Vatican City is a sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a landlocked, almost completely walled, enclave within the city of Rome, Italy. The entire state is about 108.7 acres and thus is a European micro-state. It is the smallest independent nation in the world, created in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty, and a vestige of the much larger former Papal States. Although it is governed by the Bishop of Rome (the Pope, Benedict XVI), the Vatican City State is not the Holy See and its government is a monarchy even though it is sometimes described as ecclesiastical and the highest state functionaries are indeed clergymen. It is the sovereign territory of the Holy See (Latin:Sancta Sedes) and the location of the Apostolic Palace — the Pope's official residence — and the Roman Curia. Thus, although the principal ecclesiastical seat of the Holy See (Basilica of St. John Lateran, which is the pope's cathedral) is located in Rome itself, the Vatican City can be said to be the governmental capital of the Catholic Church.


Enclave within the city of Rome, Italy.


The Vatican City, one of the European microstates, is situated on the Vatican Hill in the north-western part of Rome, several hundred metres west of the Tiber river, on the latter's right bank. Its borders (3.2 km in total, all within Italy) closely follow the city wall constructed to protect the Pope from outside attack. The situation is more complex at the famous St. Peter's Square in front of the St. Peter's Basilica, where the correct border is just outside the ellipse formed by Bernini's colonnade. The Vatican City is the smallest sovereign state in the world at 0.44 sq km.


Vatican City


Temperate; mild, rainy winters (September to May) with hot, dry summers (May to September.


Italian, Latin, French, various other languages

Monetary Unit

Euro (EUR)

Principal rivers

Song Hong, Syr-Darya

Places to Visit

Hanoi, Hue, Danang, Sapa, Dalat

Air Ports

Rome Intercontinental Airport Leonardo da Vinci, Naples Airport, Bologna Guglielmo Marconi Airport

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