 1929 Lateran treaty, Italy guaranteed to construct a railway station in Vatican which was officially opened in 1934. It is known as ‘Stazione Vaticana’ and is the only station of the Vatican railway and has been primarily used for freight operations and only since 2015 has a regularly scheduled weekly passenger service provided by the Vatican Museums and Italian railway every Saturday (In COVID times visitors intending to take the ride should check its operational status). The Vatican railway has two tracks but only one station and one platform making it the shortest railway service in the world. The Vatican has never employed any railway workers and all train carriages belong to the Italian railways.
l. The population of the Vatican City state is 100% catholic, the only country on earth to have the entire country belong to a single religion.